The girl in the blue costume
Blue. So many blues.
That’s what he remembered.
Not the pale, washed watercolour blue of the evening sky
that quickly deepened into ultramarine
as dusk fell across the woodland valley between the moorland hills,
nor the cold chilled blue of their breath in the April air
as they bathed in the valley stream,
washing the mud and sweat off, scrubbing the rich perfume of horse from their bodies.
No, it was the deep azure of her costume and the silvery cobalt shadow of her hair.
It was the dark cherry blue of the bruise on her thigh
where she had cantered under an unseen bough.
And the cornflower blue of her irises,
with their little flecks of steely blue determination -
these prizes he held fast in his memory.
These, and his recollection of the kingfishers they had seen,
flashing and flaunting their blues and purples as they swooped and dipped over the water.
Now, so many years later, the viridian and emerald greens,
the burnt umbers and siennas have all faded into distant greys -
but still the blue remains.
OUP 204, Winchester Poetry Festiva l 2022, Carcanet