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Christopher James, from Farewell to the Earth

King Midas in the Golden Valley

Tired of his trinkets, his conjurer's tricks,
he flips a bottle top into the air
and lets a sovereign fall across a map.

He travels second class in a flat cap
and sips through a straw, checking the fall
of bullion in the pink papers.

So then: Herefordshire, a crazy-paving
of fields, Welsh flags and English names, where
sheep are fleas on the hill's backs.

A deserted station, he throws out his case
and follows sparrows of sunlight along
a lane, touching what is already golden.

Dorstone Hill. The path winds upwards, past
a huddle of cows, a blue door and a flush
of daffodils in the bedroom window.

His visit quickens the alchemy of spring.
In the valley a bridge becomes a wedding
ring along a finger of river.

He pats a bridled horse, watching flakes
of gold spread across its coat; he makes
Oscars of children playing in the road.

This is where the dust settles, where his only
trappings are a packet of tea, a spoon of honey
and the peacock eye of a silver moon.