Night time running stream outside below my Hassocks window heavy rushing bubbling pouring stream very full of water tumbling off the South down hills, outside at end of garden, in this Sussex English countryside darkness.
Some trees then night time fields stretching away to the gently sloping hills: the South Downs: a dark wave of chalk, earth and flint from horizon to horizon, under a clear bright star and moonlight lit sky.
And on the other side of these dark hills, straight ahead, as the crow flies, from my bedroom’s white plastic double-glazed window, right now, in their bedrooms, sleeping, in their warm beds, breathing gently, like these softly curved hills, lie:
Julie Alce, (whose body and laughter and Cockney passion, and Aquarius, like me, need for Irish adventure, and need for freedom, all those years ago, l knew so well), in Brighton, then the English Channel, then France.
And to the left of her, on the other side of these dark hills, right now, lies, sleeping in her warm bed, breathing gently like these hills, Lillian Leck, (who took me unknowingly, heated me in her fire and reformed me on the anvil of her art, her view of the World, her magic moment, transforming the mundane into the sublime), in Eastbourne, then the English Channel, then France.
And to the left of her, further still, on the other side of these dark hills, right now, lies sleeping in her warm bed, breathing gently like these hills, Elaine Clarke, (who l loved, with all the pain and longing of the teenager l was,) in Bexhill on Sea, then the English Channel, then France.
All of them, l last saw, so many decades ago – now we are all older.
All of them changed me and my life. Right now they are all so close to me – on the other side of these, whale backed, moonlight lit, aeons old hills – so close – yet so, so far.
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