Birthdays


  Milestones on an open road,
  the sun a brilliant discus
  in hills above the highway.

  Sensations of travel
  aren't etched upon the psyche:
  they figure as refractions

  of time, as random frames
  that the snapshooters snatch.
  Their albums aren't in order;

  nor are the markers. You could be
  forever collecting images
  and never recognise the route.

  Which is why the white sky
  never shifts. Departures
  are figments of distance,

  and birthdays merely measures
  of who, not when we are:
  standstills, moving backwards.

From the book Looks Familiar

  for Marjorie Furness Fryars Pottinger's 80th birthday