We drove through the grey mist, wordless and blank-eyed,
The windscreen cracked and split by endless rain,
Our meter the rumble of tyres on tarmac
And an occasional sad sigh of rubber on glass.
Our hours were silent hours, lost in half-memories,
Each of us reflecting on a common private guilt:
Our promises to see more of one another
So casually made and then forgotten.
Once there, in throngs of strangers, we saw at once
We could have known her better than we now pretend,
And offered solemn nods and awkward sympathies
As we sought those few we recognised and loved.
We embraced them and wept, smiling through our sadness,
The warm handshakes of old friendships undiluted
By the years between, though fewer we counted, quietly,
Some borne away on the rivers of our seasons.
Then, after we had gathered and sung our life-filled hymns,
And drank to past times of happier communion,
We renewed our promises with easy earnestness
And, lastly, bid each other fond farewell and left.