His Days appeared in the July 16, 1997 issue of the New Yorker.
|When one of his black moods bedevilled him,
When the wince of some remembered pain—
Some wrong done to him, some cruelty of his own—
Hurt him like a surge melting down
Bad wiring, what choice was left to him
But to flinch and swallow and bear it like a man?
The cottage's slates and silences became
His kingdom, its weathers his own. He would coax
To a blaze coal and turfs each morning, and chunks
Of beech he split with his own axe.
The farmer's son or Sunday hikers would see him
Hunched at his kitchen table, away in his books.
Then obscurely one morning he'd lock his cottage door.
To look at an old church somewhere, or the ruin
But when on some grimy market town's main street