I talked of previous lives
when you were born Chinese,
in Manchuria perhaps,
and I in rural England where
I looked east and savoured
cold winds seasoned with salt.
You smiled indulgently at me
and my invented symmetry.
And then you returned to the southwest
to walk again under dreaming spires,
roam the shires and queue for local bitter--
all that you missed in your vagrant years are
yours once more. Yet the hot bright sun
beating down on the idling egrets and me
on a far shore now holds your memory.