Tuesday, 23 October 2012


This morning after last night’s rain,
The purple-brown and fertile plain,
(Whose hue is that of the interior lid
Of an old tea caddy, late George the third,
Which from the light, two centuries has hid
Its dark yew beauty,
So much more lovely for being dappled, burred)
Has grown a thin, green, soft and punky down.

The seeds have answered their call of duty,
The scantiest negligee or night gown,
The merest hint or promise of a crop,
A hope too small to name as wheat or peas,
Among a patterned tread which seems too fine,
A print that looks like that of dainty birds,
Cross hatched and tooth-combed in their straight lines,
tilth that guarantees as each seed drops,
A  germination as sure as the sea's
Response to the pull of the moon. The tines,
By a huge new tractor pulled, have done their work,
Now all that we can do is quietly wait.

And the river, like hand-blown cylinder glass,
After the flood water and high spring tide,
Smooth, just lightly rippled, in a calm blue-green state,
Is speckled with the seagulls going berserk,
Sitting, then rising and circling en masse.

The wind turbines at the other side,
Matching the gulls in their brilliant white,
And their endless revolutions, enhance
The looks of this morning’s exhibition,
‘The Labours of Man and Nature.’ This sight
Which reassures one by the permanence
Of its theme; the great juxtaposition
Of the practical and the romantic.

Then best of all, so unexpected,
A buzzard, so rare in the wide flat space,
In contrast with the seagulls, gigantic,
As if nature had suddenly elected
To play the trump card, show she won the race
Long ago, and that all man’s work on earth,
Is as transient as the crops we grow.

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