Poetry

SIGN IN THE SPINNEY

The sun has spun its last threads

Among the dark-dappled campion

And dog’s mercury. It is all black

And silver beneath. The moon’s colours.

This is an old badger track, dead

Footprints dissolved, but a route unfolds

Into tangles of hazel and briar.

It leads to the base of a massive ash

Which I, listening, lean against.

The dry and oily muntjac scat

Betrays somehow the death of badgers

At the secret hands of men.

Then bubbling from the twig-green bush

A ripe blackberry of a nightingale song

Glistens like his pitch-slick eye,

Blinding the blue blaze of day

Up there above the unlit leaves.

I brace against the hazel trees

And scrape a hole in the weed to earth:

Unlade my bowels into the damp,

And cover my scat with sycamore leaves

Bruised to dark green pungency.

I leave the nameless spinney

And enter the sun-filled void of a field

Where horses graze and pheasants hide.

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