Autumn begins in August
with signs of separate destinies.
A branch is lopped, a trunk is pleached*
another left to struggle for sunlight.
Giant hay bales are lined up along the hedge
wrapped until rock solid and unable to roll.
Muck is spread in pin-stripe lines
as overhead a hot-air balloon spurts fire.
Yesterday a heavy mist shrouded all. No hill,
only fields as slopes down from the sky.
Today a carnival of clouds, a hippo
following the face of a playing-card king.
Blackberries sparkle behind fretted leaves.
One way I see some, back the other way I see more.
Nearby rowan berries ripen to traffic light orange,
Honeysuckle’s mauve fruit wave about brazenly.
One helicopter inspecting for fallen alders,
another helicopter down low, reverberating,
an SAS practice at being below the radar,
scattering livestock like a pressure hose.
Next a windowless transporter drones on to Anglesey.
Two fighter jets thunder behind.
On Mondays and Thursdays, a weave of war sounds;
SAS the weft up, RAF the warp across.
The hill’s rinds ripen gently,
take on new colours with modesty,
tones that make more tasks for farmers
necessities in their long view, that husbandry of hope.
August ends as more hints,
no firm change, the rinds hold on.