Edric’s* Winter

Snowing at last.
Relief for overloaded clouds,
for sheep with crusted coats,
fleeces tightened against freezing fog.
Stubborn ice that stings novice noses.
Ice in the wind pecks cheek bones
tingling fingers until they cry.

Frosted pathways to rabbit holes
lead the fox in the haunting light,
but at the copse edge he is distracted
by a hoodie who stops, stiffens and shiggles
relieving himself on an elder tree.

The Clun is swelling up its bank,
lifted by the wind that opens doors,
scatters branches beneath the solitary oak.
Trees have withdrawn to calligraphy.

Sounds rush into morning’s mist
double barrel gun-shots, church clock’s bell
Heart of Wales train whistling at level crossings
Old ewes gather at the gate, calling,
shoulders set to fight for hay.

Sun struggles into light,
creamy yellow, rimmed with jasmine
smooth as a flexed muscle
the wounded pheasant blinks with shock.

A swan heaves past, wings creaking,
alone, at full thrust.
Birds have their safety in numbers,
a murder of crows, a charm of goldfinches.
I see an uncertainty of blackbirds,
a debate of sparrows, a swirling of starlings.

These are hard times
when hay is brought back to fields where it grew
and the moon rises higher than the sun.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Copyright © Colin Fletcher (words) and Jay Mitchell (pictures). The Clunbury Hill Cycle
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