Two walkers, map bibs jiggling, stop at every turn,
puzzled by the quarry with its bramble lake.
A loner comes the other way, older, leaner,
legs like flagpoles with shorts fluttering above.
His memory melts into another time.
above a July sky, a grey haze resting beneath
ivory, coral and gold. Now startled by a blur beneath
as a field mouse with polished eyes runs by his boot.
Off School, on the Hill, By the River
“There’s more raspberries, here!”
She called above the blackbird’s clacking.
The canes thrive in New House’s abandoned garden
attended by apple mint, decorated with feverfew,
protected by a damson’s fallen bough,
approached through a crackle of twigs.
Higgledy walls, remains of barns
cowshed, pigsty and home farm
garden and gateway pillars.
Walls for scrambling, for warming a grass snake.
Ton upon ton of Coston* stone
pockmarked with beads of granite
sits unaffected by storms and sun.
Against fallen stones a ewe, head on one side,
stretches out like a lunch time drinker snoozing.
The family spreads a picnic by the river.
Village children pass, chattering
about their swimming pool
in the gravel bend
where dragonflies patrol, seeing
bullnose fish nudge the pebbles.