Down Mucky Lane
Same as yesterday, a drizzle or a downpour expected,
for the moment, clouds smudge around the hilltop.
Robin, blackbird, thrush, dunnock and swallow
have returned to their singing perches, all pitch perfect.
Pigeons lullaby, magpies scorn, sparrows fuss about.
In weeded meadows, leverets dashing then stock-still.
Brushing against elderflower bouquets,
the tractor driver thinks of jobs at home:
‘Foxglove spires taking the garden over,
I have to earth up spuds,
cut spinach before it flowers,
pull out those healthy weeds, roots and all.
How could it be so wet, so cold, so often?’
His boots ease the pedals in the house-high cab,
through the double gate, wheels spinning to get a bite
chucking clods in arcs, stripping back to stones.
The task is to cut thistles before the rain returns.
June is away somewhere else, on another hill.
Here, he drives on, eyes westward.
Eyes to the Skies
Month of fledglings when hungry buzzards,
hawks, crows and magpies skim the sky.
Still a young thrush lifts his elegant throat,
a swallow gives a speech to neighbours.
Tractors pound every fine day,
tedding*, bruising stalks, releasing sweetness.
Green smells are rising within the morning mist,
It’s time to row, to bale, to harvest home.
Voles break for cover at the last moment
grass stalks are left torn and mottled.
Headland* beside hedgerows is tunnelled
by bobbiting rabbits, one white flash and gone.
On the slopes, ewes are gaining weight,
their shearing has grown into down.
Weaned lambs are put far away
forlorn for days on into the twilight.
Scotch thistles arm themselves with spears
dock leaves close into rusted sculptures,
bronze towers, seeds from top to bottom.
Every tree leaf is darker, more individual.