Click to enlarge

Chain harrowing

The hill comes in through the window
As sun strengthens mist
With haze, the softest clouds.

Dry enough for me to chain harrow,
engine steady, clatter behind,
pulling feg*, moving mole hills
spreading tilth with three passes.

Up on the tractor with a question
my thinking adopts the methods
of fieldwork. A steady speed
for strait ways or bends,
pick a line, look back often,
accept the result, for now.

Midnight’s Midwifery

That solitude as ewes strain,
midwifery at midnight, waited so long
for broken waters before circle dancing
curled lip, bared teeth, heaving push
licking the widow’s caul and yellow blotches.

Click to enlarge

Seeing Again in March

Rutted track, then a first gate.
Beyond, ewe with two lambs
ganging up for gambolling,
bleating for throaty replies.
Back they bounce, head butt her udder.

Looking down on Clungunford,
roofs behind hedges,
shy as raspberries,
young trees on our smallholding
jostling their crowns.

I reach the solitary oak
in Clunbury Hill’s saddle
and look onwards to iron age forts;
Croft Ambrey, Bury Ditches.
Mitchell’s Fold’s stone circle,
castle ruins at Hopton
mottes mounded beside the Clun.
Land of conflict, seizure and our home,

I have seen so little over so long.
These lambs chasing
by budding thorn hedges,
nesting birds tottering with twigs
the omen of swallows,
are my heft* and hiraeth*.

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