September

These turning times,
hinges, gathering in,
as swallows gyrate southwards,
spelling out goodbye.

The river bursts over meadows.
with the movements of mercury,
ploughed fields are water-logged,
paths rutted into puddles.

Torrents form at the bridge,
mother and child watch the buffeting,
charmed by the anger, an awful power
swirls on to flood fields downstream.

Sheep are nervous, been handled too often,
charging field edges like wild ponies
leaning into corners with summer strength,
some sprayed pink on flanks and shoulders.

Pink for store lambs, next year’s ewes,
otherwise to be ‘in the fat’ and for slaughter.
Ewes are being 'steamed up' ready for the ram,
to stand for him, then to wear his raddle’s* colour.

The lorry driver says “Where do they load the wheat?”
follows the green trailer with two humps of seeds,
looks for the combine, hears the chomping of stalks,
backs in, putting the entire yard in shadow.

A Samuel Palmer sky and the spreading of chicken shit,
has villagers gasping, then holding their breath.
Wheat fields are turning a dust-bowl brown.
Pine trees spike upwards like a fallen yard-brush.

Bramble trails torn by the flail,
holly berries turning to fresh-wound red,
cascading purple elderberries,
hanging like sequinned umbrellas.

Today it’s warm enough to make love outside.
dragonflies zip sideways in this afternoon’s balm.
But the night’s cold barricades the door,
blights potatoes, wrinkles barley, starts rot.

Cobwebs joining up, with a glitter of dew drops.
Crazy webs, do these spiders have wobbly legs?
Do the radial makers ever see their symmetries?
Works of genius, I climb the gate to leave them be.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge


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