Again – Another Fall

Again
it is that time of year
of carcasses picked apart
by visits of daggered beaks

of leavings
of black stains
of crushed-to berry juice
of later felt stomach aches
spread like buckshot pellets

A stag is stretched –
set upturned –
laid out of the way –
dead parallel to passing traffic
with its legs rigid
in its last-struck gallop

Road kill –
it is that time of year
of car strikes
between Uckfield
and Halland
in Sussex
Again – another Fall

Fraxinus Excelsior

Here – I have been orange-dotted
as if another fungal-blighted tree
Spotted on for obvious lesions

My fate sprayed – eyed – to-be-cut
and then left to rot – an alienation
for the good of these woods

My body bears an odd contagion
as does our less common ash –
as does our elm – both under threat

as am I – stuck – until my balding crown
is tipped to unstable and then falls
to leave me without my honest Cordelia

Below Snatts Lane

Our spun dogs leapt
into a hidden swank*
only reappearing – only –
when cooled
by that glum – that cold –
woodland pond

Their wet coats stunk
Quick on spindle legs
they fast-darted in
and faster beneath
another clump of
undergrowth

Not late enough – not then –
for mist-above-dusk
over heat-sucked ditches
and almost rivers
Not late enough to rise
from dew weighted grass

We followed those routes –
those laid before
by others and left those
laid behind by us
We were those last two
travellers on earth

*swank – Sussex term for wetlands

Driving Lessons

A car ahead of me
clipped a pigeon
which spun upwards
in recoiled flight –
it exploded
showing pink flesh
where belly feathers
were plucked
and then blown by
confetti’s law of dispersion

My father instructed me
in his squeezed art
of sporting kindness
after his blasting –
often winging –
grain-gorged vermin
My air rifle’s muzzle
there – softly planted –
then – a lead pellet
for a quick death

There was time to turn
my steering wheel
and put my nearside tyres
correctly in line
with what remained –
what moved –
what was once a bird –
off my racing line
to feel a hard – then a soft
hump of tyres and death

A Common Spotted Orchid

For JC

It is a highly successful
coloniser of wasteland
and not at all in danger

Both my Google Lens
and a quickie Wikipedia
yielded to your knowledge

Just an assurance of such –
there was no doubt in my mind
that you were right – none at all!

Seeing such beauty has an effect –
How can a thing so vivacious
be left – without being taken?

An uncommon allure
among easy rough grass –
there is more to this orchid

Such observations ran quick
as my eyes and mind
took you – assiduously –
from behind

Furze

They grew low gorse
alongside their homes to
thorn-tie bright laundry
under drying high winds

Clym cut back high furze
and disappointed his wife

It is a rough plant for sure
but promises – or removes –
depending on your view –
kisses by force of fashion

It was an uncrossable border
in my common land youth

There was a story of a man
recovered from a thorny whin
by a coastguard helicopter –
help waved down by his hand

Furze flowers were yellow pebbles
for insects to skip between

It was my first time on Ashdown
in a too long time – and bared
gorse was my quiet surprise –
We have lost natural assurances

We once knew a season’s place
by month-ends and blossoming

 

Also here: Places of Poetry

 

Breakages Will Be Paid For

If we retune our focal point
to close-up local degrees –

before losses mount and tip –
we will shore our existence

Beauty is frail underfoot and
to be stepped lightly upon –

not a fixed distance of
uncrushable listed hillsides

Those huge labelled targets
are easily miss-able

Our urgent responsibility
is in within our short reach

of to-touch and other such
breakable display items


Measured Life

Under a stiff corrugated sheet
was a lizard king – an envy green –
coloured in by me of your wild place

hidden by your bungalow frontage –
Bungalow is a foreign word
replanted a century ago in this country

Your garden is an eyed up tunnel –
what the Scottish call a howk
dug out by regard to your gate to Sussex

Your offered photography competition
places me in my last century Surrey
of huge distances lain in eyed safaris

when we met insects in squared up inches –
propped on our grass-moulded forearms
Such measurements were lost – until now

And then a sumptuous dragonfly stages
her circumnavigation of your soupy pond
to bring me back from my I-Spy enquiries