Bow wave

First the men came.
Marking out, small stakes, painted tops, nestled in the hedgerows
Barely noticed, walked-past, dogs sniffed and peed-on
Then they posted the signs up
Simple things, black on white, line drawings
Quarrying soon, consultation, hot air

Then the diggers came.
Scraped the grass off, ripped away the top soil
Murdered the fields, raped the trees
Millennia old, gone, in a piping whistle
Trill, unheard, silent screams
Heard by millions, but not us

Then the bulldozers came
Harsh; spewing; yellow; alarming
Their curved shields, pushed by ten thousand horses
A curving arc of land, my land, rising, gone
In a bow wave of sand, and soil, and grit
Dust, fumes, pain, hurt

Deeper they pushed.
At first three feet, then six
The water rose, gritty, dirty, seeping
Then three fathoms, then six
For what?
For gravel, for roads, for the building blocks of progress

But to no avail, we will lose, will man
Soon the ice will come again
Not long now, the glaciers
When the Stream turns, the cold will come again
Ice; harsh, gliding, white, crunching, rock-armed
Its curved shield, pushed by a million years
Will cleanse the land again of us
In a bow wave of sand, and soil, and grit, and man

Which way up?

IMG_3039There’s a fishing pool near us of uncertain origin. It could be a kettle hole, where moons ago a lump of rotting glacial ice rested, covered in a blanket of debris, mulch and leaves, then caved in. It’s pock-marked with them round here. But it’s unlikely: the hand of man seems evident; too round, too shallow, too manicured.

A pleasant spot all the same though; especially when the mercury drops. The ice freezes, edges first, then spreads in arcs, creating fantails, overlapping, like a decorator gone berzerk with Artex, or a child laying out Askey’s ice cream wafers in a pattern on the table.   The Moorhens are more skittish than ever as they bob across the ice, looking at their own reflections, walking like Egyptians.

A tennis ball rests on the ice, counting down to its own oblivion. The sticks may float to safety. And caught in a moment, perfect calm. Trees and houses opposite reflected symmetrically. Which way up?

Red sky

This morning, the warning, from he that tends the sheep
A watery sun, but the flames are not dowsed
It burns and scorches and chars
Yet all around ice, underfoot cracks
And lines the ‘rows with trident barbs, the frost king
Trees stand sentinel, their branches a candlelit silhouette
Root like, upturned against the bands of orange cloud