Skylark

Head down, dog padding
Through scruffy undergrowth;
Soft soundings, nose alert,
Attentive to the inattentive,
Smooth yet probing darts
Weaving around and between:
Stumble hazard, on leads
Or upended turfs;
Thistle humps,
Or last year’s potato-crater.

The field is fallow now,
Tides of weeds have washed it,
Swashed with dandelions and bugloss
Chickweed and willowherb
The florally malignant
Scent of Roundup absent here
The only metastasis
Is wildness… and how…
How it has returned.

Blown from the high fells,
In a few short months
The skylark has made his commute
Dancing on the vortices
Plummeting and soaring
Grabbing the air with fanatical flapping
Twittering and chittering
Warning me, warding me
Away from unseen homes.

In this scruffy sward,
Abutting the gravel mine,
Scarred by habitation,
Criss-crossed by heedless joggers,
The dock and the skylarks,
Horsetail and lapwings
Signal a retreat of sorts,
And the return
Of an ancient civilisation.