Ridge and Furrow Retraced

Afar, a thin lichen blotched steeple
Knapsack brown
And badged with green
Like a lanky Boy Scout.
Ahead, a blackthorn hedge
Cleaved near the root 
By billhook and determination;
Muscled over, sloping branches,
Silhouetted like nature’s tally-marks.
Up close, the ridge and furrow:
Broad ridges, a yard across;
Furrows, a yard wide, and half that deep – 
Fixed in earth, these fossilised waves,
Collecting the winter sun,
Refracting light, vivid outlines.
They do not crash or break 
They billow only over a lifetime’s course 
There is no wash or rip 
Every seventh is the same not higher.
The pull of the moon does not mould
These ripples of turned and re-turned earth.  

The sound of the oxen still echoes here
And the Medieval plough casts ancient shadows.

The Long Man

Long ManBandy-legged he strides
Through wind-weathered pastures
Tousled haired grasses,
The long fringe of Winter
Blow across his gaze
Sweeping, his clod footed feet
Brush them back
With irritated steps.
Boldy, he bog-hops
Over transient streams
Seasonally available
Like plump strawberries
Or barb beset pineapples;
There is a spring in the long man’s steps –
But Spring is not upon us, not yet
Just this low, long sun of Winter behind him
And those shadows – spreading, stretching
Elongating the everyday.