The Last of Summer

Their branches scoring space like Shiva, wind
Takes the oak and the wych-elm dancing.
Out in mid-field grass and sunlight mingle
To project a viridescent sheen
Against else-clear sky: A mellow flash,
Some Martian’s April Fool perhaps
Though it’s now October and already
Swallows are in training for Gibraltar
And beyond; our cabbages’ve sprouted
Into king-sized turbans, behind the poplars
A harvester spouts stubble with a rrrrrr

Then sudden whoosh: Signs all meaning Summer’s
Gone again. Over barns, paddocks, meadows
Thistles propel tiny parachutists
Toward next spring, kamikazeish rendezvous
With some distant clod. A partridge scuttles past
As though on rails. Another snapshot for
Memory’s almanac, dapper crests of moor-
hens constellate the millpond, its surface
Turned pewtery with deep-stewed sedge.

Scattering perennial chromes and rust
The world’s a wheel that’s got us in its spin:
From thinning treetop to thinning treetop
Rooks unfurl furlongs of din –
Wintry echoes infiltrating southwards
Despite pylons’ titanic tuning-forks
Patrolling along the landscape edge.
A guesstimated twenty times shorter,
I dawdle here below the hawthorn hedge –
Footsteps going anapest, spondee, iamb –
Thoughts pausing between sight and rhyme...

Martin Bennett | Mudlark No. 12
Contents | In Victoria Coach Station