Once it was crossing the unmade road to sing
to wet mouths that chewed, stare at the sway
of udders soft as babies’ heads, sniff milkiness,
glimpse emerald wings on cracked dung;

was nibbling grain from ripe heads of rye,
picking clovers, the pink and mealy white;
was thistles prickling legs, lying among feather-
head grasses that tickled as they brushed the sky;

was the night the carthorses raced round
driven by an electric storm’s purple slashes,
their madness spilling into my excitement,
drops of light next morning glistening the ground;

was climbing the Downs and letting out the fears
penned in my head; was walking a stubble field
to a blackened mill that stood defiant as it whirled
cloud and sun, roared its energy into my ears.

Now, field is the sweep below the spinney
in the park. Its glorious grasses stand unpawed
by city, smell of hay and are rarely mowed.
Here, carwhirr is muffled, collies plunge

into jungles of pungent stalks, tortoiseshells
flitter over ragwort. Ragged lines of geese
flap darkly across the setting sun’s fleece
and utter warnings that day is paling out.

Here is fade, fall and rot till willows begin
to green and signal the white surprise of spring:
blossom on blackthorn knobbles, scatters on long-
winged anemones. And where dandelions hold up

their gorgeous yellow crowns, stinging nettles
herd and cunning spiders hang their threads,
where beetles scarper, slithery worms bed,
who knows what could sprout, run wild?

© Myra Schneider

View an Interview with Myra Schneider HERE.

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