Night burst like a dam or a flower —
whatever. The rigged tents
taut and creaking as the breeze

felt its way quietly along the valley.
The sun burst like a dam.
A clangor of tin, and short fires
sinking grey roots into the air —

heat flowers; torn rags of birdsong, but otherwise
a near silence the river embalmed
with stinking muds.
‘Elsewhere, beyond the lines,
a force of near indifference, like a desert, closes in,
and overlooked by heavy, drifting eyes,
like a soft, continuous rain, falling by any wayside,
the herded innocents die.’

And the long day.
Flutter of grasses, gradual cloud shadows
and light again;
the wet chamois of the horse’s head,
the breathing cave of the nostril;
yellow cowslip, and a deep

quiet, hanging above; hanging.
Ripple and chitchat; crumple
of scintillant water over a clutter of stones,
remains of a wall, weed-lanked,
bream and travelling ochre.

Flit of a small and shy bird,
only bob, slip, wingflick;
and the slow, slow work
of leaf chafing leaf, new leaf on new leaf
kindling the soft green fire

which in August, under pulled-back blue sky,
would burn, and would keep burning.