Monday, December 19, 2011

461. Wessex

A parliament of rooks complain
vociferously, tut-tutting like indignant counsellors
while their carrion cousins, irrepressible crows
swoop and dive like Spitfires: an unpopular
breed of bird, I know, but dashing fliers
with a delinquent sense of fun.
Stand and watch them on a winter’s day.

I love the way, when grounded, they hop,
hoppity-hop, exactly like crotchety pensioners,
and then take off soaring into the sky,
with a kyaa –kyaa, such a contemptuous cry,
and then they drop a little poop on your windscreen.
Bastards! You can’t help but swear and admire
these rock’n’rollers of the avian world.

The broads are soggy
under grey December skies.
The grass rises in tufts and clumps
making for hard walking, making you
glad to be wearing your Wellies again,
with your old Army jacket, your corduroys,
that sense of being safe from the cold.

Tottle! (Aristotle), the setter comes to heel
with his sad, injurious, accusing eyes:
silly boy, that was never any bloody rabbit!
(And just how the hell would you know, sir?)
he says, clear as a bell, in doggy language,
and you give him a rough pat, but he shakes you off,
and lopes loosely, wonderfully across the field.

Dear old boy! Ten years since he was a tiny pup
out of Mirabelle, and she was one of those seven
tiny little things my sister and I … my sister!
Well, those were those days with the Commander
and my Mum, and holidays from that wretched school,
and as I trudge towards the sturdy old familiar house
I think of the warming dram, of the cold welcome.