Three Poems

Vermin Hunt

Take a piece of metal, say
The top of a bootpolish tin;
Pierce it the right way,
Bend it double in
Your mouth, and you can fake
The scream of agony trapped rabbits make.

One night I took this hunting sound
To the open plain where the land is dry,
And sat in sheepskins, flat down to the ground,
And shot the foxes as they stalked the cry.

Midnight was still, the Cross an icy light,
The sky black and dead in its slow parade,
And as I whistled, shrieked, a shade of night
Swooped on me, soundless, saw me, swayed
And banked, wide and dark on the wing—

An instant—but how my heart had prayed,
Fluttered, knowing itself a naked thing
Hunted by the horned owl, and afraid.

And the Dark Falling

IN the shade of a tree like a hand in the wind
Your pale straw hat the echo of the hay
Eyes grey to green, arms brown as the land,
Setting out scones, white mugs of tea—

Midsummer weather for the new hay baler
Light like malice grinning on fresh paint
And through the voice of the chanting tractor
A new-mown pasture’s sweet food scent—

Tied with twine of an undergrowth green
The future itself, the bales on the stubble,
And over the fence the pointed horns
And deep red flanks of Hereford cattle—

We seemed immortal side by side, riding
Home on the trailer, singing, calling,
Our backs turned to the horned moon sliding
Steadily to Autumn, and the dark falling.



The voice said. Jeez I love to punch a Pom!

I looked, he was Australian, young and brown.
A cyclist with a fighting face, and from
His story, he had knocked the bastards down
On street and stairway when he had excuse
More for their fat, their whining city days
Their little views for which he had no use
Than for a fault. Nature adores the ways
Of war, and though I looked at him in hate
I felt the furnace where his blood was fired.
Conscious my wit could never compensate
For the iron muscles, and my heart admired
The hoplite, the phalanx that never tires,
The cruel eye for loot, the cropped crown,
The beautiful body that props up the Empires
And brings them crashing down.

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