Potato fields
Are empty;
Haulms turn brown
In the sun.
All along
Country lanes
Sickles cut
Deep into
June grasses.
Red campions
And nettles
Fall with vetch
And yarrow.
The shorn lanes
Are wider
And sadder.
Men with rods
Will pass here
To measure
The clearance,
Fining each
For any



After the warm spells
Come rain and cold winds.
Skies are wet blankets
And March is miserable.
Like a young tortoise,
Without weather lore,
Caught sunning too soon,
I retreat quickly
Into the warm house.
The baby whinges
Wanting to go out,
He is not consoled
By crumpets for tea.
Judy knits quietly
Deep in the green chair.
The ball of wool shrinks
And she grows rounder.
When the second comes
It will be Summer.

March 1971

First winter

The year is still raw
In spite of the shoots
And the thin sunshine.
The cows lie behind
Brown bramble hedges,
Safe from the sharp wind.
On his daily walk
My son turns apple
Red and chubby hands
Turn purple, scorning gloves.
Forefinger and thumb
Point to sky and birds
And dogged walkers.
Everything receives
Mention in his list
Many times over,
In case his mother.
Both ears well muffed,
Should fail to listen.

7th March 1971