Jerseys

At the end of their long chains
The cows lie chewing.
Surrounded by pale circles
Of closely cropped grass,
They slowly regurgitate
The morning’s grazing.
Soft eyelids blink drowsily
Over wet round eyes,
Gazing into grassy voids
Or calling up warm
Visions of stone milking sheds
Bedded with clean straw.

Branchage

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.
Tomorrow
Men with rods
Will pass here
To measure
The clearance,
Fining each
Landowner
For any
Obstruction.

1971

Fields I know

I come again to fields I know
And laugh and cry that every tree
And gate seems so familiar.
The turnings in the country lanes
Hold no surprise, no hidden threat,
And tides, twice daily, flow and ebb,
And sunshine follows after rain
With rhythms, smells and sequences
From ages set. All this I love!

Started on the boat to Jersey,
finished in hospital in Brussels.