Friday Poem

Clegs at Totleigh Barton

Plenty of gates to lean on around here,
and plenty of time to watch the horse-flies
on the dung, to see if they are really
generated from it. There is more chill
than blessing in this gentle breeze off Dartmoor,
more edge than you’d expect in late September.
So: winter soon, after no summer.

Yes, this is the place: ‘Road liable to flooding’.
This is where Grace Ingoldby did handstands
on the frosty tarmac. Where Mick Imlah stayed,
when we nearly ran over the cliff
at Morwenstow, looking for Hawker’s hut
in which the old man composed, or didn’t.

Before Grace’s son died in the fire, and Grace died too.
Before Mick got ill. Today I am back on my own
to stare at these insects at their dreadful trade.

‘Now try your brakes’, it still says on the sign.

by Bernard O'Donoghue
publisher: PIW, 2011