Monday, 21 December 2015

When Joe went out late

to shut away the poultry
after weeks of rain
he knew where the pony was
by the sound of its hooves
sucking in the mud.

Foxes still kill in downpours.
Maybe they keep closer
to the bones of the hedge
or loiter below hollies,
but they're always watching.
Hungry as December dark.

The hens were in and roosting,
dry enough in their houses.
He let the hatches drop
and turned towards the paddock.

Four days before Christmas
and he'd have preferred ice
to this unceasing rain.
The track would be flooded
down by the bridge,
the damp wall in the hall
coughing salt from flaking plaster.

He found the pony and together
the two squelched back to the stable.

If there were still stars
he hadn't seen them for many nights.
He'd laid off his shepherd
and couldn't think of
a wise man in those parts.

Should the Angel of the Lord come down
Glad tidings! Glad tidings!
he'd tell the twinkle to fuck right off.
And take the bloody weather with it.

First published at Your One Phone Call 6/6/2016

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