Outside under this field of stars in a frost that slows the blood we are the dark. We hold in a creel of air what's human and stretch out our fingertips to the whorl of galaxies to feel for what's not there.
Bugles sang, saddening the evening air,
And bugles answered, sorrowful to hear.
Voices of boys were by the river-side.
Sleep mothered them; and left the twilight sad.
The shadow of the morrow weighed on men.
Voices of old despondency resigned,
Bowed by the shadow of the morrow, slept.
( ) dying tone
Of receding voices that will not return.
The wailing of the high far-travelling shells
And the deep cursing of the provoking ( )
The monstrous anger of our taciturn guns.
The majesty of the insults of their mouths.
Yonder she sits beside the tranquil Dee, Kindly yet cold, respectable and wise, Sharp-tongued though civil, with wide-open eyes, Dreaming of hills, yet urgent for the sea; And still and on, she has her vanity, Wears her grey mantle with a certain grace, While sometimes there are roses on her face To sweeten too austere simplicity. She never taught her children fairy-lore, Yet they must go a-seeking crocks of gold Afar throughout the earth; And when their treasure in her lap they pour, Her hands upon her knee do primly fold; She smiles complacent that she gave them birth.
For weeks we watched a spotted flycatcher tenant the garden like a summer guest. We didn't see the other birdwatcher – grey squirrel, magpie, cat? – plunder the nest. * We feed the cattle pelleted necrotics (dead animals' dried tissue, flesh and bone), inject them with steroids and antibiotics to keep the creatures alive till they're full-grown. * 'Coursing's fairer than gunshot, gas or snare.' When a greyhound grows too old, it's killed. But just before a pair of greyhounds tear a hare apart, the hare cries like a child. * Panda, orang utan, and polar bear – species can be at risk for a hundred years or more before we make them disappear. Pine marten, red squirrel, mountain hare…
* Wild animals lead strictly ordered lives; their freedom is a wild necessity. House animals are like children, husbands, wives, the kind of mindless beasts we used to be.
A man on the bus smiles at me and I stumble because for a millisecond he's Tom Potter, a man who held dice in the bowl of his hand and never revealed when he'd use them. Tom Potter was enormous as the Bank of England. I'd phone Tom Potter and he'd say Sorry but do nothing. I'd visit Tom Potter, he'd sparkle and call me Darling, do nothing. The man on the bus looks down, embarrassed. I too look down, embarrassed. I will always be the woman who once knew Tom Potter.