Testing the Wind

by Val Thompson

A commonplace journey, cross-stitched
like muted silks of a simple sampler,

faded green and saddle brown threads
lining mossy shadows of narrow lanes,

the route widens between yellowing fields
woven to sunset skeins gold and poppy red,

climbs and climbs, zigzags and ascends,
Thorley’s Hill, Dollymaker’s Hill, Windmill Bank,

sharply turning at celebratory Gentleshaw,
a bunting strewn promenade to Redmore Road,

and at Sevens Road an astonishing sight on
a ridge, high above a bank of ragged ferns,

deer, a herd some thirty strong, heads aloft,
nostrils testing the wind, motionless, lost.


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