Frost, Nov 5

The sheet of pasture felted with frost is rumpled
from the business of men and cows. Disfigured by a drain,
now barred, the Toot is the ghost of a 13th-century
motte and bailey castle. The past chews somebody’s history.

It’s so cold the air grips me, the ditch runs dry.
I wonder how they survive this bitter bite, the rats,
rabbits, shrews and mice, and a Robin tutting sharply
in the hawthorn, pale, butterscotch leaves hanging on.

I am walking to the supermarket, white wine on the list
for my mother, failing after 95 years of hard yakka,
adventurous woman to bored housewife to traveller,
from ruins or a strand of hair, so much can be salvaged.

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