Clags of mud clung to the feet

that slipped on the greasy stones

while folds of mist

obscured an expectant sun. 


With all the tolerance of obligation,

a grey-nosed spaniel

shuffled its muddy flanks and allowed

its ears to be pulled.


Four cows, large and black, stood

in the deep mire of an open barn.

answering my comments  

with long, low groans.


As gloom gathered, grey on grey,

in the valley by the silent ford,  

tandem swans on siren wings flew in

from older, colder climes.