Dimpled by invisible ties,

The quilted duvet recites

the narrative of the night;

the hop and step of a tentative rabbit,

the curved cloves of the dancing deer   

the direct purpose of the dangerous fox

the fork of a foraging pheasant.


Stippled by the sudden breeze that  

shook the midnight tree.

Iced on a wedding cake of gable, arch and turret

in the huddled village under the wood.

Converted skeletal oaks into blooms of frost,

Curdled on pines hard against the gritstone cline.  .  


Ploughed up by the flock behind the copse,

the sheep-shaped patches of grass

anointed by their dung

as they rose to the frozen dawn

and trod their criss cross confusion of cold-drunk tracks,  

down the slope towards the black river.


The next day it froze,  a thousand points of light,

resounding to the crunch of meringue, the crack of a puddle.

It stuck to twigs, turning trees to wedding gowns,

grass to prayer flags,

echoing to the laughter of jackdaws,

the wounded refrain of the robin.