Matthew Spittles

Lambing Time in Wales

                                                                They level out up valley,
                                                                As though about to dive and strafe,
                                                                But instead they pass
                                                                And drag
                                                                Exploding sound two hundred feet above.

                                                                Silence comes together, slowly,
                                                                Then disintegrates again -
                                                                Another plane in heron grey
                                                                Slides and tilts,
                                                                And disappears.

                                                                After a week without rain
                                                                The Teifi has shrunk back,
                                                                Shimmering thin in midday sun.
                                                                But I fish on,
                                                                Dredging pools with worms

                                                                Into darkness and beyond,
                                                                Beneath tree roots
                                                                Into the corners of the river's mind
                                                                Where the trout hide,
                                                                Watching.

                                                                Suddenly, I am caught, for a second,
                                                                In the pilot's eye,
                                                                Then gone,
                                                                Behind the scream
                                                                Towards the valley-head upstream.

                                                                A final turn of plane
                                                                Wings against blue sky -
                                                                And across the river,
                                                                Against a tree,
                                                                A sheep contracts, shuddering.

                                                                Pushing out

                                                                A black
                                                                Lifeless heap,
                                                                Like dung.

                                                                A pile of shattered nerves.


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