I’m by the bridge at Sells Green, to see the swallows come.
A boat called Foxhunter chugs past. It’s an hour after dawn.
Score so far: boats one, swallows none.
A cow clears its throat. The alpacas on the hill
graze in the lee of the hedge to ward off the chill.
The cockerel’s crowing from the farm, as cockerels will.
Alpacas: seven. Swallows: nil.
The chiffchaff in the hedge behind me packs it in.
Oh, then it starts again. The woodpecker begins
to drum, then laughs. It’s cold in this wind.
Bloody canada geese. Swallows? Not a thing.
A rush of song from an unseen wren.
The woodpecker does its impression of Sid James,
somewhere over there towards Rusty Lane.
Oh! The first blackcap! In the hedge there, then
answered from the llama field.Ten out of ten
For the blackcaps! Swallows? Nowt again.
Stiff fingers. Going in. It’s too bloody cold.
The sun looks like a dissolving aspirin. Two gold
-finches bob high over. Vapour trails have ruled
thin lines of shadow on the sheet of stratus cloud.
Blooming swallows. Shouldn’t be allowed.