A TREE HALF IN FLAMES
Mayflies swarm in the morning, sawing the air. The earth is starved, minerals drained, salt flats burnt dry by the waxing sun and this one tree, displaced from a medieval manuscript bound in red and white leather to the margins of the slow-washing river Loddon. So near and still so near; otter scat by the bridge. A brace of barbel sway nose-to-current among the ribbons of green. In bunkers underground pale preppers play a game of battleships. A mother cuckoo feeds her nest of molelets. A drone's eye takes it all in, opens the gate to a field where grass snakes writhe against the charred stubble to slough their radio static. No one can read the clouds' alphabet. On one side you breathe out a lungful of hope, a hot glass bubble and it singes your fingers. Brambles melt, fire lines the air. It has burnt all night. On the other a wren chak-chaks and long white willow leaves still trail fingers in the cool bubbling water. Respected Sir, please forgive that I do not know how to correctly address you. This is my first midday report.
Geoff Sawers's poetry books include Scissors Cut Rock (Flarestack, 2005) and A Thames Bestiary (with Peter Hay; Two Rivers Press 2008). He lives in Reading (UK) with his disabled son.