A litter of yellow apples lie by
An access trackway, unregarded and
Ignored, for all the hundred pounds yet spent
On fruit from other garden fields, these fall
And tumble, bruise, sleep rotten by a path
That once in several months a gang tramp down
To mend, rewire, or tense the straightening cords
That rig steel pylons down the western line.
If only I had time and way to climb that fence
Or scale that wall and gather them – or you
Could ever give that hopeful seedling, now
A giving, breathing creature in our world
Appreciation’s gratitude of use,
To taste the fruit just once before it falls!
See all along the callous iron line –
Permanent way – the rails have taken part,
Assumed autumnal motley, blood and brown,
And ballast beds a thousand dry-stemmed weeds,
But heaps of darling brambles, glowing brass
Gloss-tip bold hips are all by-passed.
The jungles of sloes, elder, buddleia,
Are thick and scrawny, generous and gay.
Each waiting on a season – while the train
Diesels past, cold or wet or damp or dry –
And never can we tap those running rivers,
Wine-fountains. Realm of black cat and magpie,
Occasionally trespassed by working gangs
Of hi-vis lads with flasks and sandwiches
And itineraries by which time those briars
Must be cut back – until next year again
They show their open palms in generous glee,
Unregarding the sudden slash and hack,
Intrusive but impermanent and weak.
The oak still juts out limbs, regardless, hard,
The rowans stretch and slip down th’ embankment.
The brambles claw and catch, proliferate,
And everywhere in autumn you saw hips
In spring is but a net of green thorned twigs
And early summer, clouds of fragrant scent
Unrivalled by the essences, in glass,
Sold in a full room by the door of a
Large department store. Clear out such memory!
Rather see those nebulous banquets
Ubiquitous and unique, that colour
Our paths and commutes when we least expect.