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Poetry: There Is No Planet B

Wasps drunk with the rotting juice

of crab apples. It is late October, paths

slick with mud and the green-wellied.

You arrived on time, all of you somehow

subdued, the youngest masked, in boots

and cut-offs, older, unhappily nursing a cold.

The house looked chilly too: Palladian, stark,

weathered yellow stone, but the cattle,

dozy heifers, spread across the fields,

chewed as if content with the state of the world.

We ate lunch, benched and distanced, in a cold,

swirling wind. The trees across the fields

were bright with colour, their last fling of

yellows and browns, all hints of green gone.

There were tears as we left, fear of the future,

sadness for the past. Driving home,

the weather broke, autumn afternoon

transformed by dark clouds and rain

that blinded, the windscreen masked

by water. We swept under a bridge:

‘There is no Planet B’ the bleak letters

proclaimed. We drove on into another

biblical storm, spray and rain and sun

together consuming all colour, bar

an ominous silver, a funereal, brittle grey.

Richard Knott has written several books of modern history, notably The Sketchbook War and The Secret War Against the Arts which was published by Pen & Sword in September 2020. This year also saw the publication of his first poetry collection Perfect Day. He lives in Somerset. More of his work can be seen at

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