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 www.richardknott-writer.com