Swans out of the north,
pushed by wind, sweep in like caped cavalry;
lanced uhlans in flight from a broken field.
A litter of sudden grey stones creep
across the pasture – another drop
of fieldfares late last night.
Smoke columns lean along the moor,
crackles and flying embers at their feet,
attended by bent figures – swaddled keepers.
It is the autumn burning – new shoots
for next year’s grouse – while emperors
and northern eggars roast in silken shrouds.
The glow of berried rowans on the heathered edge,
start memories like snipe from a bog –
the lips of kissed and long-forgotten girls.