up on the downs

I took the dog on a walk
we hadn’t done in a while
ten miles south of here
up on the downs

I parked in a lay-by in the lee
Lola ran on ahead
I strode behind
clapping my hands
drunk in the early light and line
glad of everything
taking pictures
trying to leave myself behind
and already – look!
fungus stepped like ears on the stump of an elder;
a twist of fleece on a hawthorn;
graffiti on a beech;
a lifted cover on a mine shaft
on and on, higher and higher
up to a line of golden sheep
staring as I tried for the shot
is one of them wearing a hat?

on the way back down
exploring an unexpected tributary
of the quarry at the bottom of the lane
I came across a wide scattering of junk
everything you could think of, really
fridge, TV, sofa
the only thing lacking
a family to sit on it
I liked the TV best
its screen blown, a tangle of weeds
lolling out in real HD
it was only when I knelt down
to frame the shot
I realised I was surrounded by glass
poor Lola would cut her paws
how would THAT look?
I put the camera away
called Lola (in a softer voice;
hoping she wouldn’t dash after me
quite so crazily)
and walked back to the car

home is due north
it couldn’t be simpler
but for some reason
I put on the sat nav
why, i’m not sure
I liked the warmth
of the car heater
the roll of the road
Lola watchingIMG_6591
from the back
and, I don’t know
maybe I just needed
something else
a few clear words
a sense of direction
to go with all that

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