Runcible Spoon

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towpath   morning


and in the remnant of night reluctant

to lift   a ponymother and her foal still

tethered in some flaxen recreation

of the umbilical   stand uneasy

on the old iron swing bridge beyond

Shipley      skittish hooves stir wet air

movement that causes the hollow bridge

to rock on its mechanism   leaving

a single boom haunting the morning  

above a town waking with its dread

at the visitation of a judgment

passed   these equine messengers

deliverers of the word cross slowly

to the other side   back into the scrub

and waste ground between factories

whence they came   no hurry to their stride


further along my way and I count

milestone herons   two reengage

with their struggle against gravity

leaning heavy on their clattering wings

all angles and pulleys and levering

up and across the thin slip of water  

to resume their ill-tempered watch

the third I see standing ankle-deep

in the canal   staring ferociously

at the something that swirled back

into the lightless mudthick soup

avoiding the beaks thrust this time

as he tips his empty neck back

water runs down the feathers of the

throat and he glistens reflecting

sunbreak   briefly a magical creature