Mourning In America

Scottish Borders pic.jpg

The first snow falls
through daybreak’s seeping –
cloying, wet, exhausted
by the calendar –
when the news comes through:
liberalism has withered
and died on the vine.
America has spoken;
snake-oil sales rise.

In the barren borders
I take the dog to the top
field, the last before the moor
rises to the forged and bolted
silver November sun.
Two days ago he
caught a rabbit here.

Set-traps line the heather.
I have to watch for them, and watch
for the sadistic flame-haired gamekeeper too,
as branch-bound overfed pheasants sit
like bullseyes on the target
of the sky,
and my mind is elsewhere.

Everything I thought was good
in people is rotting now;
crumbling like the trunk that harboured the
resting rabbit, whose form sits
there still beneath snow,
like something turned out
from a mould. An idea.

The dog slow-stalks the bank
that holds the warren
but the rabbits have got wise –
wiser than the people
as they wander barefoot
onto the burning plane.
And snow like the ash of
history’s failing falls.


As written for Caught By The River on the morning of November 9th 2016, following the election of Donald Trump to the US presidency. 

Photo by Ben Myers.


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