One spring evening I came home
smelling of chalk and felt tips
and saw him: lager-pale, eyes
bright in the headlamps.
I thought of farmers, but my heart
was on his side. I would have loved,
like a woman to a cat, to talk to him.
But he retreated, a shy child
from a stranger, down the bank,
into gorse, brambles and dog roses.
I remembered Lawrence’s snake
as he’d remembered the albatross.
But my heart was lighter
when I turned the key in the lock.
I imagined smells of sandy soil,
gorse, cold spring air, and fox.
from <i>Here Comes the Poetry Man</i> (Salt, 2011), © Fred Sedgwick 2011, used by permission of the author