Now in this wan December, when

The trees like huge upended roots,

Shelter deep-slumbering owls, the sun

Shines slightly and the mist competes

With old-man’s-beard to soften fields

Left fallow in brown tufted folds.


The pheasants, sprung from bracken, fly

Heavily in the sodden air,

Then skim a broken filigree

Of thorn, through which the blackbirds peer,

And, Chinese colours glinting, pass

Into a rabbit-land of gorse.


This lightly painted picture holds

Its outlines, as the sea-gulls sail

In from the sea and dot the fields

Like moving forms of snow, until

The faded silver sun has set,

And wakeful owls hoot home the night.