(after Li Po)
Sunlight glitters in the crosshatchings
of pheasant-coloured water,
on the uneasy tiles of the coaching inn,
draped in red Virginia.
A spill of claret stains the dogwood trees,
and the river’s casualties splashed on the road.
At my feet, a chestnut – split, egg-white,
a half moon is stamped on damson-blue sky.
When night comes, thistle-silk hardens
to steely burdock, clinging to ankles.
Jackdaws stop calling in the presbytery,
the hiss of pylons are ghostly choirs,
the river becomes ink, black like sloes,
poets get their feet wet, looking for the moon.