Padlock Lake

I’ve fed dead fish
At Padlock Lake,
Five miles above
An old sluice gate.

Over yon way,
Beyond game-sedge,
A calf eats hay
At Ghost Farm’s edge,

I knew, like you,
From early ages
Through hardship and harm,
Through old Autumn breezes

Cold as a fist,
This inability to wish,
We dreamt of byres and
Troughs instead.

We pass by a polite
Chinese scientist
With one arm
And owls woven

On grey lapels.
Yon farmer exists
In a caravan balancing
Precariously

On rusting teeth.
Brambles and briar
Nettles and dock,
A solitary robin,

Red from the cross,
Her songs could span
An albatross, in flight,
Over oceans of moss.

Years later
I found a certain haven,
Pulling those fish ribs
From a peaty bog,

Not far from where
They found a body within
A concrete outflow pipe,
Naked, leaking, exposed.

Sometimes even gods
Of parks and lakes
Make human-seeming
Basic mistakes.

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