She may have had prey on her mind swooping

round across the hedge over my shoulder.

Or was she heavy, weighed down already

with a dead or struggling weight? If I had known


and could have watched her coming

I would have marvelled at her insolence or gasped

at her parabola but I was flat surprised


and left with just the scaling

of her back, the hunched wings that vanished

over brambles and down the hill. I looked


as far as I could. She did not appear

at the valley floor. As I lifted the fork

again and turned it round, I had a sense

of her turning for home in strong, slow time.



© John Stuart