delicate and tasty
tunnels through the lanes,
resting in the hedges
on the elms’ tight branches
filling up the fields.

A full, articulate fog –
droplets formed around
a nucleus of salt.

Out of this pink hover
a child pedals down the lane
on hose-pipe tyres,
a forbidden news-sheet
in a pouch under her blouse,
an empty bottle in her basket.

Three times a week her parents
shush her off to Mrs Clegg’s.
Milk for news. News for milk.

The bike is cumbersome
but on the way home
there are trinkets to find
in the half-hidden hedges,
the crumbling mud banks

and she whispers their shapes to me
now with her stiff wrinkled fingers:
pennywort, shale rock,
a play ball of moss.