in England
exam halls full
biros scribbling
humidity and heat
someone decreed the tie must be worn

they will hear nothing of the lark
catch not the cuckoo calling
cannot simmer in the slow burn to Solstice
the ticking clock
ninety minutes of mathematics

a pair of blackbirds flush out the jay
heron stalking by the weir
deep dwellers snapping at surface midges
reeds revelling with rainbow trout
two hundred children sat in rows

stretched out under the sun
barley feathering the fields
the school year runs
in laps that tighten the adult grip
on childhood


CLP 07/06/2022