Choose your path
I skipped gaily on my way, almost
Like those jolly hikers in the Fast Show;
I thought I'd sing something rousing,
Alpine, German, strongly communal.
Spread before me was a sloping field,
A tree in its middle, a thought of nature,
Before the copse in the valley, and the path
To the dreaming wood, ahead on the top.
A bird's brief song, intimate – with a gun's reply,
she saw the logic, therein, and delayed her counsel.
An obliging sign told me, more or less, not to be a stinker,
And about grain and export and various uplifting stuff.
The immaculate, bare path, perfect in its line,
Enhanced me with growing and glorious galoshes
Of its loving mud, at every step.
The tree, on meeting, waved me (cloggily) on.
At the single line of bush at the bottom,
'Private Property' handily to my right,
'Keep out' thoughtfully to my left,
And a little bridge that 'beckoned' me, forwards,
And once more unto the cleavage
Of my new-found mono-culture,
To better hear the song of the motorway,
Not so distant yonder, now,
And thence to the wood, stripped and fenced
To a surprising desert, staring at the chicken farm beyond,
And the scuttle of a stress of pheasant,
All yet to be rendered worth life by death,
And the concern of nature's guardian,
Astride his wheezing Massey,
'Shouldn't 've gone this way. What you doing here?'
'Ah,' said I, 'it must be nearly three.
And is there honey still for tea?'