September Sun on Blackdown Hills
North, up deep-wooded Black Down’s scarp
to a windswept southern plateau
dissected by a mosaic of secluded river valleys,
carpeted by flint, chalk, greensand and clay.
An undertow of springline mires squelches underfoot.
Sphagnum moss frames fens and quaking bogs,
where keeled skimmer dragonflies zip past heath milkwort
and inch-long frogs clamber marsh violets.
At a thousand feet, Beacon’s Batch linear barrows
hold silence beneath skirling larks.
Suddenly, flushed out of shoulder-high bracken,
ring-necked pheasants, flap and whirr like stalled engines.
Ruby-red cattle and herds of Exmoor ponies graze
as the sun gilds a slow-worm tracking dew.