There were wasps and frosts,
a pesticidal maniac in a tractor,
spring boughs chorus-lined
in a scandal of knicker blossom,
coachloads of birds behaving
like shoppers with gold cards,
tipsy on the fizz of fat bugs,
a lost snake, a child with a book,
enough ants to build a pyramid,
a squirrel mafia in the nut racket,
the short-sighted tawny owl,
a great bumper-into-things,
as unlucky in mice as in love,
two plastic bags that got hitched
in March but divorced in storms
that flattened the orchard wall,
a syrup of sunsets and dawns.
Now here hangs the last fruit.
The stem lips my knife, the skin
quivers with the beat of the earth,
requiring precision slicing
so that we may share as friends
these difficult late quartets.
Prizewinner in the 2015 Four Counties Competition