This sky is a professional
on loan from East Anglia
or some other official region
with its own BBC News
and school of landscape art.
All afternoon it has sucked
the shadows from under our feet
up into its black yawn,
suspending us in air so thick
it might contain the grindings
of another non-league town
as mild and brickish as our own.
Splashes now land like hot kisses
tasting of stale meat and steel.
the first drops fritter onto laurels
in globs and splats and rills
over butts and pots and sills.
Retirees flee into conservatories,
stricken as citizens of Gomorrah,
with pails and copies of The Mail
rolled into truth truncheons
against the great wet reckoning.
Civilians stand ceremoniously
under hammered bus shelters
still as Britain’s many rain dead
while hoody loons turn cartwheels
in Wicksteed Park, ditch-giddy.
All the kids wish to be tumbling fish
wondering if we were Eskimos
how many words we’d give to this.
Just as suddenly the artillery stops.
New mud rises, blinks from drains.
The guttering of Kettering breathes.
Its honeysuckle declares world peace.
Runner-up in the 2015 Wells Literature Festival Prize