In the Garden of England
colour leaches from the landscape.
A grass snake skulks motionless
among dinner-plate lily pads,
black bead eyes alert for prey.
Torpid fish gasp on the oily surface.
Apples burden orchard boughs
hopbine tendrils twine round wires.
Time becomes suspended by dread –
while your young life ebbs
measured by morphine.
News of your death
Now to be forever linked
with our first glimpse of the deer –
pricked ears, tails flicking
among bleached grass
as a thunderhead
towers over the Weald.
Drought Summer by Clare Marsh was highly commended in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (October 2020) judged by Roger Elkin.