Lay for the Day 25th
feast day of St Walburga, an eighth-century German abbess who somehow
became identified with an ancient corn goddess.
of the coincidence of another of her feast days, 1st May, with the pagan
festival of the beginning of summer, she has lent her name to that red
letter day in the witches calendar, Walpurgisnacht.
75. Of an Ear of Wheat
Stiff and dry like a feather
with a new-moon curve, picked up
in the stubble no gleaners
search, shaved uniformly short.
All around in the big fields
the hard light soils been harrowed.
The black ground over the ditch
is patched with unburnt yellow.
the bare fields, a half-mile long,
windswept, blank as factories.
Lights come on in the outskirts
along the A road. Angled
like river gravel, seeds are
full and sharp in this light discard,
never to be bread. A dog-
rose pink, thin and pitted
peers beside the hilltop town
at the cars conceited whine
down the medieval shoreline.
Pendulous, with winged husks
like the legs of a cricket,
finely pointed, the fifty-
four grain ear forgives and gives.
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