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Lay for the Day
7th July


That highest summer I’d listen till midnight
to the airwaves’ flutter, hot as summer’s height.
I hitched around the roads under a pall
of dust and dark leaves, a green boy at play,
fair-weather visitor. One date was all
sevens. Knowing Thomas had saved the day
to give me California Sunshine on.
The world in the woods was unscaled. We shed
our clothes, a pale stripling and a limber one.
Lean foxgloves clung like flies’ tongues in the red
clay banks. Dun calves grazed the greenleaf in the sun
and looked on. Testicles like pink sea-urchins
in the cold beck. Straight gold light was searching
along buffed railway lines, among reaped hay.

John Gibbens
from A Wild Inhabitation

The Lay Reader: an archive of the poetic calendar