Dies irae

We go into a squall of starlings,

into sky jaundiced by thunderstorms;

hail applauding its way towards us,

the distance blurring in its white noise.


August is normally terrible

with wasps – with a heat that hangs on you

like wet wool, like a child’s dressing-up.

A month of dry, taunting afternoons:


tea-stained fields, golden once with the sun

they drank in spring. Not this granite froth,

these glaucous cataracts, weighing on

exhausted air, dead as a judgement.