At landscape’s edge, falling away

to a conjuring of pebbled tides,

a wheat-field scrawls its stalks

of fieldnotes – ruled, legible,

a narrative of summering whose

end is already known. Here is

the tended, securely tenanted:

a cultivated cursive script that

speaks of surety, a last line

of defence against the littoral.

The sun bleeds yellow on yellow,

but the wheat knows it may rely

on a watering hand. Borders

doodled with poppies, teasels,

ragwort, nettles, cow parsley,

lavatera tell stories of their own,

illiterate and salty – songs of

the corrugated earth yielding

to roots in a reluctance of dust,

songs of bee-wing and birdwing.

This is marginalia: geological,

botanical, the limits of a field,

of a land, before soil shape-shifts

to chalk, to sand, before the losing

of footing, the treading of water.

We work so hard in the growing

of us, sings nettle, sings teasel.

So hard, the going, sings ragwort,

sings poppy. And still, crop writes

its chronicles, impervious and safe.



First published in Finished Creatures, issue 3

Reprinted in Poems from the Planet pamphlet 2020


© Sarah Doyle