A Constable in Hay

Someone with a sense of humour hung
“The Haywain” here. No-one painted silence
quite like Constable. There, opposite, among
the cordon-bleu expresso, noise and steam
and petrol-station rams another team
and riders herd in other horses, young,
unbroken brumbies driven on by tall,
lean, television-stockmen riding down
from Marlboro country. On the northern wall
a colour-print of Nigel’s rig – a brown,
tarpaulined Volvo “everyone around
this town knows Nige, three-fifty please”. Two teas
and toasted, gourmet raisin-bread beneath
that other summer, set aside from time.
July perhaps, mid-afternoon. Behind
fluorescent tubes where Alpine flavour shares
the soft-wet, Wiltshire stillness, clouds and light,
trucks thunder on, their high-beamed headlamps stare
out lidless through the flat, black, outback night.


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