Escape to the Country

On 10 August 2003 the temperature in London

exceeded a hundred degrees for the first time

That apocalyptic summer, buildings going up, trees coming down.

Day after day, nowhere to hide.

A police helicopter banks and circles, lower and lower

every sleepless night.  The heat is on until November

and doesn’t end with a firework called The End of the World.

That’s when we decide to move to the edge, and yes,

dusk happens here

and trees which disappear into the night.  There is much to 


in a line of white birds flying east, crossing

a shadow moving west.  The rustic gate.  The low crime rate.

My wellingtons are waiting in the hall.

Just now, standing motionless as a hare, at an upstairs window

in the good dark, I suddenly think of Madame Bovary –

She wanted to die, and she wanted to live in Paris.

Dear God, please save me from long walks of appreciation.