Two’s Company, One’s a Cloud

by Martin Shone

Timeless heron in silent flight
canal watching
ephemeral.
Is it hungry
or lonely?

White horse stoical beneath a pink blanket
ambiguous expression considers
a paddock of squelch and slop.
Does it not like pink
is it the rain
or the loneliness?

Five trees crenellate the track
fourth one dead, stark
grey against a monochrome sky.
Was it born before colour photography
did it look up at the sky and wish for blue
did it smile when the snowdrops fed upon its rot
or did it look at the lush four and feel lonesome?

Solitary magpie
flies along the plume of a
(Green steam from an unseen train)
windswept copse as it
caterpillars the horizon
lands on a bough of steam
and steals the mirage.

What of the magpie?
One for sorrow
or back to its glamour
and two for joy?

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