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To Holcot Wood - A haibun

In search of peace, with stick in hand, I follow the farmer’s path across the brow of Brogborough Hill where the brickworks have faded in the east and the new city rises in haze on the western horizon.

I plod-plod-tap my stiff old body past hedgerows abuzz with young life – butterfly, ladybird, and bumblebee all dance an aerial frolic. The tit-diddle-it of the robin announcing my passage

Spring sun -

The breeze kissed cheek

is not warmed

Falling below me down the hill on my right is all new forest. Lush hazel corridors that tempt the eye with wide mown paths, maze-like between their walls.

Ahead lies the meadow-wood where clumsy cows lurk snuffling in the undergrowth or gather in bovine conference by the manor gate discussing the meaty issues of the day.

I tender my apologies and turn left instead entering the green half light of ancient woodland. Deep into an emerald cathedral I stroll past twisted columns of oak and ash on seasoned paths where Saxons roamed.

Too early for bluebells, the ground beneath the trees is fire black with fallen ash and centuries of leaf on leaf on earth still damp from winter bathing.This compost carpet muffles my footsteps while undercover woodpigeons question my arrival with a who-who-who who-who-who.

Birdsong rattles

the verdant canopy

- Intruder alert

Breathing hard, I stop to rest, inside this vaulted aviary that flutters with concern at my solitary trespass. But I am not alone, the leafy curtain before me parts and four button black eyes in two nut brown faces examine me with curiosity.

A long way from Chinese water, the tension drips as the deer complete their inquisition. Perhaps I stir some sepia-tinted memory of a Victorian collector who came home bearing cages. Maybe their freedom has finally come to an end and I am here to return them to their parents’ stately prison.

It seems not. With a shake of the head and a sharp flash of one long tooth the pair are gone. Dismissing me in my irrelevance. I raise my stick in mute salute and slowly turn to start the journey home.

Footprints fading,

branches spring back -

The forest continues

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