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The earth red bank

On June nineteen before the twenty-first
Summer heat having only just begun
On an old hedgebank where the sun now burst
On bare earth amidst thick vegetation
On sandy soil and glinting stones it beat
There I had time enough to stand and stare -
Near enough to feel the radiant heat -
And stayed long enough to hope to see there
Something called ‘Common’ but not so these days
Lizards: sun-waiting sun-hunting sun-stars
Just to see one I’d be sent in a daze
For such tiny dinosaur replicas

Flanked by rank growth a miniature desert
Sought by creatures which demand dazzling warmth
In the overgrown green they have their thirst
But not for water common in the north
Here they come to tempt fate and become prey
For the cold-eyed lizard and fork-tongued snake
Soporific’ly and carelessly they
Flex and fidget as if they want to make
The day of the rib-crawling predator
And the low squat-legged endlessly patient
Shadowers – exiles from the equator
For here for me it feels heaven-sent

From across the meadow as the sun strikes
The old hedge bank with its red earth prairies
Radiate whispering sultry air like
 A tantalising breeze from Tuscany
I’m lured to these as a moth to a lamp
Attracted by the mesmerising gleam
I know that as long as sun beats damp
The desiccated shimmering earth will teem
With a myriad of invertebrates
Which have been waiting for as long as me
All through the long dark winter months they wait
For this all too brief smile of Tuscany

© RM Meyer
Winswell Water, June 2019