Frozen mud-pelt of the early
The air bristles with frost-shine,
our winter breath hangs
whitening momentarily in the air before us.
And on into deep grey dark,
where the trees close in on us.
A gentle crackle in the glooming,
rolling pine cones and rabbit droppings,
faraway bird-call and the
of a fresh waked pigeon.
Deer-eye startles, twigs fire
of snapper-jawed ammunition,
spiky fingers gnarl,
chipper of wood-peel, crack and splinter.
Finally we are out amongst
left over leaf-mould
into the stark-limbed skeleton
of the deciduous forest.
The sky opens out - a gap of relief
after the ink-smudge conifers.
We gulp lung after lung of early
see every third tree marked with a cross,
a yellow smear
where the saw will bite,
flaking jackets of bark barely
covering pale bodies,
blood-sap stinks up the air
with its honey-thick sweetness.