In Bedfordshire

In Bedfordshire
and there’s gun fire from the tree line.
Single rifle shots, one and then two.

We are in the country of the country.
At a manor house as though belonging
when in truth we are merely renting
this experience of ourselves
these few days in the gentle classes
which involves shooting things
and sherry also and a gardener
who is working here with a flat flint face
looking through the window
without seeing us at all
as we eat our roasted stone-fruit
croissants and sausages
made from herbed boar
the delicate and the brutal combined.

The walls here are high
and there are arrow-slit windows
high up in the bricks
glazed shut now
but with the threat of blood
the peasants pierced.

Lawns are in every direction
croquet and crushed stones
elm benches the better to make you
sit up straight.

Today Scotland voted to stay
under the yoke and those from there
who are wealthy enough to live here instead
will sleep safe in their certainty.



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