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Horse Manure


I could always tell when Bruce
the sad-eyed carthorse
hitched to Barton’s milkcart
was about to do it. He would stand
just so
strapped in his shafts and raise his tail.
For one brief moment his sad eyes turned blissful
as the gleaming spheres were born
to fall – splot! splot! – and gently steam
squashed to the tarmac of our street.

Curtains twitched and Mrs. Harris
eyes cast down
and helmeted in headscarf
scuttled, crab-like, out from chintz and china
scooping up the golden droppings for her hubby
who grew cabbages the size of my dad’s head
and marrows that won prizes.
Mrs Harris helped him, though I wonder if
within her heart, she yearned to grow her nails
instead, and paint them red.

And did Bruce
of galloping
tail flying
over rolling fields?


Alistair Scott
November 2003





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