‘It’s late so soon,’ he said –
The sun still high but the day nearly over,
The weed at July and summer toppling.
Away in the intake,
The scaled-out grass sprawled sodden, the ewes wanted clipping,
And the lambs were as big as their mothers.
He stared across the dale.
On its eastern shoulder every cobble and clint
Was seven-times magnified under the lens of light;
The other slope was plunged in a reservoir of shadow.
Bracken, rank and viscous, stank like compost,
The rowans were already reddening.
And the rag-mat of autumn lay coiled up in the corries,
Waiting to be rolled out over fell-foot and byre.
He pushed segged thumbs through hair too early grey,
And said again: ‘That’s the trouble with summer –
It’s late so soon.’