The braes across the road from the farm
are the frontier of the wild.
My land is witness to my tightrope walk
of partnership and control.
Across the road, empires rise and fall unchecked.
The developers are active just now,
the architects prolific:
giant structures appear overnight:
municipal play balls,
of brown and red and white,
orange, lemon yellow, greeny grey,
livid and vivid, slimy and rough,
mottled and plain,
they build from the mossy slopes
to open into platters
floating in mid-air on delicate pale stems,
or rooted with fat trunks
Destruction is already present,
edifices toppled by passing sheep,
or inquiring human.
Insects have honeycombed the staunchest monopod,
pockmarked their glossy heads.
Some cluster in groups, pushing outwards
as if to leave,
ammonita grow in groves of lurid sunset reds and yellows,
collared by a lacy ruff,
Others lurk pale, lonely and sinister,
these I shun: but my friends I greet:
the great Cep (not many though – and the brown birch is not so good)
orange bolete, yellow russula, and trumpeting chanterelles
The empire of the funghi is here for a spell,
with riots and uncontrolled assemblies,
before returning to the quiet earth,
and the hillsides under the trees
will be the poorer for its fall.