Phantom fears stalk the hill

No more black coffee
I’m on a purge.
My flask delivers hot liqourice
and something- camomile perhaps.


I sit to watch

deer scattered in the heather

below the monument.

They watch me –
a dozen hinds and calves
with a couple of knobbers
(young stags) still in velvet.
Hidden gully
Unperturbed though
until distant shots crack
from a neighbouring glen,
shotguns not rifles-
grouse or clays-
but the deer rise
and move below me and out of sight.

The Nog is prone
under my head
-a canine pillow-
and hovers unusually
tight as I move off-
flatteringly attentive –
until I remember his fear of firearms,
however far off.
‘Gunshy’ doesn’t describe
this overwhelming terror
conjuring phantoms
while the heather smells of honey
and the wind is from the south

I study water pouring slowly
down a smear of green,

– to challenge other phantoms.



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