First Snow

The light is strange this morning
The moon shone full last night
but that’s not it.
Light glows white from muck
and rock
and stick.

I should have known it would snow.
New Snow 14
The animals have a new urgency
as I ride the quad to meet them:
they recognize ancient threat
to all outwinterers:
snow on the back,
snow to scrape
from frosted grass,
young stock shocked
and bewildered
by newfound hardship.

The old ones look first
to the easy supply,
the feed bags
the ring-fed silage.
They will batter each other for first call,
life has suddenly become
a competition.

I am concerned for the weakest
competitor: George Halfcalf,
handicapped of his own choice
refusing Moira’s milk.
I watch as he struggles
to ease his mouth over the lip
of the feed trough,
pulling at wisps caught on the edge
of the feeder by others leaning
over to select the sweetest.
I have not finished my dry season’s work:
logs will remain uncut,
hinds unculled,
hardstandings not rolled,
walls not rendered.
The ground is softening
under the hooves,
the quad wheels make drains
for water to puddle pastures.
Snow is banking
in bulging grey clouds
looming on chilly westerlies-
so I do not understand
I am


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