Leighton Moss, Lancashire; first day of spring

The reeds beds glow, fringe shallow pools
of deepest blue, a mist softens the hills,
the greening fields and tracery of trees,
enfolding expectations of another spring.

Our church, a shack with slits,
the woolly murmur of concentration,
the sudden revelation, as lenses turn,
whirr and click with true devotion.

Sleepless gulls, hooded in darkest brown,
act out their long disputes,
their eyes red-rimmed, their screams
a livid gash across the face of the day.

Half hidden by feather lines of gold,
four bustling snipe dibble in the reeds,
probing for crustacean truth,
the certainty of annelids in softer mud.

Upturned mallards flaunt their shames.
Their black curls taunt the yellow glare
of a tufted duck, smart as a policeman,
stern as a judge.

A stalking heron freezes in mid stride,
Neck coiled like a snake,
Eye ablaze with fierce intent,
Blade poised ready for the strike.

A pair of dancing swans glide,
side by loving side from the reeds,
their primrose necks dip, stretch,
bend, entwine in one accord.

Coots run across the lake like skimming pebbles
teal dabble, brighter green among the sprouting iris,
the jealous cob advances in full sail, the red-eyed Pochard dives,
the water surges, bubbles like a spring.

Further out, on salted marsh, where avocets
scoop their sky blue share, a flock of
godwit, summer russet and winter grey,
long bills sheathed underwing, sleep

while the sun dips low to Morecambe Bay,
lights up the valley gold, the greener hills,
the white house by the tall stack,
grey Warton’s crags, a happier day.