It was a difficult year.
As could be expected, frost
the fields and
promptly lost its hold.
in patterns that could not be read
as he knew he had once had the power
to read them before.
Struggling each morning
over a burgeoning maze of
ice, crammed with the stems of
and–down in one corner
a solitary crocus. The unreadiness of which
troubled him with nagging disproportion.
For many nights, he lay below the eaves
on the bed he had kept since childhood
and thought about the burden of the land
which, alongside other fleeting things;
robins, battling with a ferocity
incongruent to their size–
the steady reliability of returning cows
lending their breath to the evening
had compelled him to witness
the terrible and unspoken diminishment
of his parent’s strength.
The swiftness of its passing only matched
by the slowly mounting bitterness
of barely weathered winters.
But things were not always as linear
as it seemed that they would be. When the frost
and this time did its job–
blanketing the fields
with a patent uniformity of bleakness
It seemed that he was able to find, or was provided with
only under condition of that extremity
some lingering reminder of a sweetness.
He felt it, some days
in things as unassuming as the light
for one last burst of intensity
over a colourless sky
and, on others
through the quiet observation of his father.
Noticing in him
some reservoir of undiluted strength
kept, only for the most demanding
of physical tasks.
Or, on another occasion
after the frost had melted for a second time
the cautious re-assumption of a reverence
with which he approached the space
three stalls down from the store.
Accustomising its resident
to the startling coldness of a metal disc
and moving its surface to sound
the unwavering presence
of two neat calves;
hammocked in blood
under the ilium
which jutted like a blade
in lonelier seasons.
—Published 28th of May 2022
About Anna Forbes
Anna Forbes is from Edinburgh, She studied at King’s College London, where she obtained a degree in Comparative Literature. Her poetry has featured in a range of publications including Antiphon, the Fortnightly Review, and Southbank Poetry.