Then I lived on an island.
Though the ploughland ran like the sea
There was scarcely an animal in the fields
Of my empty Eastern county.
Sour disinfectant bridged the Trent
So foot and mouth washed round, then went.

I stare into a photograph
Which spins and glows on screen,
Heart crossed by veins of snowflake,
Hot summer's blue, kind green
As Christmas trees, its wings and shine:
This virus, breathed from cows and swine.

The digits tap along the wires
Into the crowded town,
Our pony trots on western hills,
Beside her, pigs flop down
In sun; ears ripple, like a drum.
Birds cross the hedge. The plague will come.

Alison Brackenbury

If you've any comments on this poem, Alison Brackenbury would be pleased to hear from you.

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