The pandemic’s lockdown rules having been eased
we crossed the border into Wales to visit
our favourite country seat, on a late autumn’s
sunny day, cold and dry. The car park
was almost empty – and the main yard,
where the hay loft was and the saw pit,
entirely so except, this being
close to Christmas, Bing Crosby, disembodied,
singing ‘We Three Kings…’ Out in the gardens
two mothers and four infants cheerily
followed the Peter Rabbit Winter Trail,
running to find Lily Bobtail, Tommy Brock,
then Squirrel Nutkin. Rooks gathered in the limes,
and a magpie crossed the lake loud with mallards.
In one of the borders orange flowers
were still blooming – alstroemeria,
Lily of the Incas – and in another
an ornamental banana tree burgeoned,
testament to the earth’s slow burning.
The sky was filling with cumulus clouds
whiter than snow, drifting slowly from the north,
as we returned to the yard where Bing
was still singing of the Magi, a journey,
and a star. The late afternoon was full
of innocence and design, theology
and intimations, children, obligations.
We left, careful on the winding lanes,
wondering if Peter Rabbit had been found.
Bing CrosbyChristmasPeter Rabbit