Before midnight

An hour before midnight,
when I can not sleep,
I steal to the soft soak
of warm autumnal darkness.

I listen to the loudest silence,
a late August night
in full orchestral flight
under stars and silver blinkered cloud.

I sit quietly
wrapped and warm
among the sleeping butterflies
of the  Buddleia and the Berberis.

Mindful of the prod
of wine laced thorns
and the gorged snoring
of sleeping honey bees.

on a deckchair,
discarded and torn,
seat threadbare.
I recline.

And hear the night;
its tiny peopled voices
speaking in whispered loud
rapscallion tongues.

On a headland a cock pheasant
crows the news,
his feathers black
and orange gold.

His tail trails burnished fire
catching colour
from autumn tinted bramble
and rich reddening briar.

The stoat, a stealthy ghost
scuffles through
the undergrowth,
in search of the unwary.

Frogs and snails poke cold
from thatched homes
and draw back from
his sniffing nose.

A red bushed thief lies low,
his mind on the break
of cockcrow.
Kits and chicks easy prey.

Stunned by blue and grey
over misted meadows.
A dark serrated shadow
flits across the stars.

A bat takes a moth
and flies on.
A Corncrake screeches
from an unmown stretch

A Nightjar answers from silent flight.

-Dave Kavanagh

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