Running by Duntrune, or anywhere,
there are burns which probably never were.
I don’t mean any grand-splashing course,
not even wellie paddle-joy deeps.
Just some wonder of something,
overcovered by full-on June’s green.
Damp into a place where light switches off.
Possibly, there’ll be a wee waterway,
a field drain or some little ditch.
Hidden by herbage, in less nippy nettles,
or nodded at longings of elegant foxgloves.
Then the odd hogweed shoots up.
Perhaps in this hot spell, down there’s
just mud. Hard-cracked and heartless.
Maybe, at other times, rain offers fun,
to gargle, over-run pebbles and sand.
All that could shrink, be stagnant, stink
under autumn’s warm clouds and fly swarms.
In a month, imagine frothed meadowsweet –
no, I know you can’t see it yet.
This could brim bronze, be all cress in excess.
I don’t care if you don’t fancy soup.
What if we’ve found the old farm march?
Or just leaves, where nothing ever existed.
Shall I part all the brambles,
sticky willie-velcro dog roses,
with cross-scratched-to-buggery limbs?
Or will I just drop three grey stones
into whatever this is or was never,
run on, before I hear their fall stop?
Beth McDonough’s poetry appears in Causeway, Antiphon, Interpreter’s House and elsewhere; she reviews in DURA. Handfast (2016, with Ruth Aylett) explores family experiences – Aylett’s of dementia. and McDonough’s of autism. She finds poems in and near the Tay.