At dusk I’m drawn to the back lane
to watch the new foal.
It floats and folds around its mother, a giddiness, an armful
of feathers spilling out of itself.
On the hedgerows the white flowers
glow as darkness thickens.
Trees have settled to their long tasks.
Fresh leaves start to harden.
Almost past the edge of hearing, making
their claim on the lateness, children call.
A sound like the memory of a sound.
A dog barks. A car comes and goes.
On the hill lights begin to appear.
Swallows reel through the field.
Horse and foal have wandered away
and are lost in a gather of shadow.
The foal taking its first delicate steps.
Elsewhere my mother taking her last.
* Mark Roper was born and raised in the UK but has lived in County Kilkenny since 1980. He has published six collections of poems, most recently A Gather of Shadow, which was joint winner of the 2014 Michael Hartnett Award.
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