The branches by the sign will be cut.
20 green years spread over it
will be wiped from its memory
and all the dogs of Much Wenlock
will obey it. This is the motion,
here writ by the councillors.
But, the women of Wenlock rustle
and caw, restrained in their seats
by their half-woken husbands.
They meet in the purple Teashop,
spitting currants at the nerve,
to hold a meeting about dogs.
Their dogs. It’s people who come visiting,
they say. What’s it to do wi’ us
if children play on the fields, fall
and graze a knee? This is not the city.
Where else can we take ‘em?
We’ll have to hold a crisis meeting.
So the children of the village keep swinging
their cricket bats, running an obstacle course
of shit, like a field outdone by molehills.
While at night their mothers gather
their skirts, harvest it from the field,
then leave the bags on six doorsteps.