Sunday, 25 September 2011


it is an autumn evening bathed in sunlight
i am standing in the central reservation
of a busy dual-carriageway
the cars speed by in a blur
i have reached my favourite spot
under a broad horse chestnut
i stoop to conquer
or rather to collect conkers
dropping them into a large bucket
which i have brought along for the purpose
there are so many that i can afford to be choosy
taking only the freshest shiniest largest specimens
many are still encased in their shells
which yield easily under the gentle pressure of my boot
to reveal the ripened treasure hiding within
the browns vary from a warm mahogany to a dark teak
but it seems that the farther i wander
the larger the conkers become
each shell i crunch profers an ever fatter nut
behind me new shells rain down from above with a loud thud
it is as if they cry out
as they are offer themselves to the mad collector
the open-mouthed expressions
of passing motorists and their gawping passengers
seem to reflect my amazement
then suddenly the scene cuts, film-like
and i am watching myself
as if through the eyes of a vicarious motorist
who has pulled in at the roadside
i am spreadeagled across the broad trunk of this fertile horsechestnut
desperately trying to protect her from danger
a group of bedraggled men advances grimly towards me
axes in hands
the tree shudders as an axe rises high in the sky
then all is blackness

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