Running at Briggflatts on Christmas Morning



A firm frost defines the field’s hoof hollows;

the glass sun, drained of strength, blushes.

The Howgills are ice-gold and pummelled, like baker’s dough.


Roads are soundless, footpaths hushed.

Crows squawk just occasionally.

A Cumbrian Christmas morning is a wordless world.


A farmer strides a quad bike, sheepdog on the trailer.

Its ruddy tongue trembling, its hazy breath bulging

like ghostly grey balloons in the day’s true air.


A runner pads past, streak of yellow, gloved but hatless.

His steady pace matches his measured, easy breathing.

His single cough frightens a heron into flight.


Farmer, dog, runner – alive and active on Christmas day;

no other but those among us who demand to be

forever gripped by earth, grasped by sky.

And I nearly forgot:

two lambs were born this Christmas morn.



John Rice


Please note that the poems are copyright John Rice 2014 and cannot be reproduced without the express permission of the author.

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