Ambresbury Banks

Early March, after weeks of rain:
between a young oak’s leggy roots,
a cushion of dun, desiccated leaves.

Shadows of other trees all point
towards me like the black lances
in Uccello’s Battle of San Romano.

I sip hot coffee from my flask,
taste that old feeling of refuge.
This is a worn, muffled landscape

but time’s a malleable thing
on an Iron Age island.
A girl and boy are play-fighting

on the eastern rampart below.
Sounds of stick on stick reach me
within a heartbeat of each strike.

Through the mist of morning fires
their shrieks could be any child’s shrieks –
they could be wearing rabbit furs.



Michael Shann is a member of the Forest Poets stanza and has had three pamphlets published by the Paekakariki Press. He is currently working on a collection of poems about Epping Forest. Michael works for the charity Carers UK.