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Ian Pople

The sun was tucked behind the visor
as I was driving back from work;
the road reached round from house

to house. A horse was grazing
an out-of-season cricket pitch.
They were leading sheep down

to the reservoir; hooves slipped
from the bank to crumpled sky; fleecy heads
bobbed out towards the middle.

The parish boundaries widen
every year; another heart attack,
another priest who’s irreplaceable,

whose altar glides to silence.
And half a mile below the crinkly spine
of England, a couple leg their boat

and feel, from the neighbouring tunnel,
the pulse of a train tearing
towards the whole of Europe