Daybreak In the wood. Gloom still lies,

wrapped in sheets of silence.

A turn reveals, however, how light is held

in a tide-wash of bluebells.

So, after all, the painter has dipped

her brush into a pot of light.

Through the gate, out of the wood,

and she has given field grass

a thick layer of full-on green,

and dabbed butterlight

onto primroses by the hundred.

A field away

she's taken a bright post-office red

to the van that purrs along

to hazy distances.

Later, the lettering shines

on the sign 'Beware of Trains'

and there are splinters of sunlight

on the rails.

But what of the beating sun itself, the larger falls of it ?

There it is now, caught afloat

in the shimmer of the canal,

a flung brand shaken,

where a breeze strokes water's mirror.

See how ducks glide here

on shifts of silver. When they go

they laugh a croaky laugh under the bridge.

The painter has not left out

the narrowboats either -

bottle-green, claret, corn gold,

they chug, sedate,

and gleam proud.

But all this will be cancelled, soon enough.

For there are many shades of dark

between dusk and jet,

and the painter has them all.

A steady hand, a brush dipped in nightfall...

Chris Allan