“Come then, for the incomparable views alone
will take your breath away.” He handed the strap
with binoculars to add to the sack on my back;
we booted up, filled flasks, wrapped sandwich bags,
turned to Polaris..

“For this is Eden, this is England,”
he enthused, barely losing a breath as we crossed
field after field until by the beck, after the spinney
he pointed.“That rise will give us view to Eden itself.
Come then…”

I tramped slowly after, unused to such sights,
blessed the brief tree shade, heard a meadow pipit’s
help-cry, a triple pheet, but over stone walls
we moved through tangled sphagnums and sedge
rising up.

Gritstone shards flecked the way. Muddy
we squelched on darkening ground.
He shouted, having reached the rise.
I took out my binoculars to view
Eden clear

but all I saw was a gibbet, halters on the ground,
and a flesh-bitten fleece on bones
swaying slightly in the breeze.
This cannot be England, I thought.

© Jeffrey Loffman