The garden creaks. We do a round,                                       

checking for hedgehogs, feel the snow                                   

slide off our sweaters. Back in bed,                                       


this glare keeps me awake –

harder than moonlight, trees adrift.

The sky stays foreign, sepia-pink,

snaps crusts, shifts dunes,


turns grass to grainy beach – brings cormorants,

Atlantic breakers and compacted sand,

pelicans flying high. Those holes

were made by silver crabs; and here

stand oystered mangroves where the egrets land.


You sleep, I dream. Our garden fills

with angels’ shadows, angels’ wings.


As though the stilts weren’t enough,

the distant dip of flamingos,

or the godwits and sanderlings

stood in their silver strips –


just as we have to head back

to the airport, the sky fills

with storks, slow swirls

over the Souss, all those legs

lowered for landing. I pull

my fleece on tighter, breathing in

through sun-scoured skin – my lips

almost too chapped for a grin.

The Run

She had hoped for a hare.

Just one, something fast and mad,

ripping the moon-damp fields,

a thumper like herself.


Instead, after half an hour,

when her sneakers were soaked,

and the mist had dropped

like a bowl over Cherbury Camp,


muntjacs stepped out of the cloud;

paused for a moment, scarcely parting

the pearl and mushroom air; then ran

in trinity towards the copse.


Annette Volfing is Professor of Medieval German Studies, Oriel College, Oxford. Her poems have appeared in (or are forthcoming in) Magma, The Interpreter's House, Other Poetry, The Oxford Magazine, Snakeskin, Neon, Ink Sweat and Tears, Smiths KnollSentinel and Antiphon.

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