At the edge of a place of now

the far edge of the sometimes ditch

Here is a fragment of a ditch that is itself a fragment of the scarce water here and that so often dries to cracked mud by May. I anxiously witness the race for the frogspawn to hatch and grow legs before the water has all gone from its shallow bottom, drunk by the young willows, bull rushes, dogs and the dry thirsty air.

This ditch is now so full and fecund, smelling of rot, calling the frogs to mate. In its near still waters I see shreds of last years rushes, a reflection of sedge from the side, and the part of the flats that were built on the side of this flood plain not long ago. They have suffered so much subsidence they can only be sold to cash buyers. Later I will watch the ditch become a puddle and long for rain, to keep the next frog generation alive in one of the driest regions of Great Britain.

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