The runway ran its barren mile of asphalt
then gave where a gravel pit had stolen the end:
a swan sailed like a model, bank to bank
then halfway back again,
and water boatmen stop-started at the edge.
Two mallards winged across, wheeled over the reeds,
engaged their stubby-footed landing gear,
and yapped for scraps or seed
we hadn’t brought. There was little else round there
but darkening sky, then the hungry alarm of thunder.
She nodded at our dot of car – “Shall we?” –
then marched downrange. I always followed her.
This article appears in the 26 Feb 2020 issue of the New Statesman, The death of privacy