540 - Domesday Woodford

by night this village feels the screech owl’s touch.
it shudders from its first misery
when in Domesday Book seventeen hutches
of houses forded the fritillary

of the budding Cherwell - already
clouded but far from turbid. that river
gets a lot done before steadying
itself to enter the Thames. the shiver

we get all year round is the Spring rising
of that snake’s head flower at the mouth.
those bloody beaks give a surprising
end to the broad-winding journey south.

maybe Iffley is where our first owls die -
blood and water mingled without a cry.

Woodford Halse
22 July 2021