by Martin Rowson
Each night they tied a fresh balloon to
A fence post in the field.
You could see them from the by-passed old coast road,
A bouncing pinprick beyond the nettles
Each balloon the same dull colour as
The last one, pukish ochre,
But each day with new words scrawled on its paunch.
The words came clumped in phrases of three words
In large and childish letters,
Illegible to the rare, far off and speeding traffic
From across the scrub and cowpats,
Whereas the kine and sheep and creatures of the soil
Clearly cannot read.
Daily, a fresh balloon's there nonetheless.
The harvest mice and corncrakes speculated
This is an angel's lung,
Opaque inside from layers of caked mucus, a
Mysterious gift of hope from God.
Some bank voles scoffed. A porcupine's insides,
They swore. The earthworms laughed.
Although yellow the balloons smell faintly malty.
On windy days the balloons thrash in seizure;
Flop limply when the sun shines;
Drum meaningless staccato freeform riffs
During summer cloudbursts,
Deflating slowly through the long, dull afternoon
Into shrivelled condoms
Pierced with petty uselessness and protection against nothing