Iain Britton


Re-entry, via Breugel’s ‘Summer in a Wheatfield’


Each summer I come again, fully formed, my

body white and unfreckled, smudged with hair

in all the right places. The same paddock

glistens in the sun, the same cows splash about

in the grass, the same work-darkened family

cuts its livelihood from the dirt. I belong here and

I don’t. I understand them and I don’t. They

treat me deferentially,


as if I were someone special – a butcher,

baker, a candlestickmaker. They 

share food with me, tolerate my intrusiveness, the

way I pick holes in the scene of their sweaty bucolic

toil, pick holes in the sky, at the dry pastoral paint. I

flick off flakes of history and

roll in a wheatfield with a woman smelling of cheddar

and bread. We make love in several languages. Boys


play marbles. Men sneeze chaff. The Virgin (and

each village has one) appears incandescently under a

tree. She shimmers like leaves trapped in a wind gust –

the mother of the unborn, the unfruited. The family

place flowers at her feet for her to eat. Each summer, I

live in this unaltered state. I assimilate it completely,

ingest it like a delicacy. I come here, the tattooed youth,

muscles packaged around strong bones, my body paint


glistening. The picture never changes. Crows

peck at the wheat, at the dug up grubs. They follow

our shadows and leap in and out. They squabble

and tear off strips of darkness. I

turn from the sun in a second, in a minute, in

three months. I turn and the world’s window cracks

from the death-defying dive of one more

time-traveller successfully home.



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Sentinel Poetry (Online) #43  - June 2006. ISSN 1479-425X

The International Journal of Poetry & Graphics...since 2002. Editor: Amatoritsero Ede

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