‘Only us dog-walkers out today!”
She says brightly as she passes.
The Downs are drowned
In a drizzle thick and grey
As battleship paint, and yet,
Yes, here we all are:
My new friend with her King Charles,
Shiny boots and pointless shades,
Two Gore-Texed women with five fizzing
Gambolling round their legs like dolphins
Shadowing ships into a harbour, and a feisty papillon
With a heart and voice ten times his size.
A man, head down, hands deep in pockets,
Trudging the hard track round the field
Like a convict in an exercise yard
With a sofa-fat golden retriever
Wide-eyed, wheezing, at his heels.
Merv and Bailey, Ange and Leo.
Sid and Henry, Pete and Alfie,
And me, with the hunting-dog
In his red coat, smiling at the weather.
The familiar crowd of hardy souls,
All wondering as the rain redoubles
And Sunday yawns, goes back to sleep,
Just who is walking whom.