whilst you are surrounded by snowdrops here it is only snowfalls as the ice age of arcadia takes hold, threateningly for good. the ponds are ice soup and the riverbank has gone, washed away by one cold brown onslaught. the heath is more glass than grass, more water than walks. arcadia is not in aspic it is in ice. even the afternoon sunshine is a mirage, the doorway back into the wardrobe is nailed shut, we are lost, we are narnia forever. the rod rings iced up, the silk line snapping in the wind. rumours of pike growing beyond record size abound as do rumours of people seen fishing in places where the temperature sneaks above a single degree. but they are only rumours. there are more empty pegs than occupied swims as the bream cough settles like a bad weather front over the valleys and tempts the blind man to draw red crosses on front doors. birdsong deceives in the early morning as frost is scattered by the snap of roller doors on house clearance vans and totters search the bags of rags for single fen skates and fur capes. firewood is the new currency, traded in alleyways and hidden by tarpaulins in secret hollows. behind crittall that creaks in the dead of night under moons never brighter the forgotten parts of london shiver and in caravans down lanes by the vale of health black smoke puffs out from wood burning stoves. but fish we shall! if not within days within weeks, before the axe of march 14th falls, before the first primrose pokes its head above the earth and we no longer check the diesel in the morning.
the last of the rations on the birdtable