“Between two hills, two villages, two trees, two friends/The barbed wire runs which neither argues nor explains”. W.H. Auden.
On a walk to Cissbury Rings on the Downs.
At first I thought it was already dead (to my shame I filmed it, buffeted by the wind), spiked by the knotted barb. When I took it down I found it was still living, weak but warm and its heart still beating. Mad, it seems now, but I started to walk back to town holding it in cupped hands, as though, after a two hour walk I’d find a friendly animal rescue place . . . It died in my hand a short while later.
Even then — is this what death does to you? — when it momentarily started to flutter I thought it must have healed, wanted to be off, free, but, no, it was in its death throes. Something was free, but not the body. I walked up on to Cissbury, I didn’t want to leave it, I was still talking to it, as it got cold and stiff. I laid it down under a gorse copse, at the highest level of the hill. It had been tree creeper.
I didn’t take a photograph.