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This lovely lane is now a trough of darkness
Filled with phantom murmurings from
Shadows in the whispering gloom.
Gone is the fragile beauty of the ragged hedge,
The airy clouds of old man's beard
And fronds of honeysuckle decked with ruby seeds.
The black-bead berries on the ivy vines
Are swallowed in the blind obscurity of moonless night,
And Lacy branches in the bordering copse
Loom dense and black against the starless sky.
Eyes that can pierce the darkness watch me guardedly
And little crouching bodies stiffen in alarm.
Alert for danger, poised for camouflage,
The watchers test the air with every sense.
The rustlings and the sleepy chirrups cease.
The murmerings and the movements in the grasses still,
As anxious ears strain through the dark for my intent.
The night owl swoops beyond the copse and calls
His mate, A gentle sigh sweeps through the trees
And furtive feet pursue their interrupted way.