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The Saturday poem: The Moult

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by Jen Hadfield

Stay out of the sun:
we can all see you. Stop picking fights
above your weight. We've this high

golden bowl of heather and moss
company of whaups and cries and
mutters in the wind; the long

draught of islands

and blinding sea.

Shelter in the hoodoos and pluck
your fur – fine smelt caught on heather
and shining reeds –

ruing it as I do, this flying
gleaming floss snatched back
and spent by the wind.

Freeze when the sunlight hits you

you're not invisible. Scratch off

your dreamcoat of silver money.
Rest downwind in the sun. Run
double-jointed when the valley dims.

• From Byssus (Picador, £9.99). To order a copy for £7.99 with free UK p&p go to guardianbookshop.co.uk or call Guardian book service on 0330 333 6846.


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