Here the county lies in an old skin
shedding hops, apples, sweetened air
blowing blossom and spores, the scents
of earth turned from season to season.
In the county archives maps unroll
their old boundaries, parish by parish
tithe by tithe, where orchards are named
in hundreds for the conservator to explore
inch by inch. She rubs across them slowly,
peeling years of dust and soil,
masked against the apple-breath of fungus
spread by cookers, eaters, ciders,
Slack-ma-girdle, Forest Styre, Redstreak,
Pig’s nose Pippin, Bastard Rough, Foxwhelp
Ten Commandments, Cwmmy Crab, Garter,
Crimson Quoining, Gennet Moyle, White Must
ingrained in the vellum.
Here the county lies on an old skin
shedding apples from an air possessed
by the scents of centuries.