First the ears, and then the head,
popping up in quick succession
from the tall grass.
Like the radar of bats,
that sensitive he was
to the brushing swish of
slightly sticky Queen Anne’s Lace.

Poor little thing,
so startled in his hollow,
not expecting human kind
in the early evening.
I was the tortoise,
slow, lumbering,
crushing, not bending, the grass
in dogged determination to reach the gate.

But he did not care to run.

For as I came round the corner, I saw
that there was not one,
but two.
And now bred to being English
I averted my eyes
and murmured something about the weather.