Wood rogues
In autumn the leaves fell from the hazel wands and the ashpoles, from the elderberries and the oaks, exposing against a drab sky the squirrel dreys and the birds' nests–deserted tokens of hope. Deprived of leafy protection, the forms of the year's failures were shown, hanging starkly and in silence. The flies that had buzzed about the wasted corpses were dead, and only moisture dripped upon them from the bare branches above. Some were green and mouldy, others were hairless and mummified. In places only a whiskered skull–grotesque caricature of life with its empty eye- sockets–hung grinning on a rotting string. Dishevelled crows dangled from other tiers, with sparrow-hawks and kestrels, hedgehogs, rats and poaching cats. This was the gallows-tree of the failures, of the wood rogues, of the beasts and birds unrepentant in life and in death.
Henry Williamson