Once a month they escape the world of tube-trains,
deadlines, traffic jams, to slip on country selves
with their woollen shirts and cement-spattered trousers,
slowing their pace in the time it takes
to break an orange crate into kindling
and fire the stove enough to boil a kettle.
It’s their stone tent, a one-room cottage in the hills,
one step from derelict: gravel levelling
the earthen floor; walls stripped of lath and plaster;
toilet and sink gleaming white in the corner;
a light-fitting rigged to the single socket, hooked
to a ceiling beam dry as an old biscuit.
Each time they advance the house a little bit further,
sanding a casement, stripping the door, screwing
a bracket for a hanging basket to the outside wall.
As the weekend progresses they move in and out
of the path of the phone-mast, mobiles bleeping
to reassure them when they’re back in range.