#52weeksofnaturepoetry, Poetry

#52weeksofnaturepoetry Week 22 – Chattering

Some say

trees speak to each other,

whispering pasts and presents our kind cannot comprehend.

These tales were woven as folklore, myth

but

keen minds have been at work

to research, ponder, analyse.

Their findings? Remarkable things.

If a tree is starved, its neighbours sense its desperation

and pass along nutrients to sustain it.

Their network of doing so is a curious one – fungus, they employ.

A phone line

of fungus which latches on to roots

and connects them to others.

In return,

a small percentage of sugar food must be paid.

Typical service charge.

Warnings can be given, too.

Of drought, pests, disease.

With the time

these messages bring, the collective

can change its behaviour.

Each sapling, each grandparent,

altering, slightly, to protect themselves.

In China, a bright green flower –

picked often for its herbal properties –

grew tired of the picking.

Plucked at again and again.

So it bloomed duller, then duller still,

until it matched its surroundings.

Hidden, protected

from eager hands.

Aerial footage, sped up

enough for us to discern the goings on,

shows a forest’s movement.

How each tree sways, branches linking

then parting,

trunks leaning first this way, then that.

Not unlike brain activity,

synapses pulsing with signals,

leaves drifting between.

Watching this slow progression, I wonder

if Tolkien was on to something.

Maybe trees and other plants can talk, but,

like Entish,

the delivery of their words is not

for the impatient.

This poem is part of a project I’m doing to raise money for the RSPB, a UK wildlife conservation and protection charity. Being autistic, nature is often my only place of solace, and I want to do all I can to protect it. As I’m not very comfortable around other people, most of the standard ways of helping out (volunteering, ‘traditional’ fundraisers etc.) were not a good fit for me, so I came up with #52weeksofnaturepoetry, where I have to post a nature poem here on this blog each week for an entire year without fail.

If you’d like to help, please share this poem to encourage others to take joy in nature, and if you have the time and means to donate, you can do so here. Let’s help keep our wildlife wild!

Poetry

Unnecessary measurements

If we were to measure each other out as ingredients on silver scales,

the balance would be so perfectly held

it would look like the scales had rusted solid.

Then we’d spend all afternoon discussing why scales

with such precise measurements

are unnecessary for the conversion rates of our brains,

shooting off into zesty tangents

until we finally agree that the setting sun is a sign

we should stroll off and get some sleep.

Poetry

Ladies, please!

‘Ladies, please

the patient needs her rest,

stop bothering her with these trivial things!’

 

‘It’s not our fault, madame, she’s doing it herself.

She won’t sit still

no matter how many tasks she completes

 

I’ve never seen anyone procrastinate from resting!’

The maid bustled over to the weary girl perfectly

content in organising her affairs.

 

‘Now madame says you must retire to your bed

so please consider, for my sake,

to lay down your head

or at the very least

 

settle down with a cup of tea

and observe the birds flitting about the trees.’

 

The girl raised her head,

considering her brain’s suggestion,

and ignored it once again.

Poetry

Hubbub

Hubbub.

Who’s listening?

 

Chatter, natter, prattle

Prat.

 

Screens in our face, over our eyes

in our minds.

Siding with popular opinion,

shying away from engaging that hungry engine, the brain.

Work them, encourage them

steam-powered as they may be.

 

Quiet, I crave.

 

No, they sing.

We need the noise, need the buzz,

need the bright lights and sweat and alcohol

and neon screens

to feel normal.

 

Normal?

What is normal

but a falsity of who you are

trying to resemble

the falsehood of others.

 

Hubbub.

Who’s listening?

Chatter, natter, prattle

Prat.

 

Quiet, I crave.

Independent thinking, I urge.

Eccecentric. Weird. Outcast, they sing.

 

Poetry

Mind Games

When you think of a brain –

all those fleshy, pinkish

folds, a bit like the goo

from Ghost Busters 2 –

do you ever see the star map inside?

All those electric connections

zig-zagging their way

across the galaxy

(no, not the chocolate bar,

tempting as it is).

Can you feel each little jump

from synapse to synapse,

like Mario in invincible mode?

I don’t all the time. But

sometimes I do, and I wonder

if that star map is the same as mine,

or different.