Soil has often stained my hands and feet.
But unlike the residue left after holding sticky buns
or picking up used teabags after they’ve rolled off the spoon
and splatted to the floor,
it doesn’t make them feel unclean.
Yet repeatedly, I hear it called dirt.
Such a dull, heavy sound.
Undesirable, wash it off quick.
Barely a thought for what it actually is, or does, or harbours:
Miners. Millers. Munchers.
Decomposition prize-winners, aeration champions, turnover challengers never beaten.
And the fruit of these creatures’ toils
is that this common, brown mix –
yes, this loamy, bouncy, often fudge-like earth –
can refuel itself and chug along
Not lightly does soil
wear the crown of Natural Carbon Sink,
gulping down each course with
the tantrums of rivers
so everything can be still, held in place, secured.
Yet lately its hunger has soured,
its minute workers fatigued and growing scarce.
Hit with pesticides, bad land management and neglect,
every day a sliver more
of its vitality blows away in the breeze.
But we can drip feed it, nurture it,
with innovation and determination
so that maybe, perhaps, possibly,
it’ll rebuild its underground cities and again burst
with diversity and good health.
This poem is part of my #52weeksofnaturepoetry project to raise money for the RSPB . To find out more about the project and how to donate, please visit my Just Giving page here.
Sharing is also much appreciated, as I’m trying to raise as much awareness of our local wildlife as possible. The more people who appreciate nature, the more likely it can be successfully protected.
The RSPB is also running the Big Garden Birdwatch at the end of this month, which you can also do in parks if you don’t have a garden. The aim is to collect data on garden birds to analyse their numbers to see if particular species have declined or recovered since last year’s survey. It only takes an hour, so if you have chance, please do check out the details here.