Sounds of the road niggle at our backs,
shaking the illusion that we’re in the wild.
But I can ignore it, for a time.
Tonight, eagerness fills me:
We’re out after dark! What creatures will we see?
New torch in hand, I creep along,
ears honed to each whisper of leaves,
each disjointed splash
from the regular gurgling of the stream alongside us.
Light swings to the area; I temporarily summon the sun.
Feathered ferns sprawl from the ground, young maples at their sides.
Bramble, ivy, a fallen oak with spindly fingers of fresh growth.
And everywhere, single strands of glossy spider silk
stretching up, up,
like Rapunzel’s hair if she were given a sudden electric shock.
Too thirsty to care that our heads are turned its way,
a rat breaks through the foliage to sip its fill.
Yet aside from that, nothing else ventures near.
Nothing calls. Nothing chitters.
Have we walked into a void?
Is the fog, inching in so quietly,
dampening the area’s breath?
Or is the traffic hum, with its heart-thudding sirens,
too much for all but the boldest to come?
My fingers stiffen in the cold, clutched around the torch handle.
Massaging them awake, the light shifts position
and momentarily decorates my vision with spots.
I click the thing off.
Ink moves in around us. The night sighs
and spills with life.
This poem is part of my #52weeksofnaturepoetry project to raise funds for UK wildlife charity RSPB and to encourage an appreciation for nature. If you enjoyed it, please consider sharing it and/or donating to the RSPB via my Just Giving page here.
Help keep wildlife wild.