#52weeksofnaturepoetry, Poetry

#52weeksofnaturepoetry Week 20 – Ladybirds and Harlequins

A red pin rests on a board of greenery, tucked in so snug it can only be seen from a certain angle; by chance, that’s where I’m standing. The breeze rattles the branches as I stoop to identify:

Is it? Could it be?

Cherry wing casings, dark head, three black dots on either side, one split between. A true seven-spot!

Years have passed since I’ve seen any in person (though they peppered my childhood generously), and yes, perhaps I’ve been particularly unlucky until now, for they are about. But often, they’re shunted aside by rowdy bullies, such as the non-native harlequins.

While just as striking, the harlequins guzzle and gulp down aphids all day long. Voracious eaters, they leave little to spare, and our humble ladybirds regularly find themselves wanting – and then where do they go?

I’ve heard they stay in bug hotels, grand establishments set up in wild gardens. Surrounded by local species; glorious bushes, trees, shrubs; these little havens sound delightful, the perfect places for a touch of respite.

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!

#52weeksofnaturepoetry, Poetry

#52weeksofnaturepoetry Week 17 – First Sighting

My cheeks are pink; the wind delights in pinching them as we push against it, determined to reach the quayside. Overhead, spilled milk decorates the sky. No heavy rain clouds in sight, yet droplets defiantly needle through the air, fine prickles at first, then heavier.

We huddle under the bridge, watching black-headed gulls (wearing their winter plumage, aside from a few brave individuals) circle and dive as a family attempts to offer the ducks afternoon treats. The ducks barely get a look in and the pigeons, ever wisely, stay well away until the screech retreats and they can pick at the crumbs.

Something large torpedoes along the river, leaving its shadow dancing on the surface. Charcoal wings outstretched and neck long, beak kissed with hints of orange; this pinch of midnight is magnificent against the gulls’ luminous whites and soft greys. A mirage, I wonder? A trick of the eye?

Later, I consult my bird guidebook: a cormorant, it says. Warm sparks ignite in my chest at the discovery – to my knowledge, it’s the first I’ve seen. Pulling the memory close, I clutch it like treasure and mount the scene lovingly in my mind-album, there to look back on whenever I need to.

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, sport-style 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!

#52weeksofnaturepoetry, Poetry

#52weeksofnaturepoetry Week 12 – Not So Grave

The stones are leaning, broken, face down. Grass hides the boundaries but also shelters little pockets of shoots. Snowdrops. Daffodils. Soon a clump of crocuses or two. Arthritic trees pop with new growth; tendrils sprouting straight from trunks, left to thrive and wild despite the careful manicuring of shrubs and hedges elsewhere on the plot. Buds collect on arms like dew, promising, teasing: soon, soon. Branches wave, collecting birdsong with the same enthusiasm as dry earth awaiting rain. The birds themselves are tiny, specks of brown-grey, black, yellow-green, and blue; mingling and chattering on, heedless of the slumbering residents grinning up at the daisies.

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, sport-style 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

Sorting Hat

A name is simply a thing to be called. It doesn’t define you. Doesn’t own you. Doesn’t always fit. If you want, you can hide behind it. Be just a name, a name with no face. Be a mask, a separator of lives. One name for a close relationship, another for those that are distant. Barely associates. A name can change over time. It isn’t a static thing, once decided, there forever. It is fluid, changing as often, or little, as you like.

Poetry

An evening stroll

We have our cast of characters now; moorhens, geese, gatekeepers, holly blues. There, a twitch of whisker, a puff of white cotton-tail. The wind bending the rushes with a twist of its little finger. Can you feel the scene being set? The water ripples as a pair of ducks land. A mouse runs across my boot and moths fly up as I shake their precious hiding places with my clumsy tread. Light gleams over, giving my hair fire. My cheeks are pinched red as evening sets in.

Poetry

Feathered Things

In the woods on a blue moon night sits an owl, who given the correct password, leads to a tired old raven, wise in many things and many ways. I ask it why the silence is always so painful, why the white waiting room that goes on forever is still never vast enough to contain that feeling. It replies; because if it were not so, we would never appreciate when the silence ends.

 

Poetry

In this light

It’s easy staring out into the dark. Turning away from the cries, the smoke, the sound of a full room discussing the wonders of brick while wood burns only a few feet away. The darkness quiets me. Lulls me into a soft sleep, intent on making me think I can forget. My dreams wage war for eternity.

Poetry

Uncorked

Black swirls on the brain. Links opening to catch stray ringlets of thought that otherwise would spring as solar flares from the mouth; raw, dangerous, too bright for most to look at. Stacked, formulated, ready for processing. That’s how they want it. That’s how they accept it. Are you sure? What if the sun needs to flare?

Poetry

Next, please.

Crafting, a menu that extends to the farthest craters of the moon. Drawers inside of boxes, containing tiny keys – silver, brass, gold. Locks in high places, just out of reach, tucked behind ears for later thinking. A pot of molten language, sifting, bubbling, evolving. Curses turn to common tongue, tongues that cease to pause and hear. Words tiptoe away down to the shadows.