#52weeksofnaturepoetry, Poetry

Here, the Dragons – Week 43 #52weeksofnaturepoetry (Fundraising for RSPB)

They’ve a fossil record

dating back

two hundred and twenty million years.

Small, flighty beings

with uniquely faceted eyes.

Zings of colour

punctuating ponds and wetlands,

exclamation marks zipping

from one spot                                                 to the next

as if they possess

the key to portal travel,

hidden somewhere on their slender abdomens

or in the creases

of their complex, veined wings.

Often confused with their damsel cousins,

whose comparatively petite bodies

glitter and spark just as bright.

But here’s a note

for telling these Odonata apart:

when it comes to good rest,

damsels prefer folded wings  –

no need to take up all the room

on those stems.

Though should it turn to a matter

of combat in flight,

you can be sure it’s a dragon;

damsels think little of brawls.

This poem is part of a project I’m doing to raise money for the RSPB, a UK wildlife conservation and protection charity. 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

Hare Affairs – Week 42 #52weeksofnaturepoetry (A fundraiser for the RSPB)

You’re likely to have seen their boxing skills

and zigzagging, daring sprints.

If not in person, then captured

in documentaries and photographs;

zoomed in on amber eyes

and tattoo-tipped lengthy ears.

You may have read about their likenesses,

woven into literature and myth.

But, if you were to ask yourself honestly,

how much do you truly know

about brown hare affairs?

A naturalised species,

harking back to Roman times

(possibly before!),

their litters are often frequent,

up to four wide-eyed leverets each,

never to be found in burrows

but shallow, earthy depressions

nicknamed ‘forms’.

Arable fields, grasses, hedgerows –

a mosaic of hares’ favourite spaces –

let’s not forget woodlands, either,

good grazing on young bark!

And those punch-ups they’re known for?

Not the macho tests you might think;

more a lady making her disinterest quite clear

to any amorous suitors.

So, for these serious-faced fluffy runners speeding up to forty-five miles per hour escaping predators,

keep in mind:

attending everlasting tea parties

isn’t the only thing they do.

This poem is part of a project I’m doing to raise money for the RSPB, a UK wildlife conservation and protection charity. 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

Spy Me A Lizard! – Week 41 #52weeksofnaturepoetry (Fundraising for RSPB)

‘There, on the step!’ you call. Once again, I miss them. But the botanic garden, with its arranged rockeries, cavernous, thick-rooted trees, stone outcrops and glorious hidey-holes, proves to be their ideal home.

My heels calcify, locking me in place as I trace the ground’s grooves and cracks, locating the lizards’ vanishing point. Holding pose, breath light, I’m rewarded by a sandy brown, scaled nose and tiny, gemstone-chip eyes.

Nothing but a pebble to anyone glancing over. Sweet secret solely for us.

And another, bolder. Hopping – no, leaping – from rock to rock, testing each before settling to bask in the noonday sun. Smaller than I imagined, swifter too. A jerky motion up a still tree or scuffle in ground cover; invisible otherwise, unless you already know they’re about.

Eventually, I drag myself on, wary of drawing too much attention to these tiny, tailed ninjas.

Except, discovering an enormous rock pile, I spot a whole fleet of them: dark and tan browns, brilliant, speckled greens, some even wearing turquoise neck chains. Ranging from short as my little finger to long as my palm. Resting in full sight while others watch from crevices, ready to dart if need be.

Or inspect a hand hovering inches away, curious yet guarded – both human and lizard, for neither know quite how to react.

This poem is part of a project I’m doing to raise money for the RSPB, a UK wildlife conservation and protection charity. 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

Kingfisher – Week 40 #52weeksofnaturepoetry (Raising money for RSPB)

Under a tiny bridge

linking the path beside the River Yar

to a nearby copse,

a vision of copper and metallic blue

hovers above the shallows.

Executing a smooth dive,

it re-emerges a blink later,

spraying droplets

back into the current.

Head lifted, it carries its catch

to a secluded stitching of branches.

Almost shyly, this jewel-bird

returns to the bank,

gaze hardly leaving its submerged targets.

Quick preen to set feathers in place,

followed by another dip,

another prize.

An everyday fisherman

doing an everyday job,

but to any spectators,

its skills awaken dormant joy:

a sudden connection with nature –

a sweet, natural high –

so electric

it leaves them applauding

for an encore.

This poem is part of a project I’m doing to raise money for the RSPB, a UK wildlife conservation and protection charity. 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

The Weavers – Week 38 #52weeksofnaturepoetry (A fundraising project for RSPB)

Silks ripple in the breeze,

heavy with sparkling dew;

every droplet

contains a speck of golden sunlight.

These fresh crystal balls

barely cause the tapestries to droop,

yet the intricate strands of each piece

are nearly invisible to the naked eye.

Crafted by master weavers

who calculate and consider everything,

down to the very fibres

best suited

for each section,

such wall hangings are among the best

nature has to offer.

For the overall frame

and anchors,

the strongest thread is used,

swapping to durable reinforcement

spiraling straight to the artwork’s centre.

Inner elements call for sticky coatings

and responsiveness,

enabling vibrations more delicate

than those of the finest tuned harp,

allowing immediate notifications

of newly arrived dinner guests

(or indeed, the main course).

Finally, neat additions of soft, plentiful gift wrapping,

placed here and there, create storage pockets

for perishable goods.

Unless all visitors have…departed,

in which case, the weavers work it

into cosy padding

to plump up their nurseries.

After finishing last-minute touches,

they tiptoe across their tightropes,

lounging at bullseye

or retreating to a nearby leaf

to admire their handiwork from afar.

Caring little

of what other species may think of their creations,

or whether the dew

might prove too weighty – for, of course,

it rarely does.

This poem is part of a project I’m doing to raise money for the RSPB, a UK wildlife conservation and protection charity. 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!

[Apologies for how these poems are formatted. I do write them in stanzas, but WordPress rarely decides to keep them, no matter how much I argue with it.]

#52weeksofnaturepoetry, Poetry

Anguis fragilis: Secretive Slithers – Week 37 #52weeksofnaturepoetry (Raising money for RSPB)

Dusk edges in, tingeing

the toasted sky with rich indigo,

complimenting the petrichor-sweet air.

Responding to this fading light,

gardens clear of boots and digging tools,

tatty footballs, hula hoops,

water pistols,

and saliva-drenched chew toys.

Whispering, Safety announces its arrival;

golden-grey faces appear

from rockeries and log piles,

tongues flick-flicking, sampling opportunity.

Bellies empty, these legless lizards

emerge like streams of liquid metal rippling across the lawn.

Each individual chooses its prey;

some take earthworms,

letting the pink wrigglies touch their nostrils,

roll towards their mouths, even,

before stretching jaws wide

to swallow the creature whole.

Others capture insects, spiders, slugs –

maybe a snail, if up for the challenge –

retreating to cosy hideouts

only when their energy is spent,

resting for the next adventure.

This poem is part of a project I’m doing to raise money for the RSPB, a UK wildlife conservation and protection charity. 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!

[Apologies for how these poems are formatted. I do write them in stanzas, but WordPress rarely decides to keep them, no matter how much I argue with it.]

#52weeksofnaturepoetry, Poetry

Puffarazzi! Week 35 #52weeksofnaturepoetry – raising money for RSPB

Whipped by salt heavy winds,

the photographer pulls their coat collar tight

and crouches low,

becoming landscape;

an unimportant, moss-covered rock

with raw cheeks.

_______________________________________

Camera gripped in restless fingers,

eyes trained on the puffin colony

hard at fishing.

_______________________________________

Snap!

_______________________________________

Lens focused?

Timing right?

_______________________________________

Quick check:

Sizing great, subject clear – but

colourful bill obscured,

clumps of grass

urged into frame by blasts of ice.

_______________________________________

Which unlucky species

did this individual catch?  

What quantity?

_______________________________________

Speculation is fruitless,

mere guesswork never equals

accurate data.

_______________________________________

Back to the trusty tool of trade;

listen, wait.

_______________________________________

Incoming at two o’clock.

Ready for your close-up, eager one?

Steady. Steady. Click shutter…

now.

_______________________________________

Success!

Head perfectly centred,

silver dripping from its bill

in the shape of sand eels;

nutritious prey

for lively chicks.

_______________________________________

Another fine slice of research

ready for analysing.

Citizen science at its finest.

This poem is part of a project I’m doing to raise money for the RSPB, a UK wildlife conservation and protection charity. 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!

The subject of this poem was inspired by Project Puffin, a citizen science project organised by the RSPB to gather data on what foods puffins feed their young and how these have changed over time, in order to determine whether lack of food is one of the reasons behind the steep decline in puffin numbers. Click here to find out more.

[Apologies for how these poems are formatted. I do write them in stanzas, but WordPress rarely decides to keep them, no matter how much I argue with it.]

#52weeksofnaturepoetry, Poetry

Beetle Quest – Week 34 #52weeksofnaturepoetry

Almost as content

in tended gardens and hedgerows

as amongst their favourite homely oaks,

hard-shelled stags wake

alongside May,

discarding worn duvets.

On warm, rich evenings,

the antler-jawed males

venture from protective shrubbery

into the open,

seeking Miss Right.

A quest worth any number of duels,

tough mandibles bashing together,

locked in combat with other eager suitors.

Yet victory celebrations are short;

barely opportunity to enjoy a round of sap

before setting off  –

time does not dally.


Days cool; fair ladies ensure

the new generation

lie protected in suitable nurseries.

All checks complete, they

and their weary knights

make ready for the ultimate rest.

Plump larvae hatch,

feasting on the lifeless wood

their parents chose to house them;

pinning badges of excellence

to their fleshy bodies

for being such good decomposition helpers.

After six years in training,

a lengthy nap is required,

along with a set of armour,

and for some, their experience sprouts

into antlers of their own:

the cycle begins again.

This poem is part of a project I’m doing to raise money for the RSPB, a UK wildlife conservation and protection charity. 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!

[Apologies for how these poems are formatted. I do write them in stanzas, but WordPress rarely decides to keep them, no matter how much I argue with it.]

#52weeksofnaturepoetry, Poetry

Avocets – Week 33 #52weeksofnaturepoetry (Raising money for the RSPB)

This poem is part of a project I’m doing to raise money for the RSPB, a UK wildlife conservation and protection charity. 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!

[Apologies for how these poems are formatted. I do write them in stanzas, but WordPress rarely decides to keep them, no matter how much I argue with it.]

Shallow water waders,

elegant bills swiping beneath the surface

where pockets

of insects and crustaceans dwell.

————————————–

En masse, young fluff balls move in

on eager, clumsy feet,

shyly copying the unique motions

 of chessboard-coloured adults.

————————————–

Undisturbed this time,

unlike the morning’s encounter

with a web-footed trespasser,

audacious enough

to approach the wobbly learners —

a charge (or two) from furious parents

soon inspired adequate distancing.

—————————————

Centuries ago, daring fowls

were not the only ruffians these birds

had to handle.

—————————————

Facing drained wetlands,

marshes converted into farmland,

eggs stolen for breakfast,

feathers used to adorn ladies’ hats

and fashion fishing flies,

they lost everything

————————————-

and vanished

for a hundred years.

————————————-

Then came the sirens, shrieking warnings

of rigid spitting dragons.

Calling for blackouts, hastily built shelters,

and land to be strategically flooded.

————————————–

A ward against opposition, forgotten

after turmoil ceased.

Yet these new wetlands were not dismissed

by everyone.

————————————–

Drawn by their richness, avocets tiptoed back,

pale-blue legs

rediscovering the touch of home.