#52weeksofnaturepoetry, Poetry

#52weeksofnaturepoetry Week 10 – Living Grave

So many times, I’ve walked past. Seeing but not seeing.

For this giant’s footprint, this decayed and blackened skeleton

has long scuttled from my attention. But now I                  pause.

Vague architecture

ripples into sense:

Steps morph into centuries-old roots basking on the soil’s surface,

the ankle-high wall surrounding a stump-table

melts into remains

of an even larger trunk, worn smooth by time’s fingers.

Five of me could stand inside and still not knock elbows.

I bet

it was Lord of Trees once,

before disease or the elements or man

finally beat it down.

And though the realisation

that I’m hovering within its bones strikes hard,

I don’t mourn for long.

How can I

when this humble grave teams with life?

Fungi, lichen, moss –

they decorate its bark like the echoes of new growth.

Climbers and creepers seek its grain, grasping

it like a helping hand, a boost of support

for their own roots.

And here I am, connected to it all,

part of the quiet bustle that takes place despite winter’s clutch.

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!

Poetry

Flashbacks

It smelt like school this morning.

The first light of the first day of a new school year,

walking down the paved path, satchel in hand, wondering what the day would bring,

what misunderstandings would happen,

what scolding I’d earn for fidgeting or not doing my work

because I didn’t understand yet again.

The other kids, all so at ease, until I try to join in.

They lie to each other, say I’ve stolen this, hogged that,

and not let me play.

Not that I understood how to play, anyway.

But that’s not the point.

When the seasons turn

and give off their scent, that crisp to September air,

it fills my head with these visions

and all the textures, sounds and emotions

that go with them, and even after all these years

I can’t turn them off.

Poetry

Afternoon in an empty park

The sun rests on my eyelids as I lie back,

the woven rope of the round swing-seat supporting my neck and spine

as I sway to and fro,

legs kicking out for momentum.

A cradle I’m rocking myself,

an afternoon whose warm hands soothe me without effort

and the breeze whispering its encouragements in my ears.

So this is what it means to relax.

Poetry

Sycamore

I remember those seeds that used to spin as they fell

catching them in my open palm

and throwing them up again, enchanted by kinetics.

I would liken myself to those seeds, hold out my arms

and spin until the world came to match

the rush of input driving through my synapses.

Because rarely did those sounds, those scents

those constantly moving bodies jostling, jeering,

crashing against me

make sense until my speed matched them.

And if I fell, it didn’t matter.

The ground was always there to catch me,

soft grass cupping my cheek.

Poetry

Comfort Zone

prints in the water

marked out with brown leaves

scurrying colour into whirlwind swirls

 

I can view it from above or below

hold my breath as it swamps into my mouth and ears

as I sink down to the bottom

gazing at the sides

 

and then it drains away

and all I’m left with is the aftertaste

of being suspended in the amniotic fluid of trees

Poetry

Destabilise

I sit at the side of the hill, and watch the people below.

The grass knows me so well

it encourages my skin to take root;

I’m set back, unnoticed.

 

I can breathe for myself.

 

The hill vanishes.

My backside hits

the concrete

hard.

 

My reflection shows a put-out woman.

My heart encloses the child,

overwhelmed by the rushing, raging world.

 

It beats.

Poetry

Muffled

The dark is an enhancer, a honer

Of senses as the ears try to take over from eyes,

Spanning, assessing rushing car lights in the distance,

The rustling of carrier bags against the wall of an old brick shed.

Laughter and the tinkling of bottles as the local lad gang

Stumble home from the pub.

The quickening of your own pulse as you edge away.

The dark is a muffler, a cloak against reason

Even on the quietest of nights.

Poetry

Wave barrier

The hubbub in my ears rumbles through my bones and shakes the foundation I balance on. The conversations of a hundred different people, hiss, snicker, guffaw. Chatter chatter chatter, clinking glasses, scraping cutlery, a band incessantly droning on, light brightening, yellowing, glaring. It’s a wave of sensory input building, building, waiting to crash down and knock me back.

I can beat this, I can hold my ground.

Building my own rhythm, a gentle tap of focus. Constant, repetitive motion. A wall against the wave. My feet start to steady.

I might still get pushed back, but I’ll stay standing this time.

Poetry

Knitted heart

I hold the lines of my heart in my hands.

I stretch them out, red so you can’t miss them,

and splay my fingers so I make a cradle.

Into it you begin to pour yourself,

entangled in this pulsing, beating net

that is me and now you. One. Whole. Us.