#52weeksofnaturepoetry, Poetry

A Swift Tale – #52weeksofnaturepoetry Week 30

Grassland melts into rock, sand:

a cocktail of pollen and seaweed

churning with the waves.

Splitting the heady air, bullets

of sooty brown feathers

zoom overhead,

changing direction with speed and accuracy

like no other.

I have an inkling

of who these daredevils are,

with their scythe-shaped wings and forked tails,

yet it takes a second sighting,

snatching up as many details as I can

in the split second

it takes for them to pass by,

to be sure.

Swift in nature, not just name;

never lingering, rarely settling –

lives lived on the wing.

Eating, sleeping: all of it

performed while facing the wind.

Yet there is one thing

incompatible with flight,

and it is this

which called them from Africa

back to our blustery shores:

nest building season.

Days filled with locating safe sites,

or returning to spaces

already trusted and true:

eaves of old churches,

hole-riddled roofs, sea cliffs, and crags.

Then, time for building and spring cleaning;

no preparation too much

for new arrivals.

Developing quickly, the young

will become eager, itching

to make their first journey.

Like their parents before them,

off they’ll go days after fledging,

enjoying the company of peers.

Ready to spend months

south of the Sahara, chasing rains

that surge insect populations –

plenty of food

on which to grow strong.

[Swifts are at risk of losing valuable nesting sites due to refurbishments and modern building techniques. To help them, special nesting boxes can be placed up high – somewhere accessible from the wing, so not anywhere low to the ground. These nest boxes can be found on the RSPB website linked below]

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, social 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!

(You can also become a member of the RSPB and support them month to month. Members receive Nature’s Home magazine and seasonal guides for what to look out for when out and about. Details are on their website.)

Poetry

Three trees

Arms outstretched, chest up

arched like the curve of a crescent moon,

the train of her long moss gown

sinking deep into the leafy mulch.

 

The light catches between its arms,

a diamond sparking in the rainbow wood.

Long legs fold into a bench,

fit for the white dusting of the sky.

 

He crouches into a ball, the circle

his body makes a seeing stone, a hole

for all to gaze through, penetrating the distance

to the other side. The trees wave back.

Poetry

Berry Scrumping

We gather them nightly,

lip-smacking juices running down my chin.

You look like a vampire

you say, equally so.

We laugh as the moon cackles down at us

and goose pimples rise

up over our exposed skin.

 

On our way home,

hands weaved together, close,

more support than affection,

you slip your mask back over your face

hiding the pinkish stains from the world.

Hiding our sweet indulgence

even from  yourself.

 

 

Poetry

Wiped clean

There are times I look up and find the sky absent. The screen is off, no background to display. My hands immediately try to find the power button, encased in cardboard boxes filled with drippings of life. I suspect moisture is making the circuit trip up like a gangly teen with flapping shoelaces. But I can never bring myself to tear out the heart to have a look. Maybe I’m just too soft. Or maybe, there’s actually a part of me that enjoys the absence overhead.

Poetry

Evaporate

Engines chug away

propelling the clouds into new positions

that people read

as sacred teachings.

Oblivious

to the mechanics behind their prophets.

Those maintaining the perpetual motion

no longer speak or hear

in a common tongue.

Language

is lost to them now.

Poetry

A pensive hound

Snug and warm,

a mass of fluffy black fur

to rest my head against;

my bright-eyed, wet-nosed mentor

lounging in the shade

behind discarded tins of fence paint.

 

A lolling tongue

hangs from her mouth

as she looks up at the sky,

watching a flock of birds ark and swoop,

they dip their wings to her

as they pass by.