#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!

Poetry

Nova

There are stars.

 

Forming in every moment, every breath,

every beat of a living heart.

Even as one dies, another is born.

But these stars

spend most of their time

invisible —

or perhaps it is simply that we

lack the ability to see them

in our narrow, bittersweet view

of reality; reality

that is only such

because the vast majority believe it

to be so.

Yet if we’re observant,

if we’re true

and if we’re willing to lower our wards

just for the briefest of moments,

these stars can creep in

to our lives

and change our perspectives

at times

when we may think all sight is lost.

And if they’re particularly strong

they’ll never leave.

They’ll be beside you forever,

helping you create your very own star

that in turn

can light their way.

Poetry

Three words

There are times when

I choke back

the words, ‘I love you’.

Not because I don’t mean them,

or I’m afraid.

 

It’s because they are

only words

and no matter how expertly spun,

they will never be able to even come close

to the sensation of having a full heart,

 

the full heart that beats in double time

when it expects you

to walk through the door.

 

The frustrating thing is

that I know your heart

is just as full

and we can feel our love radiate from each other

in everything we do,

 

yet

 

I still want to find this way

of forcing three simple words

into the shape of us

at every chance I get.

Poetry

Doorways

I love to look across at my bookshelves.

I don’t just see slabs of paper wrapped in pretty pictures,

or titles on spines acting as identities.

 

I see doorways.

 

I see vines of words reaching out to tangle around my arms and drag me in,

whether to another world entirely,

or to a part of my own brain that I’ve never greeted before.

 

Even after I close the book

once my ticket there is spent,

I know I can use it as a wedge to return to that place.

 

A place where I will always find a home

or a friendship,

a truth, a discovery

and sometimes

even family.

 

Poetry

Close by

It’s in the subtle spark as you look at me,

the shadow of a grin,

unsure, nervous, hopeful.

When the group hugs goodbye,

and ours lasts just a fraction longer than everyone else’s.

Standing closer each day, unspoken,

but unable to go unnoticed

by either of us.

It’s in the reach of my hand

and the answering touch of yours.

It’s there when our fingers lock together.

Solid, at last.

 

 

Poetry

Ripples

A ripple in a glass of water

can never leave the glass.

Yet if the glass ever cracks,

the water can push against it,

working away to force an opening.

Even if the gap it makes is only

wide enough for a trickle to escape,

sometimes that trickle is all that’s needed.

Seeping across the table,

weaving its way through discarded cutlery,

crusted salt and pepper pots

and past dusty, fine china plates

to the edge, where droplets form

ready to drip into the dry soil

filling the plant pot below.

The fresh seeds lying in wait

beneath the surface

will finally get

their spark of life.