#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

Take off

My wings spread, feathers brushing the dust away from the flight path. Goggles down, I cast my gaze ahead and jump. Wind tears at me; a gale. It flurries up, causing my momentum to surge off course. The tick of the second hand on my pocket watch counts the moments I plunge down — the sound a boom, cannon blasts in my head. The updraft catches me in her firm hold, clasping me tight against her bosom, correcting my flight. She deposits me on the take off platform where I started, urging me to try again. We all have to fly by ourselves at some point.

Poetry

Slumber

We wouldn’t all fit in a bottle, some of us would

inevitably come tumbling back out the moment

the stopper was loosened. Flowers

of certain bushes only bloom at night,

so only those few who stumble, wakeful,

alive, at that hour, may appreciate them.

Are you tired? Have you ever been more awake?

A simple mark of spilled ink

will never erase a broken heart.

Poetry

Clouds with Wings

I stroll down the path,

well trodden, like the ones

your feet automatically follow even when you’re not thinking where you’re going and suddenly find

a sharp turn;

you’ve arrived at your destination.

Yet this time,

I turn and find myself not

at the big, towering structure of work,

but stepping onto a white fluff

that spreads great feathered wings and lifts me up

high.

The wind whips my hair around,

obscuring my vision,

then it clears and I’m chasing dandelion seeds

across the skyline.

A V of birds passes nearby,

I wave at them,

wishing them luck in their new land.

My winged cloud plummets;

I wonder where it might stop.

It doesn’t stop at all.

The ground rushes up, but I pass through it

into a dark, warm cocoon

of blankets and hot water bottles.

I realise I’m holding my breath.

I release it, along with my cosy shield

and find my feet

have stopped

right where they should.