Boxed fields, drawn square,
packed with barley, wheat, and pasture
patch the landscape like an old family quilt
in block shades of green, yellow, and brown.
The seams of hedgerow and metal fence
running between, holding them tight together.
Tidy, organised, as it should.
A restless shoreline lies below, rolling in, rolling out,
eating up the width of beach in froth and foam
and then retreating back, exposing sand and stone,
slowly shelling aged boulders to rocks,
thinning those to pocket pebbles, to ovals, discs,
skinny, round, and slim, for us to pick
and throw and skim along the surface.
Working, active, never ending.
The waters clash on the cliffs,
harsh spray and rock salt,
yet just above the meadows sway
and drunkenly waltz
to the wind.
We all make little changes
and the world reacts to us.
They ran a fence along the creek
because we kept jumping in,
the corner shop brought back those Russian sweets
to cease our everyday hounding,
and last week I gave a strawberry, large and chunky,
near the size of a tennis ball, to a local squirrel.
Today, in the same park, I found
a very, very fat squirrel.
A hurricane appears, this impatient, brutish weather quickly brews,
It peels tiled roofs, pulls up roots, tugs men out of their boots.
A volcano erupts on his whim, rudely littering skies with ash,
Clogging forests and choking towns.
A storm conjures when it wants, swashing seas, tipping ships,
And the tectonic places shift, aggressive slips,
Collapsing buildings above, toppling markets and stalls,
Cracking streets and breaking schools.
Kind and courteous, the Severn bore is the true gentleman of nature.
He sticks to his regular times in the politest manner,
As if to say, before he casts his two metre waves,
Hurtling them upstream,
“This is what time I’ll arrive.
Please make sure to stay
Out of the water.
I pass through here once a day.
I would stop but I can’t,
So keep safe.”
The Severn bore actually has a timetable – it’s one of my favourite natural wonders, partly for its punctuality!
The smallest bee rallies against
My newly installed double glazed
Windows, thirsty for the pollen,
Wind and sun.
Aren’t we all, my little one.
Opening the sash, I let him free,
With pleasure, ease, watched him bounce
Into the breeze, carried across on summer drifts,
Soaring high, diving low,
The rest of his little, bouyant life,
I’ll never know.
There’s a photograph of three men stood under a tall, redwood tree.
They hold a banner above their heads. In thick, black letters,
It reads: Stop the chop! Keep the giants! Red Rex lives!
Six eyes stare deep through the lens that speak
Determination, resilience and strength.
Although the three men took on their duties,
To wars, to work, to women,
Although the three men returned together,
To friends, to family, to feed,
Although the three men succumbed and fell
To old age, to accident, to cancer,
The grainy photograph remains on my mantlepiece,
And the tree remains the king of the forest.
Not long now –
The weeds and moss already
Break through pavements of concrete
Cracking thick slabs in two,
Garnishing our footpaths.
They are ready to yank the next politician
To walk by, pull them under,
Let them see the roots and seeds
That matter most.