Friday, July 26, 2013

A Knowledge of Meadows

This poem was written after a walk near Dronfield in Derbyshire. It has gone through various versions but I am very happy that it has now been published in Artemispoetry Issue 10, selected by the wonderful Anne Cluysenaar. Artemispoetry is a bi-annual magazine of women's poetry, articles and reviews published by Second Light in London - I love it!

A Knowledge of Meadows

Site of Special Scientific Interest,
a sign had said, evoking fences, 
closure, inspections. Not this
damp muddle where air is heavy
with the breath of meadowsweet,
unruly above betony, darts of orchid,
sparks of ragged robin,
hoary willow herb, bloody spears
of sorrel, rock roses: a holy hash
of Flora’s things, half hidden
by high hazel already speckled
with pea green clusters
the milk teeth of nuts.

That’s a native small-leaved maple
and an airy space of aspens whispers
over a hollow at the bottom of the field.
I feel a marsh of past meadows
in me; shift through mist to bogs
of marigolds and lady’s smock,
and rushes we’d peel all the way 
to school, not knowing that before 
schools began, their wicks
lit the lamps of history. 

Now, framed in a gap in hawthorn,
lake bright, pale as bulbs:
a group of ponies, all the colours
of summer clouds. Their backs are bare
horizons, their bellies, globes. 
Muzzles lift curiously, manes
raise question marks as they swerve
towards me, and noses nuzzle me,
hot with scientific interest.

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