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Posts Tagged ‘ecology’

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GYLFINIR

(The Curlew)

cool morning.
clouds rise.
the curlew calls.
sunlit
is the new horizon.

damp grasses –
fresh green.
sheep in the fields
curlew on the hill.

inner light.
sun slips through
before the rain.
a distant curlew calls.

melancholy joy.
a pause in the rain.
the curlew’s descending call.

perhaps we shall
be forgiven
perhaps, forgotten:
cuckoo and
curlew
in the empty wood,
the flowering field.
sunlight and
shade
on the distant
mountain.

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Into the slow heron lift of it
This stormy morning roar,
Like a city train, rattles roof and windows.

Druid trees with one eye shut
Stand on one leg and let go of nearly everything –
That is what their roots, deep as choirs, allow.

On green meadow and crashing hill
We push against a sting of rain.
Lost, but not lost as the ones by the sea,
Watching the waves eat the shore and the harbours drown
And all the long, safe years melted away
In a wall of water and sound.

It is a patient world, willing always to start again.
A reformulation of parameters, season by season.
What is gone is gone, the autumn trees say.
What is gone is gone, says the storm of grey morning.

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red yellow blue6

KEY SEVEN
(Faerie Travellers)

Cap of invisibility,
Cap of indivisibility.

From whence do the elements separate?
From the instant of central balance.

From what flows the certainty of form?
From the heartbeat between what was
And what will be.

At the corner of sight:
Eyeblink or distant lightning?

What you know will blind you.
The oldest foundations are no longer in sight.
The ancestors watch this world,
All have names, sing their genealogy,
Have woven you.

Sink into the weave,
The world wears you.

Wear yourself lightly
Leaving no footprints.

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SHRUG

Between the noise
Of the ordinary
It slides,
Wrenched voidwards.

We have banished the gods that forgave us.

Fractured sense,
Faith, trust crumbles.
We are bought and sold
Regardless.

Boundaries of hell worlds washed and fogged.

The future pools
Sickening slicks.
By root
We have cursed
Both branch and leaf.

No threat to our reason, no curb to our greed.

With shrugs,
With excuses,
By turning away,
With cowardice,
With arrogance,
We deny possibilities.

We whip on and ride the four horses, the skeletal winds, the wrack and ruin.

Our waste
Fertilises nothing.
We are clean and safe,
Comfortable and righteous.

And I do not trust the dream of flicker, the news of noble gatherings.

Where is there a land
Not soiled?
A path not sullied?

We defecate in the mouths of our children

And see it expedient, economic.
The tyranny unbridled, unbound.
We replace the spectres
So cunningly slain.

The world abandoned
To the demons inside us,
Nor shall we ever be forgiven.
I fear we shall never be forgiven.

—-

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Ash, my tall and graceful one!
My sky-sweeping, rooted one!
Pillar of the upland airs,
Feather-leaved and blowsy one!
May you live forever
On the green meadow,
The cliff-side wood.

May you not decline
With the eastern wind
That blows unwitting death.
It is not hateful, nor malicious,
That small spored thing.
It is itself, longing to live,
Breathing when given space to breathe.
Happy to flourish free.

But all eat the other.
Each food delightful,
A means to be maintained,
And who can dare say
This one form has more need,
More right, than that other?

These hills, sighing open,
Green-pillared with ash and maple.
Sky-open, crow and jackdaw,
Hare and hawk,
Were once oak deep
’til cropped for pit and forge.
We ourselves so keen to scrape
And burrow, scratch and gather up.
Those stone walls now, too,
Broke and deserted, wooded once more.

Our curse in time, our measurement,
Our expectation.
Climbing into the hill country, (warm air,
Cool breeze), time clicks backwards
In increments,
By hours, by days, by weeks,
By months, by years.

Midsummer here
And the hawthorn still heavy,
Chestnut red and proud.
And the stone, the building,
The road, they slip back
To a century, two centuries, ago.
Time slowed in the hills,
Time holding on.
Like the ash, time growing tall
And bending – green time, leaved, roofed.
Time cherished, built up.

Our habitual curse:
A narrow view on time,
A time of coming and going,
A fragment of patterns
Made larger than horizons by life.
A horizon invisible, but for you,
Towering ash, standing
So fair and tall.

Today is enough.
Today is forever.
Weep not for what will be,
What will never be.

The green shadow cools
Down by the Derwent,
A haven for the silk sheen of ducks,
Their quiet chuckling graze in grass.
The goatsbeard turning to sleep at noon.

——


This collected around a journey up north into the Peak District of Derbyshire, the beginning of the Pennine uplands that run up the centre of England to the Borders of Scotland. The highest lands are sparse fields, stone walled, crow-haunted, with windbreaks of sycamore and beech. In the high valleys, steep and narrow, magnificent ash trees grow tall and broad. Here ash and maple (sycamore, great maple) take over from oak as the main woodland species.

Chalara fraxinea is the rather delightful name of the ash dieback fungus, first appearing in the forests of Poland quite a few years back. Since then it has made its way westwards devastating ninety-nine percent of Europe’s native ash trees. Now it has finally reached Britain. There is a slight hope that natural genetic diversity will allow five percent of trees to be resistant. It is very difficult to know what to do in the face of such changes. Life is a delicate, though robust, balance. The rise of one species and the decline of another is due to so many factors, and is part of the way things work here. We may favour the presence of one species over another, but our human view is always prejudiced by our habits and preferences. In the longer view of time, ninety-nine percent of all species that have ever existed here are extinct, and yet it all goes on. Who can say what life-form has more validity than another?

All we can offer is our appreciation for what is around us. Wishing all well. That may be all we can do. It may be the best we can ever do. It may be our sole purpose. To care for. To wish well. To cherish. Each day as it is.

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