Monday, 31 October 2016


Part of my new project, "An Alphabet of Flowers"

These leafless trees already resonate with birdsong,
and the April air is crystal cold and crystal clear,
with hardly a breath of wind. I can pick out robin,
great tit, the sudden shouted burst that is the wren;
and I am glad to hear my first chiffchaff of the year.

Yesterday, a late snowfall; here and there a dusting survives,
held in the shade; but I see also new leaves on honeysuckle,
and spring sweepings of celandine and golden saxifrage,
dotted with primroses that shine like pots of gold
where they are caught by the late afternoon sun.

New ferns uncurl their fronds between the tree roots,
and stars of blackthorn twinkle against an old fence.
Midges dance where I kneel to examine wood sorrel,
its flowers pale and delicate; above, a bank rises steeply,
with beneath the trees the rich green of new leaves.

Bluebells: too early yet, I know, to be in bloom,
especially this high on a Welsh border hill -
but I see a few spikes rising above the leaves, 
flowers still tightly budded against the April chill.
I walk on, disturbing a moorhen on the nearby pool.

And there, in a sheltered corner, a single splash of colour,
bright as the blue of my willow pattern service, 
to my eyes exotic as orchids. And the pioneer flowers
release to my prayerful stoop a first whiff of the scent 
that soon will bless all these woods with the spirit of Spring.

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