Mother to Mother

It’s surprising how often one or two words can spark a whole poem. In a workshop, I was encouraged to think about or research some wonderful words to do with the shore. It was actually the words “chert and flint” which sparked this poem – and no, they’re not a pair of 1970s detectives, they’re the materials found in pebbles such as these in Seatown, Dorset.

The resulting poem, “Mother to Mother” is told in the voice of that great mother, the sea. She is speaking to a human mother, who may or may not be me. 😉

Beach at Seatown, Dorset

Mother to Mother 

At my shore, where you are drawn to grow lighter,
I load my spring currents with new stones to shine.
I grab steely chert,
pale flint with pleasing speckles,
nuggets of crumby sea-wall.
They are mine. They are mine.

As you lift your teary son from his waterlogged wellies,
you smile at how weighted his jacket now is
with stripey-lined feldspar
and palm-ready axe-heads:
soothing jewels to line his bed with.
They are his, they are his.

Some days, I admit, I take swipes of red cliff-mud,
with or without a caravan thrown in.
But I am a caretaker,
a guardian of mixed treasures.
I smooth jagged edges.
We are kin, we are kin. 

This poem was first published by Reach Poetry (Indigo Dreams Publishing).

The workshop that inspired this poem was run by the very inspiring Anna Saunders.

Photo by me, at Seatown in 2021. One day later, the cliff you can see behind the rocks collapsed in an enormous landslip, hence the “swipes of red cliff-mud”. The boy on the rocks belongs to me 😉

 

 

Nettle

Ah, nettles. August walks wouldn’t be the same without these special friends would they? Grrr.

Stinging nettle

Nettle

Nettle…
after the apocalypse,
you, with your pain suit and your stealth roots
will survive –
a zig-zag scrap of hope
(at least for the butterflies).
But, though I know you to be
a sleeping saviour,
unwavering in the face of eco-calamity,
I still loathe you.
Viscerally.

There you stand, waist-high,
all shouty trousers,
the glad-swaggering big I,
your two-bit tendrils lunging brashly –
just an overgrown irritant
acting rashly.

And beside you,
the dreary dock leaves
paddle-faced and dead-eyed
clutch their scout badges tight and simper:
We’re really VERY sorry.
Come, crush our worthless bodies
to ease your blisters.

 

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Image by analogicus from Pixabay

Blooming

Bang!

This week I have been mostly… blowing up all the pretty flowers! Or rather, they  have been blowing themselves up in some sort of petal-strewn apocalypse. This poem featured on the lovely blog The Wombwell Rainbow this week, but I thought I’d share the fireworks here too.

Blooming

A celandine went first,
and if we had ever looked, we would have known
it was a freeze-frame of a live firework,
we would have expected
the violence that sparked from the inside out,
the heat petalling sweetly,
each stamen springing a hellmouth.

A rose caught,
thorns spitting pop-pop-pop from the stem,
the leaves crisping, and as an afterthought,
the buds, like charged kisses,
lipped the flames to ragwort and vetch.
An oxeye daisy burst,
white-hot in its eagerness.

We dialled nine-nine-nine,
we called the press, but our words burned away,
and as day bloomed into evening time,
the honeysuckle, its lashes
glowing in the last light of the sun,
tipped a long wink to Venus
and blew like an H-bomb.

 

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Artwork by Thomas Suisse on Pixabay.