A bee poem for the 30DaysWild challenge. Also posted to @TopTweetTuesday.


bumbled and brass-banded
buzz-bombasting the borders
humming humble bee hymns
to the honeysuckle
hollyhocking the sun

fuzzed fighter
bee-bandit zorro of the zinnias

I have searched
with Aengus and Fintan
for that bee-loud glade of yours
where I might live

but some truths are only dreams
and Brigid’s honey
has a taste of the otherworld.



For yesterday’s 30DaysWild prompt. Late.


We tread this earth
too heavy
with careless steps
denying our feet of clay.

And in our wake
we leave a trail
of broken stalks
petals crushed and bleeding

a trail of used discarded things
carcases of unnecessary whims

a trail of microscopic death
pathogens carcinogens

a blackberry trail
sweet and dark
though who sees more
than briar thorns?

Plastic orphans

My poem for Paul Brookes’ 30DaysWild challenge.

Plastic orphans

I toss a bottle in the sea,
watch until it’s lost to sight.
Like Lir’s children, tossed from sea to loch
through storm and crashing waves,
it drifts unchanged and undiminished.

Not in pure white feathers clad,
its coloured label fading with the sun,
but smeared and greened with algae,
for three hundred years it sails,
condemned to never let its atoms free.

Three hundred years again before it finds
a different sea, an ocean broad as half the world,
and carried in the currents,
jostled by a million lost semblables,
it joins the continent of plastic trash.

Perhaps in three hundred years again,
when time has put an end to our earthly reign,
the sorry debris, our eternal badge of shame,
will sink like human bones, to rest
among the corals and the last of all the pearls.

On the beauty of poplars

The 30DaysWild challenge today is an ode to trees. A sonnet in my case.

On the beauty of poplars

Without the poplar trees there’d be no song,
no fluting call of orioles, no wild
and wanton dancing by the stream, no wreaths
of black and yellow through the leafy green.

Without the poplar trees, how would we know
the wind was pouring, rolling from the west?
The oaks stand firm, immobile, poplars sigh,
their topmost branches trembling silver sea.

And when the trembling grows, a rising tide
of waving boughs and hissing with the foam
of unseen water-wind, cold ocean-born,
the poplars raise their slender boughs to show

the wind take form, we see it in the sky,
an ocean, weed-strewn, flotsam flying by.

Not a list, not a poem, just a long, protracted sigh.

My contribution to Day 21 of Paul Brookes’ 30DaysWild challenge.

I think we all know what we as individuals can do to help slow down climate change, famine, floods and mass migration for the poorest populations in the world. It’s simply that most of us won’t do it unless we’re forced.

I was going to post a very short, non-exhaustive list, but I won’t. We all know it by heart. Nor will I write a poem about saving nature, because poetry makes not one iota of difference.

There’s nothing that’s impossible or even difficult in being reasonable and humane. It’s not fascist or Medieval to stop wasting resources. It is simply the plain truth that our throw away clothes are produced in sweat shops often by children, that abattoirs are hell on earth, that those floating luxury palaces destroy everything they come in contact with.

And it’s depressing that we would rather believe in hoaxes, irrational conspiracies and whataboutery than scientific fact. In the end, it all comes down to whether or not we care

and whether we want
the books we will read to our grandchildren
to have elephants and badgers
on the same page as unicorns.


A poem for Day 18 of Paul Brookes’ 30DaysWild challenge. If you have a camping related piece of writing or photo, send it in.


This house beneath the stars sits
knees to chest upon the hillside,
gazing down where dark is deepest.

We sit and watch together,
as the stars dance and moon rises,
through the window full of night-light,

and we gaze into the tree-dark,
where the stream runs loud in springtime,
and the owls scream loud at night-time.

This house with sky as coping
is my tent, beyond is untamed,
I can hear its wild heart pulsing,
touch the bat-winged night air beating,
and I taste the summer coming.

Haibun for wild maps

For Paul Brookes’ 30DayWild challenge.

Haibun for wild maps

These fields are veined with running feet, the hooved and the padded, the broad forked twig-feet of pheasants. Through the long grass they run, tunnelled through bramble, broadening to the crushed stalks of temporary resting places. River banks are scored with badger claws and the parallel slices of deer hooves, caves hollowed by coypu, the landslips of boar.

Birds weave their aerial paths, the flitter and flutter, leaf-like, from bough to bough, the flash of damselfly-dip into the stream. Squirrels antic their way, highwire, no trapeze, through poplars and alders, where woodpeckers mark altitude points.

No contour lines track these slopes, sedge symbols the ponds. Dogs nose, gaze, see smells as bouncing colours in the air perhaps. I follow, trusting to commonplaces, my half-world as much as I can ever know.

Smells recall childhood
baking bread hot tarmac
here quince blossom.


My poem for Paul Brookes’ 30DaysWild challenge. You can read the poems here.


They’re quartering the river
the swallows and the swifts
hunting where mosquitos swarm.

Not for them the hot meadow air
sandstorm dry and thick with dust.

Precocious summer swells
and swallows sap and singing

the high-pitched swift-shrill unheard
in this thunder-ocean overhead
where kites and buzzards plough
scything the burnished billows.

Untimely summer

This is for Paul Brookes’ Wild challenge, a ‘mindfulness walk’. I’ve just come in from a walk that was more watchful than mindful, but I’ve been thinking about the weather forecast for the coming week. High summer temperatures are coming earlier and earlier and next week is set to break records. We’re bracing ourselves for in excess of 40°C (104°F) from Tuesday, not cooling down at night and lasting until next Sunday.

Untimely summer

The meadow beneath the window waves,
yellow fescue, sucked dry, ripples
in the hot breath of the anger coming.

Green grips deep,
hugging the thin shade of tall stalks,
grips the cool with root-fingers.

Perhaps only we cringe
before the earth’s bellows
and the furnace boiling,

the rest flutter, creep, spy,
blackbirds grub in morning dew,
making the best of things.