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apologies to derwent may*

Sunday 21 April 2019

we are hogweed
six feet tall

being gathered
to feed pigs

we are yellow
archangel in
shady woods

we do not sting.


Monday 1 April 2019

we are hobbies
nesting in old crows’ nests
in quiet woods or small copses
in the middle of ploughed fields.


Wednesday 20 March 2019

for fieke

we are wind flowers
hanging lightly
on our stems.

we spread across the floor
of dead leaves
in woods and copses.

and we turn our backs
when the march winds blow.


Thursday 14 March 2019

i am a coltsfoot
on a bare riverbank

i am a persian speedwell
on the muddy edge of a cornfield

i am a dandelion with teeth
like a lion lurking somewhere
waiting for clocks.


Thursday, 7 March 2019

i am a lesser celandine
and you are a primrose
and you… you can be a bluebell
but look out! here comes
the fucking winter heliotrope.


Thursday, 21 February 2019

let’s be pairs of goldcrests
and build mossy nests
filled with feathers
suspended
under fir or cypress boughs.


Thursday, 31 January 2019

we are nuthatches looking
into large holes in trees.

we are long-tailed tits
leaving the tit flocks.

we are ravens working on
our nests on cliff ledges.


Thursday, 17 January 2019

i am one of the few
of the millions
of commercially reared
pheasants let loose
in english woods last autumn
who didn’t get shot,
yet — and when i say kork,
kork’ what i mean is : i’m
looking forward, very much,
to the end of the month.’


Saturday, 12 January 2019

i am a loon on a lake
wailing uncannily in a sinister
foggy movie scene.


Wednesday, 9 January 2019

we are waxwings wandering
into supermarket carparks
looking for cotoneasters.


Wednesday, 19 December 2018

i am a feral snow goose
flying freely with my flock
about the inner hebrides


Monday, 10 December 2018

i am a black-tailed godwit
feeding in deep water
mostly out of sight
below the surface.


Monday, 24 September 2018

i am a silvery grey greenshank
walking gracefully on long green legs


Friday, 6 July 2018

knowing where an elm hedge is,
can lead you to a white letter
hairstreak butterfly — and/or if you see

a white letter hairstreak butterfly,
you may find a nearby elm hedge
that you didn’t know about.

(there are lots of elm hedges, i am sure,
that i don’t know about — and even more
white letter hairstreak butterflies.)


Tuesday 18 July, 2017

7:23 AM :
and now, in between bursts
of song, chiffchaffs
(or zilpzalps, as the germans, who have
a different word for everything!
say) are making soft
hiccuping sounds and
no one knows why.


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

great hairy willowherb! you are
not the first to make an
appearance in damp ditches —
that would be your sister
who grows at the feet of walls.


no date

like small birds
on icy mornings
trying to live.


* my obsession with derwent may’s daily nature notes in the u.k. times (hidden so deep inside the comments’ page that you can’t even link to it) began when i still lived in australia and i was fascinated by the things that animals and plants were doing at that moment in the northern hemisphere (which, now that i’ve been living here again for a few years, i realise is actually a different planet). each weekday derwent may writes a little piece about what is happening. i love the names of the animals and the plants and the little details, and sometimes i am compelled to pull something out and/or i imagine myself being one or more of the animals or plants and/or i address them, mostly by appropriating derwent may’s words, perhaps rearranging them slightly and/or putting each detail on a line by itself. i don’t call them poems because i am not a poet (although i did send some to plumwood journal once but they didn’t like them) but i don’t know what they are. texts? tweets? ideally they’d be tweetable, not that i often do. i often forget that i can tweet!

i am not a poet, but perhaps i’m a writer — in any case i’ve been a collagist for almost as long as i’ve been writing. and i’ve been writing since before most of you fuckers were even BORN. that’s such an old man thing to say but i guess i am as good (or as bad) as an old man now so maybe that’s ok? or maybe its not. usually i check myself if i’m tempted to say an old man thing. so cutting up texts is something that i do. but i am old school : i almost always acknowledge the source and/or offer my apologies to the writer.

so. apologies to derwent may. i imagine him an old man in a little cottage in the english country side somewhere who wears a bow tie and goes on long walks each day to gather material for his columns which he composes on a powerbook 100 after dinner but i might be wrong about that. maybe he’s not well, it often seems to be his off-sider who writes the column these days.

when i get around to it i will collect all the nature notes poems texts here. the dates usually correspond to the dates on which the column was published but not always.









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