When you planted me so long ago at the side of the track Did you know I would outlive you? Did you countenance the life that I would give Not just to self replicate but in harbouring others? From insects small to tawny owl nesting in my hollow. Did you contemplate the years of shade That I would afford travellers down this lane From farm boy labourers to coaches drawn And then to cranking cars and back to men? Did you know that centuries later your ancestors Would stand beneath me and wonder at my age Drinking in the air that I expire and admire me Almost as a generous god? For the peace and the calm and the life I can give.
You would be sad to see how the world Is treated with disdain Your progeny, no longer guardians But ravagers of nature Greedy for expansion. I weep and yearly drop my limbs, Shrinking from the world at large Drawing in on myself: to nothing.
Then drunk in their own excesses They will choke on their own vomit And there will be nothing you nor I can do.
When I stare out across the wide salt flats I count my blessings, from a life so full I’ve seen so much of beauty unsurpassed In hills and dales; and becks that trickle past; Of lakes that gleam with orange sunset light Or slow appear from out a mist at dawn From hills all bronzed with bracken-coloured growth And crags dramatic grey in slanting rain. I’ve heard the birdsong in the green hedgerow And listened as the buzzard keens her call Crossed hillsides where the sheep bleat all the day Smelled garlic wild along the woodland way. Although my body now is rather frail, I see and hear and scent as on the trail, For senses come to life each live long day As the river washes all my cares away. She stops in shallows near my wooden seat Reflecting all that’s past just at my feet I ponder on the waters on the sand And know from these reflections from above That heaven for me, is very close at hand.
I wrote this poem after visiting Arneside and Silverdale, which is close to the Lake District in the UK, where I have spend many holidays. The Lake District is one of the prime hiking locations in the UK famed for its wonderful combination of mountains and lakes. Arneside and Silverdale is nearby and in fact you can see the hills in the distance from there but the river is the main attraction here. As we walked along the riverside, there were elderly couples sitting and reflecting and taking in the sunset. I imagined the thoughts of one gentleman there as he sat with his walking stick deep in thought.
The dying thistles blow in the wind Spreading next year’s crop Of pain and beauty Floating on the breeze. Beautiful at a distance They provide some Sustenance for insects and birds, Until on an urge to reproduce They send out their Seemingly innocent progeny, On wings of fluffy parachutes To colonise the world In the same guise. Then turning their shameless heads Upwards, like little suns Of self satisfaction Too late they realise their Mistake And hang their heads In death and repentance.
Such is misinformation Difficult to stop Attractive to look at Apparently benevolent But inflicting Pain that pricks at our heels And stabs our fingers. And which misinformation, Seeds itself in ways That we cannot anticipate.
You think you’re alone Cut off; shut in Shunned by the world and Separated by lockdown.
But look at your self Look closely now Search inside your mind.
There are intricate memories Pictures of Places been Things seen. Moments of Complex relationships Conversations had Discussions You Could have had Might have had Maybe will have And they can all be worked out Listened to Responded to By your alter ego.
We are never only one. How many names do you have? All them you!
You are not alone.
And if you have a God You also know He is there Listening to you Feeling your pain Supporting you And lying beside you in the darkest night Holding you in your dreariest hour.
Never despair. We are all more than one; Always with you. Strong.
This poem was inspired by looking at my photograph of this Echinacea. I zoomed in and found so many different levels and intricacies and I thought that within any structure in nature there is so much more, especially in the human mind – so many of us in one. Always more than one.