22 July – Cyanotype fern

I follow the footsteps
of botanical explorers
and press my fresh picked fern
into deep Prussian blue.
I trust the sun,
the waiting,
the water…
and marvel how,
with photography at my fingertips,
this rediscovered technique
of picture painting play
can bring me utter joy.
It grows now forever,
an immortalised white fern
on a cyan fabric square.
But also yields its life,
green to gradual curling,
gingering, gently -furling –
a perfect specimen captured
in a small glass bottle.
What was it like
when this was newly all there was –
great brave science recording
with accuracy for perpetuity
brand new exotic species
from far flung lands?
It must have seemed,
as it half does now,
something faintly fantastical,
beauty, form, life –
arrested on a page
by powerful noon-day light.

22 July - Cyanotype fern