31 March – Mirrored moth

The mirrored moth is still,
caught in a perfect hold,
gown spread feathered-silver wide
in a frozen American Smooth glide
as if the music has stopped.

Soon she will dance again,
spinning all around the room,
flitting, fluttering in constant flight
searching again for mirrorball lights
and a partner who will not fade.

30 March – Dear oak tree

Dear Oak tree,
is this rock for me
to sit at your feet and hear
for a little spell
all the tales you can tell,
having stood here a hundred years?

Dear Oak tree,
oh, to wait and be
while the world rushes by on its way.
I would emulate you,
learn to grow not do –
to slow down and just breathe in the day.

Dear oak tree,
if only you and me
could properly and lengthily converse,
I would grow so wise,
seeing life through your eyes,
studying your lessons, chapter and verse.

30 March - Dear oak tree

29 March – Mistaken identity

Almost every bird species has a clear, distinct look
to identify male from female so they can’t be mistook –
just go and look them up in a spotting guide book.

But robins are the exception that proves this general rule,
making it easy to ensure they have everyone fooled –
which, when you think about it, is really rather cool…

I’ve always felt that comedies of error are far-fetched –
Rosalind couldn’t pass for Ganymede just by changing dress.
But I think a robin theatre cast might actually impress…

You wouldn’t have a clue who was who and what was what,
belief wouldn’t be suspended, more like utterly forgot –
what a shame Robins don’t give Shakespeare more thought!

28 March – Grass portal

Nothing is like the smell of fresh-mown grass,
caught unexpected in the air as you pass,
breaking through the present with a thousand memories
of playing fields and picnics and grassy, bare knees.
Up and down the dale, mowers join birds in chorus
as the weather makes cutting-time decisions for us.
But to get that particular, cut grass high,
it’s still always a case of right place, right time.
Today, I am lucky for the first day this year
and sure enough every Summer yesterday swiftly re-appears.

28 March - Grass portal

27 March – The rennovators

Of course, the blue tits prefer to begin nesting in our garage eaves
rather than taking up residence in the box purchased specially from the RSPB.
But why must they insist on pulling out endless tufts of roof insulation
and scattering it all over the terrace, much to our constant consternation?
They’ve obviously decided their field-foraged lining is far superior to ours
but blatant house decimation for bird-nest creation is taking it a little too far…
Maybe next year, we should fill the nesting box with stacks of rich yellow foam,
then perhaps they’ll throw out all of that and leave our poor garage roof alone!

27 March - The rennovators

26 March – Caught up

I’m on the tops
when the starlings drop
and at last I am in a murmuration.
Totally surrounded.
Utterly dumbfounded;
left bereft of any real explanation
for the rush of thrill
that I half-feel still
at the memory of full-flock storm
twisting and turning,
as they answered my yearning,
to be caught up in their shifting, swirling swarm.

26 March - Caught up

25 March – The golden miles

All at once, every daffodil shoot standing patiently to attention
explodes into flower in a tidal wave of golden synchronisation
like popcorn kernels bursting to treat in rapid fire succession.

Who needs a red carpet when bold bright trumpets line every road –
announcing Spring and promising yellow-bricked travel all the way home?
It feels as if every bloom-decked lane has been decorated for you alone.

Someone told me our daffodil miles are legacies of the Second World War,
when flower crops were pushed aside so vegetables could come to the fore,
that planting daffodil bulbs along verges was like a vast seed bank store…

What a win for the English motorist, that they still line all our highways
like ground-bound bunting strung up in time to mark the Easter holidays,
vivid aisles of glowing petal sunshine that annually amaze.

25 March - The golden miles

23 March – Reawakening

It seems like Honeysuckle comes back to life overnight
as hundreds of green leaf butterflies suddenly alight
then open their wings to shape shift again,
transmorphing into water lilies in a masquerading game.
Her trails interweave with settled Ivy’s evergreens,
shining fresh growth green with an almost glowing gleam.
I greet her reawakening with gently bubbling joy
anticipating the pinks and perfumes she will soon deploy.

22 March – Feed-off

A persistent little bleat
and four gambolling feet
chase their mother down for dinner.
But Ewe moves fast
to scoff enough grass
to avoid feeding making herself thinner.
Thank goodness lamb stops
before Ewe’s tail lifts to drop
yesterday’s feasting in her wake.
But then he gains more speed
and finally meets his need,
drinking deep with a gleeful tail shake.

20 March – Warren watching

Warren watching,
hopping spotting,
I would gladly stay
observing rabbits
and their habits
all the livelong day.
Now I know
they’ll make a show
every morning when I’m out
I play predict
– five, four or six –
how many will be about?
Counting a colony
is an advanced hobby
for they dart, dive and freeze,
then there’s camouflage
to disguise they’re at large –
you won’t see them if they don’t please.
But great rewards
soon afford
when you persist in applied appreciation.
If you don’t slacken off
you’ll discover lagomorphs
offer quite the very best stimulation.

19 March – Hunger games

Just at this point when Spring is gaining the upper hand,
it’s hard for us to even begin to halfway understand
that this turning point that represents so much renewing growth
doesn’t provide everything with this same sense of hope.
For British birds and beasts, this is the great hunger gap
when edible growth is scarce and there’s no more stored up snacks.
Just as we’re fixating on flurrying lambs and blossoming trees,
fierce battles for survival are raging among those in need.
Thank goodness for Mavericks like Ivy supplying fresh March food
when things would otherwise be desperate in most neighbourhoods.
So when you sigh in relief for a ‘making it to Spring’ reason,
spare some seed for those not yet benefitting from the season.

19 March - Hunger games

18 March – War stories

Jackdaws and buzzards clash in the sullen skies,
re-enacting the Battle of Britain with war-charged flight.
Buzzard dives aggressively, spreading his Spitfire wings,
desperate to assert his sovereignty over invading kings.
But Jackdaw is nimble and intent on domination,
mobilising his squadron in intimidating formations.
The struggle is dramatic, enhanced by hostile weather,
blustering and battering every fuselage feather.
But the buzzards triumph in the end, as we knew they would,
try as they might the jackdaws fail to re-write the history books.
War stories haunt collective memory, echoing in refrains –
how long till we look to the clouds and only see birds again?

17 March - War stories

17 March – Why me?

What is it that feels so personal about a surprise attack of hail,
like a well-aimed blow or a dose of anti-fan mail.
It usually falls with such violence, you hardly believe it’s not being thrown
with the one singular purpose of spoiling your plans alone.
Yesterday it pummelled my car on a winding country lane
and the crash of stone on metal drummed an almost deafening strain.
I surrendered and slowed my speed right down to a cautious, creeping crawl
but I could still barely see through its thumping, grumping squall.
I’ve resolved to be kinder to sleet, but I draw the line at hail,
I can find no goodness in it, I have tried to no avail.

16 March – Idiom proposal

English is full of idioms for going the wrong way;
blind alleys and garden paths can both lead you astray.
But as yet no one has immortalised the devious sheep path
which looks so well trod… only to get the last laugh
as you find yourself knee-deep in spongy, marshy heather
at just exactly the point there’s a turn for the worse in the weather.
So next time you find yourself searching for the perfect phrase
to describe being horribly misled in a most frustrating way,
may I propose you refer to the devilish sheep path
to provide a perfectly perilous metaphor on your behalf?

15 March – Blossoming

Viburnum passes the baton
with slow fading grace
as Wild Cherry begins
the local Spring tree race.
My first glimpse is by the roadside
as the car speeds past too fast
to stop and applaud the arrival
of my favourite sight starting at last.
Frothy flowers of pastel
commence candy flossing the trees,
delighting and uniting
with the little girl in me.
Now I’m on constant lookout,
hunting everywhere for blooms,
searching for rich pink avenues,
willing them to open soon.
This is the peak of my year
– and it’s coming, sure as the dawn –
renewal written in petals,
always lovelier than years before.

14 March – Aged wood

Lichen is up to its old tricks I see,
completely covering this slender beech tree –
coating every inch with seeming orange dust,
giving wood the look of metal as it rusts;
tarnishing a trunk that would otherwise seem new,
cheating fresh-faced growth out of greenwood youth.

14 March - Aged wood

13 March – Internal conflict

Brave bullfinch,
do you think
you are beast or Matador?

As you dip your head
do you see red,
enraged by your own colour?

Brave bullfinch
are you on the brink
of challenging your own dear self?

What crossed wires
labelled you, bold flyer,
so confusing your mental health?

I hope you get clear
on your role right here
as you perch on the Alder to reflect.

I think you require
a name that inspires
more clarity and self respect.

13 March - Internal conflict

12 March – Maverick

Ivy launches a new look –
indifferent to seasonal trends;
ignoring the fresh Spring fashions
sported by most of her friends.
She eschews pale green leaf buds,
rejects blushing pink,
disdains cheerful yellow
to boldly do her own thing.
There’s a touch of the goth about her
as she douses herself in black,
living out her own personal Autumn –
trying to bring berries back.
Black is classic and elegant,
it never goes out of style,
Ivy believes herself chicer –
wears a smooth, satisfied smile.

12 March - Maverick

11 March – Coming home

High on Hanging Moor
on a wild Bronte day
when air and cloud merge
into endless biting grey,
breaking through the bleak
comes a pure haunting cry –
the first calling curlews
returning to home skies.
Advancing from the estuaries
to circle still-black heather,
summoning hidden hopes to rise
above the bitter weather.

11 March - Coming home

10 March – Chicken chic

Is it really only me
who looks at chickens and sees
them tottering along in high heels,
as if trying to impress
with extreme forms of dress
to increase their popular appeal?
‘’Look at me,’’ they cluck
as they boldly strut their stuff,
with their heads so haughtily high raised.
‘’Watch me fabulously preen
even while I also glean,
I deserve to be endlessly praised.’’

10 March - Chicken chic

9 March – Rebranding exercise

March seems bent on redressing its flowery reputation,
rebranding itself as a gangster coldly terrorising the nation.
Its touch is fierce and chilly, with ice in its veins,
it may have Spring’s beauty but it’s inherited Winter’s brains.
The truculent child of both, warring within its own self,
the minute it tends to warmth, it regresses to something else.
No one can appease it as it stomps and blusters and blows,
whether it will tire itself into calm, nobody yet knows.
I wish it would get past its tantrums – accept its calendar place,
get on with ushering in growth, take to sunnily smiling with grace.
But it still seems insistent on holding out for redefinition,
asserting its tougher side and seeking Winterly recognition.

9 March - Rebranding exercise

8 March – My naturalist

Everyone needs a guide
and you are always mine,
leading through peaks and dales,
opening town-bound eyes.
Unveiling the overlooked,
naming the newly found,
reframing familiar sights,
quietening for distant sounds.
I speak your language now,
my knowledge is growing tall,
but you keep questing for more,
and I love to follow it all.
I keep walking beside you
as you tend the world to bright,
you keep teaching me joy,
quickening my heart to write.
Together, we forage the wild,
soar with the wonders we find,
thank you for constant adventure,
for never leaving me behind.

8 March - My naturalist

7 March – Sun seekers

The moment it’s out,
we are too –
rushing to feel it’s warmth
for even a moment or two.
The texts ping in all day,
‘isn’t it lovely outside?’,
we’re all part of the frenzy,
caught up in vitamin D highs.
I stand and catch a few rays
every time my tea brews,
feeling justified in my obsession,
knowing this spike will make the news.
The dog turns it into a pilgrimage,
following beams from room to room,
stretching out more like a cat
for most of the afternoon.
But you can’t really blame us,
we’re English after all,
so it’s always a major event
when the sun bothers to call.

7 March - Sun seekers

6 March – Sound bathing

I read about some interesting research the other day
that claimed bird song makes us happier than getting higher pay!
I don’t know how they measured this or what quantities they used
but I can well believe the truth of it, and surely you can too?
Particularly at this time of year, when it’s like a volume dial
is being daily turned up, accompanied all the while
by blooms breaking bud and growing sunshine
that warm memories into promises of better, brighter times.
Everything insides us associates birdsong with Spring
and that intangible sense of hope renewing every living thing.

5 March – Unruly housemates

We love the resident birds who share our home turf space –
so much so we make sure to give all of them names.
But Mavis the blackbird is sinking in our estimations
since she took up her new hobby of veg bed devastation.
She systematically works her way up and down the strawberry bed,
flinging out compost and runners in the hope of being fed
on choice worms and spiders that might be hiding there,
with no thought for our garden plans – it really isn’t fair.
Now her husband Cyril is copying her disruptive tricks,
dislodging the raspberry cane soil with destructive little flicks.
We’ve tried shouting and clapping to inspire some form of repentance
but they seem completely unaffected, so it looks like grudging acceptance
is the only option open to us now they’re committed to this path –
it’s time to quit the intended reform we’re imagining on their behalf.

4 March – Lambing season

The antenatal fields fill
with slow, lumbering ewes,
staggering under their own weight,
lying listlessly while they wait
for their time to finally come.

But across the road in maternity,
there’s energy everywhere
as crazy hour seizes the lambs
and gambling new-born gangs
race their mothers ragged.

This year I sadly can’t visit
Birchfield Farm’s lambing live
but I stop every chance I get
to watch each butting head
and gleefully wiggling tail.

It’s not the same as bottle feeding
and stroking the lambs in the shed
but it’s still a miracle up close,
an uplifting daily dose
of tiny bleats charging the air.

3 March – Hidden below (II)

Inspired by my mental meanderings of a couple of weeks ago,
when I pondered the underwater lives the river hides below,
today, as I walked through Spring Wood, my thoughts turned to the soil
and that other mysterious world I forget, concealed beneath us all.
With every single step I make, I cover more surface ground,
oblivious to all the teeming wonders my senses haven’t found.
In each field of hidden earth I neglect to even consider
bulb shoots searching for light while worms busily slither,
warrens warming sleeping rabbits and moles tunnelling along,
buried seeds secretly germinating, beetles finding a place to belong.
Such a plethora of life lives largely unnoticed by me
as I stride on in ignorance, blind to all I cannot see.

2 March – Celandine time

As I cross the grass,
I almost walk right past
the first glinting celandine.

It’s like a tiny wink,
prompting me to think –
flowers are stepping stones through time.

If I didn’t know the month,
I could learn it by each bunch
now that Spring has started to make waves.

What a better way to measure,
clocking time by new-found treasure
at a gentle, bloom-inspired pace.

1 March – Spring’s switch

Finally, it’s the first of March
and I want to clap my hands.
Spring is officially here
so Winter must be banned.
But this morning’s misty cold
just underlines how wrong I am;
seasons don’t switch like that
in a neat, calendared plan.
Instead they wrestle and tussle
in a back and forth tug of war,
repeatedly alternating
which one features more.
Yesterday I wore no coat
on a beautiful sun-kissed day
when the air was still and fragrant
and February felt like May.
I flung the back door open
and sat on the terrace to read,
but today I’m back huddled inside –
it feels like it was just a dream.
Spring’s colours are surely starting
but Winter has not gone away,
frosting the mornings with white,
overcasting the yellows with grey.
They say March enters like a lion
but then leaves again like a lamb,
so I guess I have to be patient
and keep waiting the best I can.