I don’t ask if you remember those footprints in that cave – mother and child, walking. I wonder if she took a moment to look back at where they’d walked, or if she kept on moving, eyes fixed ahead.
Our footprints will be gone by lunchtime – washed away, meltwater merging into mud, and looking back, it’s hard to know which of us is mother, which is child. You’ve grown. Sneaked up on me, like time.
This is for Brendan’s earthweal challenge on Deep Time. There’s a bit of synchronicity here – I had a poem called “Pech Merl” published in Black Bough’s Deep Time II collection last year. Walking in the snow at the weekend with my son reminded me of the parent and child footprints we saw in the caves there, several years ago. I had that in my head trying to be a poem, and then Brendan’s prompt came along. If you’re interested, there is a Deep Time soundtrack with lots of great poetry readings here: https://soundcloud.com/stuartrawlinson/sets/black-bough-poetry-deep-time
Coldest now up this tree, shagged by ice and wind and haled by high moonlight. Halcyon, yes, if you’re dead. Or leaning that way, re-learning Advent in the bittering slog of freezing winter nights.
Below and beyond I see warm lights, chimneys billowing fire-smoke and children caroling house to house their Christ.
How I miss those cloistered enclosures where a man was everything he said and a sword’s amen counted for everything in the pile of heads. The mead and the feasting, the white breasts of the maid, all festively enveloped in songs for the King.
Christmastide beckons to all that’s lost inside: But not so tonight for this man of the mound, exiled by the new God to a cold aerie’s cross far from hearth of a welcoming mind.
Here where the wind bleeds stars onto branches and the wolf howls Jesu I’m wild and keening, ditch-delved by frost.
My Advent locks its step with Infurin’s dead host. Chanting in starlight the charm of the lost.
Thank you to Brendan for this poem, one of a series of poems exploring the mythology of Mad Sweeney. If you’re wondering: Infurin, is a Celtic otherworld known as the Land Beneath the North. Brendan lives in Florida USA. By day he is an editor and husband, in deep of night he scribes the Otherworld. Brendan is the creative the force behind the earthweal project – Poetry of a changing Earth. The grief is real – so is the hope.
I just feel that we should be planting something, pressing our fingers deep into the dark earth. What, though? I can’t think of it – I just feel that we should be planting something – hopes – dreams – fairy lights? I don’t know. Memories of sunshine? I just feel that we should be planting something, pressing our fingers deep into the dark earth.
I’m planning to spend December playing with triolets. This is for earthweal – a triolet of hoping and waiting.
The beavers are beavering, dammit. They are doing their thing: gnawing, logging, building, damming. That’s what they do. The beavers are beavering, changing the landscape, creating pools and slowing flows. Suddenly there are dragonflies and clean water, and the sharpened pencil stumps of trees, because the beavers are beavering, dammit, doing their beaver thing. Beavering.
Beavers are a native British species, absent for 400 years, but now making a comeback. Down our way, they are (ironically) living on the River Otter. I know. They’ve been their since 2008, they are breeding, and they are making a difference both on the ecology of the river, and on local flood risk. All good. You can read more about it here, if you’re interested.
Yeah, well, clothes shopping is my only vice – you’re crazy not to buy it at that price –
you see these shoes? I have to wear them twice, they’ll have paid for themselves, at that low price.
That red top? Yes, I’ve worn it, what, 3 times? I got this new one – why not, at that price?
Those trousers? Well, they never fitted right – I bought some others. Can’t believe the price.
The blue one? Washed it. Doesn’t look so nice. I’ve just replaced it. You won’t guess the price.
This stuff is throwaway – it’s just designed to be worn once, and tossed. Look at the price.
It’s crazy not to. You won’t pay the price – I tell you, shopping is my only vice.
Jim Feeney is hosting at earthweal this week. He asks us to invent a fictional voice, the voice of someone who doesn’t care about climate change. There was a news article on the BBC a few months ago, showing mountains of discarded UK clothing that had been dumped in Ghana. It sickened me. I might have gone on longer, but I ran out of rhymes…