Thursday, 30 May 2013


Saltmarshe Delph

Sometimes, deep in hidden corners
We discover whole new worlds.
Like here, where the horseshoe river-course
Bends its oozing flow from south to east,
And in its curving grasp the land is flat and wet.
This place exists in quiet insignificance
To all except the myriad of life
That thrives within its few small acres.
But what a life! Nestled here,
Between the railway
And the sprawling, golden fields,
Is a colony that makes its own sufficiency;
On the edge, and yet a world away,
From the cruder works of men
Who pass it, scarcely noticing,
(Except, perhaps, to wryly smile
At the family of swans that walks,
With proprietorial disdain,
Along the centre of the road),
And in quiet co-existence
Maintains a natural diversity
Whose model we could never recreate. 

And yet, by curious paradox, it was born
Where once men tore the earth with brutal might.
Then subtle nature softly healed the scars,
Creating, over time, her own cathedral
From arching willows, bent
To make a glorious vaulted roof,
And, for a floor, the shining mirror-levels
Where miraculous pond striders
Can walk upon the water.

Here blackbirds, dragonflies and warblers
Delight in curling ferns and wild geraniums,
Whilst grebes and cormorants find rest
And food amongst the bordering reeds.
With their very lives they praise
The deity that we have long denied,
For, today, our gods no longer live in trees
Or call us to the stillness of the glades,
But occupy, instead, the sterile spaces
Deep within the gloom of our own minds.

Here’s proof (if proof were needed)
That even the most restless spirit
Doesn’t always have to yearn
For wilder vistas on a grander scale,
But can sometimes be content
With nature in a gentler guise;
A modest Utopia, perhaps, but nonetheless,
Once we have the luck to find them,
It’s these small worlds that often form
The greatest landmarks of our lives.

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