Today I walked the road
I skipped along when I was young
And fought to quell the rising melancholy in my heart:
Where once I gathered primroses and violets,
Kept secret the thrush’s nest I found within the hawthorn hedge
Nibbled on wild strawberries and sloes
And smelt the fragrant garlic and wild onion after rain
– Nothing grew.
The heavy flowing river where I fished for sprats,
And caught an eel
Is dehydrated now
Choked with mangled metal scrap.
The low marshy meadow
Where I squelched barefooted chasing butterflies,
Plucked tall mayflowers through rustling green rushes
Watching ripples fanning out from swimming waterhens
Weaving here and there, past frog-spawn and water lily;
Where long-necked herons stalked back and forth
Through stems of delicate bog cotton
To crickets’ chirrup and corncrakes’ grate
While the sun dripped, endlessy ..
Today this meadowland of flora and fauna
Lies Immovable, locked deep in concrete dungeons.
The orchard trees I scrambled up, are there no more
Nor is the pale-skin birch,
And alder tree with milk of human kindness in its sap
The scarlet-berried rowan bush, and damson hedge
Have fallen victim of ‘man’s advance’:
Gone too, the one that -as a child – disturbed me most
Yet grieves me now
The swishing, to and fro
Of the sally rod.