By Sarah James
The Hedgerow’s Song
In Flanders, it was poppy fields.
A century later, I pass
grass thick with dandelion clocks.
These thin-stalked ghostly forests
grow denser with my daily cycle
through the country lanes.
At the bottom of our garden,
another five. A gust or sneeze,
and their asterisk seeds released –
near invisible on the breeze.
Oblivious to lockdown, spikes spread
to their next green field.
Still, spring sings on, hurries us
into May blossom and summer sun.
Petals drift and fall, leaving a trail
of white kisses behind them.
Autumn arrives with a flurry
set to bury us in red leaves.
The year everything stops except the seasons
“[..] stirring | Dull roots with spring rain.”
T.S. Eliot, ‘The Waste Land’
is blossom fall to
for lone passers-by.
sheep and lambs
still flock unworried
their fields green
with long grass and sun.
I won’t miss
this solitude, or
the thin air
of busy spaces
of any people.
But the birds’
paradise of small
a sense of lacking
As a potentially ‘vulnerable’ writer (because of her type ne diabetes), Sarah’s experience of the pandemic has been simultaneously feeling less motivated to write (everyday living and anxiety taking more energy than usual) and also wanting in some way to create/do something positive, however small. Both these poems were inspired by her main escape – cycling from her town’s edgelands into the surrounding Worcestershire countryside. One positive side-effect of ‘stay home, stay safe’ was how much quieter and safer this route was during the lockdown – in stark contrast to the mass of traffic back on the roads again now. She misses this quietness and slower pace of life.