Two Poems

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’

Spring’s chorus
is blossom fall to
unwalked streets

hedgerow crocuses
flowering
for lone passers-by.

Cars almost
disappear, only
sheep and lambs

still flock unworried
their fields green
with long grass and sun.

I won’t miss
this solitude, or
fear’s quiet

slow static
undercurrenting
the thin air

of busy spaces
desolate
of any people.

But the birds’
singing undisturbed
the sudden

paradise of small
town gardens…
as normality’s

surface heals
a sense of lacking
lingers.

Sarah James is a poet, fiction writer, journalist and photographer. Her recent hypertext poetry projects are > Room (exploring disability) and the more light-hearted Lines of Love. Website: www.sarah-james.co.uk.

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.

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