Two Poems

By Anne Kenny

Hawker

It’s early morning when I find it, lifeless
on a window-ledge. The rattle of its flight
silent now. Devil’s darning needle, horse-stinger,
ear-cutter.
It could not escape this name-calling –

or a warm house on a humid night. I take
fragile remains, place on paper to examine
this ancient machine. Intricate eyes like iridescent
baubles are engineered to perfection. Fixings

of delicate wings to thorax, enable aerobatic flight,
hairpin turns, a summer hovering above garden ponds.
I’ve no desire to preserve and pin this specimen,
with its abdomen of sap green and cyan, but still

I capture it though a lens, marvel at the survival
of its species, amid news of deaths of our own.

Note: Dragonflies were in their present form 250 million years ago, during the Jurassic period.

Lockdown Fever

I want escape from this pandemic,
to travel south and find the sun,
to sit beneath a beach umbrella, to flick
soft sand between my toes, to rise and run
towards the waves and slip
into the soothing sea. Wouldn’t that be fun?
I want escape from this pandemic
to travel south and find the sun.

What? I need to stay at home you say –
to walk my local woods again. I know sweet chestnut,
beech and birch and how their branches sway.
I want a towering redwood, a eucalypt or two, a glut
of giant cedars. And on the wing: some hummingbirds to play
nearby, a sulphur crested cockatoo, a little waxwing, but…
What? I need to stay at home you say –
to walk my local woods again. I know sweet chestnut.

You’re right. I want too much, after all we’ve lost
and suffered. But, still we need to dream and hope
and so I want a snowy mountain range, a rainforest
with cassowaries. Perhaps a city full of folk,
arms flung around each other, a theatre with a full cast,
an audience enthralled, the shackles of this virus broken.
You’re right. I want too much, after all we’ve lost
and suffered. But, still we need to dream and hope.

Anne Kenny: During the pandemic, like many others, I’ve found being outside in nature to be soothing and therapeutic. I’ve felt fortunate to have a garden and to live in a small village in Kent. When writing I’ve found myself beginning poems which reflect my intense appreciation of the natural world. At some point in my poems, the present realities of life with coronavirus slip in.

I was grateful to have found a dead dragonfly in my house as I was absorbed for some time by its beauty and by the fact that as a species they have survived for so long.

I feel very fortunate to live in a small village in an area listed as having ‘outstanding natural beauty’. Within a short walk there’s an ancient woodland which has been a wonderful place to enjoy throughout the long winter months of lockdown. It’s been a sanctuary, a place to forget, complete with a variety of wonderful trees, ancient burial grounds and the occasional surprise appearance of deer.

When I decided to write this poem I’d wanted to try a particular form I’d seen used elsewhere. Our lives have been so restricted and confined this past year that my frustration and longing for release emerged in the writing.

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