By Diane Cockburn
For the attention of Zeus.
Because He said ‘I’m so angry. Get down there and report,’
I hurried out of my door, half- dressed.
My doeskins were in the wash.
My sandals had been melted down three dozen centuries ago,
so, I fastened on hiking boots with socks.
Couldn’t think straight, hair shaggy,
hunting dogs all dead, just the mixed breed terrier in the red collar
waiting for the whistle, toothed and ready for ratting.
Took my bow, (a plastic ball thrower),
found my arrows, (blue orbs from Pound world, polycarbonate).
Furtively unfurling the social distance pennant,
I flew down by the white gates into the river loop.
Right. Report. Nothing at first. No humans.
Naiads in water lockdown. Dryads stumped.
We are alone. Recording. Dog ears up.
There is some evidence of rats down holes, rabbits and many movements in undergrowth.
Squirrels scuttling up trees.
Then the sounds.
Volume turned up loud as Hades.
Big bosom garlic flowers honking their stink,
Bluebells shrieking violent-blue pigment,
Violets screaming ‘we’re living our best life down here. Hear us!’
Acid-green beech shouting ‘tips, buds, sap’!
Chestnut candles tapping ‘Cream pink, pink pink, cream pink!’
-some kind of code?
Ducks the size of dragons mating everywhere,
woodpecker eardrum burst on the right,
swans big enough to ride on hissing fire. Positively gathering.
I might use the term drifting.
The Fulling Mill is all friction. Up to something and I’m not talking tweed.
Things growing aggressively in every crevice. Moss. Driftwood.
Evidence of passive-assertive otter action by Prebends Bridge.
Blood trails on the path.
Dog eating a rancid eel.
Fresh regurgitation on a tree branch.
Smell of a clogged sewer pipe where there is no pipe.
This does not bode well.
Nature is out of control, Sir.
We need a plan.
We need Olympus.
Diane Cockburn is a Northern Irish poet living and working in Durham. Latest collection Electric Mermaid by Arrowhead Press. She is currently exploring poetic form and is working on a new collection.
Artemis. The Current Situation on the River Wear. For the Attention of Zeus.
Early in lockdown, I escaped to the Riverbanks on the River Wear and spent every morning walking the dog. Everything was so quiet, but nature was bursting out everywhere. All senses were electrified. I wondered what the Gods would think and realised Zeus might have to send someone to investigate the chaos.