By Carol McKay

In the darkness of winter
you gave me a seed-kit
(tin tub, dead earth,
a dozen seeds in a packet).

I waited for spring light
to finally plant it.
The plug of earth swelled
the moment I moistened it.

In days, there were seedlings:
fingertips, green and fervent,
pushing through prayer hands.
Then we had lockdown.

I left them on the worktop
in a house a hundred miles from here.
Almost as distant
as you, in your other land.

When lockdown was lifted
and I was able to visit,
aloe vera and succulents
were plump, flowering, thriving.

But not your fragile seedlings.
Their earth was a desert,
their thin stems ill-equipped
to sustain them through the long drought.

I gave the tin water; kept vigil
for a miracle. And one sleepy seed
that had snoozed through the dry months
found its time to flourish.

Soon, you’ll come to live here.
Seed becomes our metaphor.
Sun warming our shoulders,
we’ll watch it fruit together.

Carol McKay’s poetry pamphlet ‘Reading the Landscape’ is forthcoming from Hedgehog Press. She taught creative writing through the Open University from 2004 till 2018. Her first novel, Incunabulum, is available now.  

I’ve found writing more difficult as the Covid-19 time has lengthened. This has taught me something. It’s that I get bored and frustrated easily, and I stagnate if I don’t experience ‘new’. The good news is that going outside even for a simple 20 minute walk locally gives me ‘new’, because nature is always changing, even if that’s just seeing autumn’s red rose hips wither then turn white with frost, or identifying fox prints in this morning’s snow. I’ve also realised that if I fall into an emotional and creative slump, I can look out my photos from over the years and re-experience those encounters, whether that was walking to Lindisfarne with my cousin or seeing just how bright and luminous May sunshine is in my local parks. Sharing experience of writing is also a valuable lifeline, and I’m thrilled to be part of the Poetry and Covid community.

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1 year ago

Beautiful with lots of imagery ❤🌱

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