Literary Yard

Search for meaning

By: Stephen Kingsnorth


Where I am rooted, said the parched,
is not well suited to my thirst.
My bed is grit and not the tilth
that lets me search and stretch in earth,
drawing on moist and nurture’s wealth.
I sunbathe in the light above,
spread out my leaves to capture heat,
dress only best to attract bees.
I’m regular in exercise,
the regime, daily, flexing phloem,
my xylem too for appetite,
up-reaching, poised in skyward pose.
My span in bloom will be but brief –
I am reliant, wind, what flies –
but growth and death, vocation calls,
and when I die, the earth more tilth.



The beak, it knows the shining path,
that creak of caravan above
as scents the uncurl of the bud,
making its path with slime, joint oil.
Crown’s cocky ear hears, on the move,
a shell to stab, fruit juice within,
withdrawal not a hiding place.
Home is with me, thinks safe the snail,
but trailers all temporary,
its silver sliver, glitter clue,
a trail for followers of meat.
Small part of chain, fed xylem, phloem,
that smash and grab the next link on –
wheel preying birds are saying grace,
wing hover over smaller kings,
till talons swoop on meal consumed,
elegy for the gastropod
as what consumes is taken too.



The roll of those for whom we’ve cared –
in rôle as parent, carer, child –
writ, the names in our hands inscribed,
engraved on hearts if they have died,
as said of god, held in his palms,
blood family and global tribe.

A binding, script, warrant decree.
the summons comes, community,
commitment called from common wealth,
where souls merge in a wholesome goal,
new humans through their pilgrimage.

But that may be in retrospect,
the lost, past opportunities,
seen in welling, tears of regret,
as pulse fades, weakened beat seeps slow,
that passed dream shrouds our final breath.



It boils to suit the food for soup,
as saves the body, earth from drought,
and pumped to wash us of our dirt.
By serving crops through vessel routes.
from root to stem, climb fruit above,
so feeds all growth, essential oils.
It wears meniscus, surface skin,
and does its level best to find
its way to seep and be absorbed,
or drain in soil to rise again
Such luxury to clink in glass,
so cool, with shaping water, class,
to add a cube of melting ice,
the coldest one fighting the sun,
to quench thirst, lower latent heat.
So blatant in its saving grace,
ambrosia with godly gifts,
from sip to drench it satisfies.



The song of our times, waves of our whales,
the cow but gently herding calf
nudging her towards the school,
all calling out their current tunes,
messages in the melody,
a sounding board for the earth’s health.
If human ears are turned around
and less holistic our concern,
gone with the muse, to wisdom tuned,
our destiny is lost in swell.
More ocean than earth, as planet waves,
the artist needs must tidings read.

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