March: a poem

river
“If there is light it will find you” – Charles Bukowski

 

March

 

Hope starts in small things

and becomes a river in spring –

the bright green pop

of a dandelion mandala

pushing up through the asphalt,

the cold March wind which says

hold on, brighter days are coming.

So maybe we live in dark times –

this morning the birds

and the crocus flowers

turned their faces to the sun

and sang, regardless.

Winter is tired.

She longs to lie down

in the arms of spring

among the sweet white blossoms

and the ripening buds of new beginnings.

There is sap rising up in the bones

of this body, this land:

this is where transformation comes,

where shoots grow from old roots.

So the wind blows,

maybe it brings change.

Hold on.

 

The idea for the opening lines of this poem came when I was standing on a bridge in the rain, looking at a river which had burst its banks after an early spring storm. I wondered at how the river, usually little more than a stream, had become an unstoppable force. It made me think about all the efforts people are making around the planet to create positive changes, to build “the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible” (Charles Eisenstein).

The poem is written in the spirit of honouring the land, the wheel of the year and the dynamic energies of the Spring Equinox, represented by the balance of light and dark, and the qualities of re-emergence, fertility and growth.

Alongside the despair and devastation, so much is changing and emerging in this moment. The poem is both offering and prayer for hope. It is intended as a dream for the world, for the wild places and for future generations. Whatever offerings you are making towards a bright future, may they become a river in spring. x

April

fern
“Plant a garden. It’s good for the health of the earth and it’s good for the health of the people. A garden is a nursery for nurturing connection, the soil of cultivation of practical reverence. And its power goes far beyond the garden gate – once you develop a relationship with a little patch of earth, it becomes a seed itself.” – Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass  (photography by Caroline Arber)

 

Spring comes late to my garden.

North-facing, paved over, with high walls on three sides, it sits in a puddle of shade all winter long. There are no sweeping vistas or sweet-smelling grasses on which to walk barefoot. The only plants that thrive there are hardy woodland flowers, ferns and bulbs in a jumble of muddy pots.

But I love it. It’s my sanctuary, and my little patch of the outside world. It’s where I go to plant seeds with my daughter in spring and watch them grow. It’s where we go, wrapped up in warm towels, after a bath to look up at the moon. It’s where we – if we’re lucky and the slugs don’t get there first – eat warm red tomatoes straight off the vine in summer and pick blackberries from the heavy boughs which overhang the wall in early autumn. It’s a habitat for birds and insects, a space for my daughter to play and of course, a miniature kingdom for my cat.

Right now, bright sprays of hazy blue forget-me-nots are appearing in places I don’t recall planting any seeds. The tulips and alliums are poised and ready to burst open into May. Delicate white blossom snows down from the tree over the wall and the elder and the ash grow above it all, side by side, like a pair of wily old ladies who’ve decorated themselves with young, budding, green leaves, ready for the big party. The herb garden is sweetly fragrant after the spring rain and plentiful enough to start harvesting for cooking again.

Everything is on the up.

Even so, it always takes my body a while to shrug off the last of winter. Even as Beltane approaches, I often still want to be curled up with a book under a duvet for another few weeks.

So, now that the ground is drying and the dawn coming earlier, one of the first things I do every day, without fail, is go outside.

As I empty the kitchen peelings and cuttings into the compost bin and top up the bird feeders, I breathe in the dewy dawn air and glimpse the sunrise over the neighbouring allotments.

I take a moment to notice the ferns unfurling and the birdsong and the mist and the soft colours of the morning sky, full of mystery and promise.

If only for a moment, I close my eyes, pause, and reset.

It reminds me to be grateful for the day.