The hawthorn hedges have, in a week, changed from a barrier of dry, rustling twigs to a living green glory of unfolding small notched leaves. The catkins are dropping pollen in a drifting golden haze which, in my case, provokes reddened eyes and hideous sneezing attacks. All over the garden and surrounding countryside are green pokings through the soil, bud swellings, joyous, manic birdsong at dawn, skippings of silly lambs. Spring is in full flood. The orchard here has metamorphosed from the dull green of snow-flattened grass, to a carpet of tiny, delicate purple crocuses with golden hearts, to the brash, bold yellow of thrusting daffodils almost in the time it has taken to write this sentence. I walk in a permananent amazement at the sheer energy of Nature, and as I walk, as sometimes happens, words come. I craft them and turn them until I am satisfied with the result. This is how it felt, today, to walk, to march out of winter into a Northamptonshire spring in 2009.
I breathe green spring into winter blood,
see silent white spear of aircraft thrown through blue sky,
hear rattling of sere grass and dead twigs,
feel straitjacket buds tighten round bursting leaf life,
holding it in vital check.
The weathercock windhover is pointing out
an absolute silence before rain,
as see-saw seagulls follow sown seed drills
above mole brown fields.
Silver water glints a baptism on clogged ditches,
while distant tractor spreads an abandon of silage.
March wind roars twisting in my seashell ear,
as smells of damp, deserted strawpile,
rank fern-russet musk of lustful fox,
sudden rainfall on dry roads and earth,
pungent haze of hedgelayer’s bonfire smoke
rise and mingle into one short, scented moment.
Winged flurry of passing migrant birds on old pasture,
an urgent nursery gossip of garrulous rooks,
the flitting dip and drum tattoo of the redcap yaffle,
hoof-high horses with new grass in their manes,
battleboat grey clouds and sunshine hotchpotch farmland,
a sharpness of flashing spires cutting tumbling rounded hills—
this third millennium springtime still surprises England.
copyright Lucy Coats 2009