Poem of the Month

Harebushes Wood by Clare Finnimore

‘Too humid on our coast.

Due to leave in April,

but no flights to Madras’

he says

Dark skin

disappearing into green.

Oak, beech, hornbeam, lime

ash, alder, quickthorn, pine

emerald, khaki, olive, jade

roots, branches, nettles, ferns

Scents of wild garlic draw me on.

‘You can follow me’

His voice on rustling leaves

interrupting Celtic spirits

hiding in the wood

too ancient to name.

Woodwhoses, cool verdigris, toadstool and moss

casting the spell.

‘Swop me your dream’

he says.

The sycamore beckons

with Sisters Wood and Ragged Hedge,

May’s stage is set.

Then on a sudden, light and space

sheep mown grass

the wider path.

Tarbarrow cricket pitch

and neat pavilion.

Its own amphitheatre

with no crowd.

He talks Tamil names and horses

his mare and geldings

having no exercise.

Then descending further down again

the two paths cross.

‘Safer’ he says

‘Safer this way’

and ‘Here.’

Children’s voices breaking in

I hear cycles in the wood

singing, laughter and the sound of cars.

Through the needle barrier my dog and I,

Stumbling almost onto road

the quiet lane now a dual carriageway

I look around, but he is gone.