Laptop in woodland

Poems for the Anthropocene


We will take our devices to the fields,
press play,
watch lapwings tumble
over scrapes of nests
and hear them irritate the sky,
capitulate to crows,
become specimens of lost archives
on temporary display.

We will take our devices to the woods,
press play,
listen to willow warblers
synthesising caterpillars into song,
their tiny bones an instrument
transmitting continental shift.
We will watch them become pixilated
amongst emergent leaves.

We will take our devices to the sea-cliffs,
press play,
look down onto ledges
where kittiwakes embarked on stiff-winged
flight, buoyant correspondents of oceanic
speculation – Leucothea, white goddess,
sweet-eyed feathered thing sent to save Odysseus
from the chaos of the sea.

We will take our devices to the field,
press play,
because we were not looking at the field,
because the field is an empty repository
and we must remember how the field was filled.
The field meanwhile, is waiting,
waiting while we press rewind,
play again.

These poems were first published by Wayleave Press in 2020 in my pamphlet titled Self Portrait as Ornithologist.