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Green sheets

entry picture

The fields are laundered sheets,

ironed and smoothed across the dale,

tucked under walls for the comfort of sheep,

clean green cloths that veil

the messiness of former days

when vetch outstretched untrammelled tendrils

randomly grappling floriferous sprays

of meadowsweet; when spangles 

of cuckoo-spit sparkled 

blobbish on stems of raggéd robin;

when there was miscellany; when buttercups speckled

rank meadows and curlews hung sobbing 

while farmers poisoned the lot,

ploughed out the warp and harrowed the weft.

Hunger for bumblebees. No nooks for newts.

The pallet where plovers once laughed

now rinsed of perfume and pressed,

monocropped in perennial rye.

A dearth of artistry expressed

in green chemical dye.

I miss the raw fecundity, 

the wonderful slovenly flobber of froth, 

eruptions of colour and manifest fantasy

from wildflowers that filled the troughs

between the hills, the plains

and pastures blemished where the flesh

of nature deposited troublesome stains.

My lust now is for redress: 

I want these fabrics sullied,

splatted with splashes of cuckoo flower,

smeared in cowslips, red clover bloodied,

ingrained to the subsoil layer.

Let us ruck up this smoothness.

Let’s wreak an impossible ravel of blossom. 

Bring back abandon. Bring back the rudeness.

Reignite the passion!


◄ Gestures

Anastasia rises ►


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Uilleam Ó Ceallaigh

Thu 11th May 2023 23:05

Thanks for the clarification Tim; no fault of yours.

Some of my most beautiful memories as a 5-6 yr old are of picnicking in the sun with our mum and my sister in fields full of buttercups and bluebells on the moors above our home.
Precious memories of the precious gift of nature.
You have my full support.

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Tim Ellis

Thu 11th May 2023 22:44

Thanks for your comments both Stephens, John, Uilleam & Kevin. Uilleam, you are welcome to post links under my poems as far as I’m concerned although others might not appreciate it. I use poetry quite a lot to express social, environmental and political opinions and speaking for myself I’m happy for my blog to be used as a forum to discuss any ideas. I have in fact written a few poems in the past about hen harriers and raptor persecution, and I once performed at a Hen Harrier Day protest rally. I fear though that you may have somewhat misinterpreted the line “while farmers poisoned the lot” (possibly my own fault!) I’m referring to the practice of “improving” biologically diverse ancient pasture by spraying weedkiller then ploughing and reseeding with a single high yielding grass species, which destroys breeding habitat for ground nesting birds such as curlews. I’m not suggesting that farmers deliberately poison curlews.

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Stephen Gospage

Thu 11th May 2023 22:01

Splendid, Tim. An absolute tour de force and a wake-up call.

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Uilleam Ó Ceallaigh

Thu 11th May 2023 16:58

On second thoughts, just point out which bits you disaprove of, and I'll delete them.

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Uilleam Ó Ceallaigh

Thu 11th May 2023 16:32

Hi Kevin.
Could you please explain what you mean by "spam the comments"?
Are you refering to what I have written on this particular post (Tim's)?
Thank you.

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Uilleam Ó Ceallaigh

Thu 11th May 2023 09:46

Thanks for that Tim. I can almost smell the vegetation, and feel the wind on my face.

"...rank meadows and curlews hung sobbing
while farmers poisoned the lot,"
Suspicions have been raised for several decades, that the forces of law and order have been turning a blind eye to the activities of "the hang'em, shoot'em and flog'em brigade".


A new RSPB study published today in Biological Conservation shows that annual survival of Hen Harriers in Britain is unusually low, and that illegal killing is a dominant cause of death, accounting for up to 75% of annual mortality in some age classes of birds.

It provides convincing evidence that illegal killing is primarily associated with areas managed for Red Grouse shooting, indicating the widespread and ongoing role that persecution on some grouse moors continues to play in limiting modern-day raptor populations in Britain.

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John Botterill

Thu 11th May 2023 09:01

Love this poem. The language is as vibrant as the nature you want returned. GREAT!

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Stephen Atkinson

Wed 10th May 2023 21:49


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