I’d expected the land to be silent,
For willows to weep and doves to mourn.
Yet larks sang, rising over acres
Of emerald green winter wheat
And bare fields sown with a million flints
Shattered by behemoth harrow and plough.
I’d expected rain, at the very least;
Tempestuous clouds letting rip
With a deluge to drown us all.
Yet the sky is merely grey and dull,
The usual March dampness to the air,
And the temperature hovering at mild.
I’d expected signs and portents
Speaking of grim days to come,
Harbingers of doom,warning us.
But only a confused owl hooted in a copse,
Awoken by smaller birds, squabbling,
Fighting for territory and for mates.
I’d expected the little river to be
Cloudy with mud and debris
From passing storms upstream,
Yet it flowed clear and fresh,
And I found myself expecting the kingfisher,
Sticklebacks and the elusive dipper.
When we go, nature will not mourn or miss us.
She will sigh with relief like a hurricane.
A few generations of cats and dogs
May remember us vaguely,
Fondly even, and with regret,
Before going from feral to truly wild.
I will seize that ice-cold comfort,
Clutch it to me as a child might,
That life and the land go on,
Even when the world, for me,
Has shattered irreparably and forever;
I am bereft but I still stand.
© Vivienne Tuffnell March 29th 2017
(this poem appeared in The New European newspaper a few weeks ago)