Natural editor reviews Bucks Mills gig

I’m getting ready for the Bucks Mills Festival on Sunday (on the coast near Bideford, Devon EX39 5DY) where I’m reading with Deborah Harvey. Appropriately enough for such a beautiful location, the themes are nature and place. 

I’m being assisted by Gem, a brindled cat of about twelve months old. She was found as a stray in a village a few miles south of Bristol. She’s very good at nature, which is probably how she survived, and is still very partial to beetles and so forth. She hates crows for some reason. However she has a natural flare for editorial assistance and likes the printer very much. Perhaps even more she likes the shredder. So she’s a wise creature. We should all use the shredder at least as much as the printer. Old drafts and failures all go in here and then the shreddings go in the compost, thus nourishing seedlings and providing organic matter for heavy clay soil.

I don’t mind crows at all. Another bird much maligned in the past is the buzzard. Gem in her wisdom would stay clear of buzzards. Here’s a poem written in Devon as sneak preview of the Bucks Mills Festival.

Through binoculars   

The buzzard turns
shakes off a rook

lifts clear of  birches
your magnified skyline

This spiralling is no figure
       but the life in death 
            of hunger

Fluent, cruciform
in the grey circle

that bird’s long-sighted art
       holds its focus
           does not let go


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