These primroses are on a bank with bluebells, ferns, and red campion, along the steep road by the stream down to Bucks Mills, near Clovelly and Hartland in North Devon, where on Sunday I read at the Bucks Mills Poetry Festival with Deborah Harvey.
Deborah, whose fourth collection from Indigo Dreams is coming soon, read from earlier collections. Many of the poems had come from walks on Dartmoor. In one of these she encounters a snake with whom she feels a sense of sisterhood. In a more recent poem we were back in the Bristol area hearing from the undiscovered body of DJ Derek, who went missing in 2015 and whose remains went unfound for nine months.
Among the flowers and birdsong on this sunny May Bank Holiday afternoon , we were both rehabilitating unpopular creatures. I read from the allotment section of The Ladies and Gentlemen of the Dead but also some new poems, including the one below, which first appeared in the Spring 2019 edition of Raceme magazine. We were graciously and generously hosted by Merlynda Robinson and her partner Nigel of The Bucks Mills Gallery and The Bucks Mills Poetry Magazine who ran this very full and interesting festival all through the weekend.
Wasp mid air
In the black and yellow plates
of your waisted fuselage,
gyroscopic and able to stay
in one place still flying,
you are neat as a samurai.
But they do not love how you
hang and zigzag on just one tune,
the flamboyance of your antennae
or how your mandibles, almost prim
can make a paper fortress.
My book, admittedly quite old now
even calls you imperfect female
as if your chromosomal balance
had been tilted out of true.
For myself, I salute how you juggle
globes of dew on early mornings
unerringly find sugar anytime.
And this overheated summer I hope
for a fat plummy autumn when you
and your sisters will dance on fruit.