The Egret’s Way

I first saw an Egret (a little egret) from a train window. I was on my way to Cornwall, to meet an English Nature reserve warden. At the time, I was studying the heath fritillary butterfly, endangered through habitat loss, and exploring the use of a computer programme (a version of GIS) to identify nearby locations where the butterfly might prosper, were it to gain a foothold. The train to

Nature’s Bounty

Gardening gets you closer to nature. Being outdoors in the weather, noticing the chill of a breeze or the warmth of May sun, the natural world comes closer. Nature comes in all sort of guises – from the earthworms in the compost, the robin who bugs you to turn over soil, to the buzzard that cries overhead. A garden is a web of living, breathing entities, sharing the space in

Gull Gyre

Last week, I was talking to someone about how some poems come easy, and others take a while to work on and polish up, and I mentioned this poem to them at the time, so here it is. This poem, Gull Gyre, was remarkably easy to write, although I did spend time thinking it through beforehand. Driving to the garden centre one day, maybe a couple of weeks ago, I


The idea for this poem rests with something I wrote several years ago, and never knew what to do with. At the time, I coined the phrase that is the title for this poem, based on the idea of people watching life as led by others, as if watching life through a window. This voyeurism seemed somehow intriguing, and I liked the idea, only for my computer to completely crash,


Thinking about what’s important in life, there’s so much that can go on a list. Getting to the kernel of what it is that, looking back, you’d regret having wasted time on or perhaps neglecting this time around, is not that easy. Family, friends, adding to other people’s lives – enjoying your time here. Modern lives are complex, with plenty of need for compromise. Avoiding distraction is key to focussing


I spent time as a teenager working in woodlands, where I developed a love for trees and our natural world. Perhaps counter-intuitive, chopping down trees can be good for biodiversity and the woodland ecosystem, in properly managed coppice, for example. The cycle of growing wood, clearing and regenerating over centuries generated a system of life adapted or suited to these rhythms. This poem comes from that place; quiet and lonely,

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