The heart of the matter

The poem below is one that is included in my book of poems  – Dancing in puddles with the Cailleach. I wrote it in response to the removal of words relating to nature from the Junior Oxford Dictionary. The words highlighted in the first verse are words that were removed. The words in the second verse are words that have been added to the dictionary as more relevant.


My mother taught me their names

I know them as old friends.

The ash, the beech, the chestnut.

I sucked sugar from the clover flowers,

greedily searched through brambles

to pick the ripe blackberries

with juice that dyed my hands.

I tested my friends for butter with the 

bright buttercup flower,

used coconut scented gorse blossom

to dye the eggs at Easter.

But now, if I was a child

my dictionary would not describe that world.

Instead, surrounded by conflict and vandalism

and lost to the nurturing peace of Nature,

I would be able to classify, but what?

Not the ancient trees along the field edge,

the flowers that carpet the meadow.

I would know of endangered species

but be unable to name those in front of my eyes.

I could identify emotion

but not the feeling of desolation

that leaves my world without names.

©  Jenny Methven  2016




The different worlds of the lane are fascinating – the creatures, large and small, the plants and their uses.




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