Silver Branch series

 Jane Lovell 

Jane Lovell's latest collection is The God of Lost Ways (Indigo Dreams publishing), which was joint winner of the Geoff Stevens Memorial prize (2020). This Tilting Earth, winner of the Mslexia prize, was published by Seren in 2018. Jane also writes for Dark Mountain and Elementum Journal. She is Writer-in-Residence at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve.

Twitter: @wordcurlz

FB: jane.lovell.3760  

https://janelovellpoetry.co.uk

Spill

Snow and salt-ice melt and pool

on tracts of frozen sea.

Pools bloom with algae and bacteria

carried in waves,

            in dust-storms from Siberia,

                        in rain falling.

Brimming sunlight,

they spill their teeming slicks to krill

and copepods, amphipods, fish, seals

and whales

            and deeper still,

to seabed dwellers, hidden feeders,

brittle stars.

 

Below the pools, the sea-ice darkens,

feeds on scattered light.

Published in 'Deep Time 2', Black Bough poetry 2020

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Map of Disko Bay 1925

Stitched into seal skin,

a patchwork of islands carved from driftwood,

their colours sea-bleached stored light

depicting stone, leaf, shore.

 

Between them, the carcass of a boat tilts

in the tide, its buckled timbers

saturated oak heft from heartwood,

                                                its core

the light of ancestors:

scattered shadows thrown across the warm earth

of another world, and those it sheltered

gone to bone.

Published in 'Deep Time 2', Black Bough poetry 2020

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Walrus Tusk with Scrimshaw, 1912–1916

 

Baffin Island, Nunavut

 

Ways of the caribou,

herds of caribou, scored in enamel;

 

bays and lakes, lagoons and hills,

uncharted mountains sunk in mists,

the line of coast

                        a faltering scratch

surfacing where the waves come in,

their rinse across stone only imagined;

 

and in the foreground angular dogs

dragging a sled across a fissured ocean

dwarfed by whales.

Published in 'Deep Time 2', Black Bough poetry 2020

"I choose my words carefully. An essential element of nature poetry, for me, is that it is grounded in science and natural history, that it is anchored, to some degree, in fact. In the same way that I collect natural objects, I gather information, essays and images from all over the world: myriad minutiae, details that may later be woven into the texture of a poem."

Originally published in edition 4 of Elementum Journal.

Pheasant

 

He will not blend with stone,

displays himself resolutely,

buffeted as he is, tousled

and leaf-bombed by gales

of passing traffic,

 

one glazed eye

in that perfectly-combed brow

oblivious to the broken

terracotta, charcoal,

bone of him

 

and the spindles of his wings

opening and closing

as if some strange semaphore

could summon the gods

to resurrect him.

Exclusive to the 'Silver Branch' series.

From 'The God of Lost Ways' (2020), Indigo Dreams.

The wings kill me

 

The wings kill me,

folded like that

as if to fend off light,

 

her skull between my fingers

- a blackcap's pale egg -

such a fragile thing,

its smudged pigment

                        calcite bloom.

 

Once she was all beak

                        and desperate,

soft as soot, soft as the dark.

 

Now, legs snapped stalks,

her whole being is papered in

and balanced on its keel,

                        ribs a coracle

floundering in a sea

of black space.

 

Above her

lost days tilt bright and

                        unreachable

at the chimney's edge.

 

Oh the song she'll never sing,

the softest song held like a prayer

in her silent form.

Exclusive to the Silver Branch project.

From 'The God of Lost Ways' (2020), Indigo Dreams.

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Perspective in a Hare's eye

 

Skyline erupts into tree, backlit and spilling

its own horizon across a perfect black moon,

an anti-matter moon brimming

 

deep pool silence: a world where nothing moves

till a thousand fathoms down, blunt and primeval,

they drift at you, curious at your veins fizzing,

 

your mouth yielding glassy planets of air.

Jaws champ, lamp-eyes drift back into blackness.

The moment holds you in its ocean.

 

This is the place where no one will find you:

no one sees you, except the hare, sudden

and skyswept, poised on a grassblade of decision.

 

Published in 'Deep Time' 1 edition. Black Bough 2020.

First published in Bare Fiction Magazine.

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