Two environmental poems

Parmelia sulcata

(common name: powdered shield lichen)



I love the air that’s fresh and free,

All about me

I’m Parmelia sulcata, I live on the side of a tree,

Well, it suits me

“A pile of old mould”, I hear you say

No. I’m leafy and green and patterned with grey


In winter snow, through summer haze

You never come to sing my praise

My beauties are discrete and small

And so no one ever comes at all


Different species share in my strange love affair

Lover and beloved, I am he and I am she






In the space between trees

A friend of my Mum’s was a lumberjack and he told her that every tree that he cut down, he could hear it cry.



Wind blows the humans past

Surely they move too fast to think?

Do their roots taste the soil?

Can their skin feel the moist air?

Yet, one stands before me,

And I feel as if it has thoughts.


When Spring comes, my Mind spreads outwards,

To glow with the others, in the life-movement

My roots touch the nearby Oak.

My branches shelter the tiny flying things.

This soil is good.

This air is pure.


A leaf drops in the wood and we all feel its movement

Joined by Mosses and Lichens,

I dance in the soft wind,



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