Earth Poem

By Helen Salsbury


Bats flittering in a twilight sky.


A deer,

holding still on an empty lane,

as with quiet cycle wheels,

I draw closer.


Birds I’ve never seen before,

on a tree I’ve watched through every season.


The way water flows and races,

cresting rocks, splashing white,

twisting, turning, falling,

then widening and flowing,

turning sleek,

gleaming green,

as it follows the call of the sea.

Which, when reached,

washes in,

washes out,

like breath.


The just perceptible mounding of soil,

which precedes the unbending of a seedling,

pushing through.



tall, short,

straight, bent,

slender, thick,

supple, creaking.

Steady hearted.

Opening arms and leaves,

ready to dance with the wind.


Mountain tops where, in memory, I stand,

almost flying over the landscape,

feeling the clean air rush away my human grief,

touching finger-tips to the surface of rocks,

whose peaks and crevasses, jags and cracks, tell me:

all this has happened before,

and before and before.


And look, we’re still here.


Inspiration: Although this poem ranges in imagination further than I was able to do in lockdown, it was written during lockdown, and many of the observations took place then: a side effect of quieter roads and a quieter, more reflective me. It’s a taste of what got me through, of what always gets me through.


Pens of the Earth is about encouraging writers to celebrate existing environmental initiatives, and to imagine what might be.

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Image by Gerson Rodriguez from Pixabay.

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