• Filter
Friday poem: all creatures great and small

Friday poem: all creatures great and small

Friday, 24 October 2014

No one can lure us into noticing the natural world the way Jen Hadfield does in this remarkable, hypnotic poem. We’re not just offered a close-up of that tiny, persistent, oldest living whatever in the world, we’re aligned with it – taken down to rock level to participate in the attention it’s paying us. Huge, tiny and symbiotic, her words belong to both plant and human worlds. Like the lichen, they seem to grow from the page that anchors them. Notice how that simple, alliterative first couplet mimics the slow passage of time then opens out into a poem of startling language and imagery that leaves us wiser, larger, more watchful and more befuddled.

John Glenday


Who listens
like lichen listens

assiduous millions of black
and golden ears?

You hear

and remember

but I’m speaking
to the lichen.

The little ears prunk,
scorch and blacken.

The little golden
mouths gape

Byssus by Jen Hadfield 'Lichen' is published Jen Hadfield's collection Byssus, which has been shortlisted for the Saltire Society Poetry Book of the Year. John Glenday's poetry collections include The Apple Ghost, Undark, and  Grain.

Get our Friday poem straight to your inbox.

Photograph © John Lodder / flickr.com

Friday, 24 October 2014 by Rosanna Boscawen with 0 comments
Filed under: conversation, Friday poem, nature

Related blog posts

Blog post currently doesn't have any comments.

You need to be a registered member to contribute.

You can login here or sign up now.


Create Account

Login with your social networks

Log in with Facebook


Forgotten password?