Parallel Texts

Under each leaflet of a bracken frond
The spores are as neatly herring-boned
As filaments in a moth’s antenna
Or vanes on a pigeon’s quill.

I wrote these images on a bramble leaf.
The ink dried slowly, glistening in relief,
Black juice on chlorophyll.
I could have gone on writing
But the green page was full.


A seed on a parachute lingers in air,
White node of spun-glass fibres
Nearly too slight to fall.
In the midst of invisible light
It is fleeting and small
As a sun-struck second of time.

A sudden bird-arrow splits it,
Brushes it sideways, downwards, out of my sight.
Was it swallow or swift,
That fleet-winged dark air-cutter quick as a thought?
The first bird or the last
To empty our summer of their flight?

I will remember them both
Glimpsed at the crossing of their songlines,
The taut wings and the loitering seed,
The streamlined purpose plumed with grace
And the least occupant of space,
The strong-willed migrant and the exquisite weed.

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