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In Scotland, we had some fantastic Spring weather - unfortunately followed by a sudden return to wintery gloom! This happens here! It reminded me of this poem which I wrote when we were living in a remote part of the West Highlands - when the weather has far more of an impact as the environment is far more intimately connected to those living so vividly in the wild. This poem centres on a gigantic horse chestnut but encompasses all the signs of spring which were damaged by the reversal in the weather. Hope you enjoy!

The Chestnut Aches

Gillian_ferguson_photo_high_resby Gillian K Ferguson27 Apr 2014

The Chestnut aches,
holding up his heavy candelabras
in the rain.

Chronic rain.

Struggling white torches
offering refugee light
passage through slated air.

Only yesterday, the sky was electric,
fundamental blue -
crackling with coruscating Spring atoms.

There was wild dancing in the hedgerows!
Frothing Hawthorn frilly, party-frocked.
Pink Campion, so sweet in candy bows.
Owl eyes of nervous yellow Poppies
looking everywhere at once.
Fizzy sunshine brimming
hosts of lacquered Buttercups.

Punky Dandelions with immaculate hair
burst into dazzling smiles.
Acidic Broom lit his festive strings of citric bulbs
to celebrate the country, newly opened for the season:
shimmering still with damp shine -
silvery Spring spirit: smelling divine.

Now the night-coloured, hirpling old crow
croaks ugly disgruntlement across the field,
bemoaning his need for a hip replacement.

When only yesterday Mrs Cuckoo amused all day -
her one joke honed to perfection, funny monotony.
Scrums of swallows were insane with too much life,
perfectly pitching tuning-fork tails to Spring’s blue
movement - instantly zooming to Heaven and back.

Snare drums of rain rouse the nightmare bracken crooks -
conjured from fallen russet ghosts. A ruthless green army
raised overnight. Occupying force - leaving no survivors.
Uncurling arthritically to stiff attention; marching in dense,
close formation to conquer the hill - the last flimsy hostage
bluebells freeing ethereal violet spirits into air before death.

When yesterday their kin showed everywhere - symbolic
breathing of resuscitated earth: so plain in this violet veil
of flowers that even humans saw. Daffodils had sprung up
jostling, squeaking like gossiping mice - dressed as always
in fussy, antique, Sunday poke-bonnets: such a good natured
mob, massed for their annual sunshine polish. They lie now
fractured – quadriplegic, crushed; dulled gold already rusting.

My heart had opened like just another flower,
laughing in young wind - remembering how.
Punch-drunk on that buttercupped sunshine -
pumping up her startling poppy-colour - aorta-red,
to a hurrying drum: the wild and simple music,
whereby everything must dance.
Oxygen-bright; primed for the green spring piccolo,
humming summer violin which plays all night
through endless Scottish light, under milk-simmered stars.
Autumn’s aching golden cello to come.

Now returning to plum-muscled bud,
sucking blue stem: scarlet winter dream-
nub in the dark. Endorphin hibernation.

The only lights attending Spring’s funeral,
her untimely death in a dreich cloud pyre -
the rheumatic Chestnut aches and weeps,
holding up his heavy candelabras in the rain.