Dragon, Damsel, Dance and Fly!

I love how synchronicities work. This week’s poem began as a creative writing warm up exercise with my fellow Word Alchemists last Saturday. In an exercise called “Word Salad” I haul out my mammoth Oxford English Dictionary and randomly pick six words I literarily close my eyes, open a page, twirl my finger in the air and then light down onto the page. Once we have six words, I challenge us to use all of them in a quick piece of timed writing. It is fun. It can be ridiculous. It can also be quite illuminating as you make formerly unseen connections.

One of those random words was Odonata, which refers to that order of flying insect life that includes the example of dragon and damsel flies. I am very fond of both who zip in and out of our lives. One dragonfly once buzz bombed me down our lane while walking the dogs. Another hummed around the polyutunnel one day as I was tending the tomato plants. In my more fey moments I think of them as the way fairies morph for transport in a way that won’t startle the humans, kind of like a Fairy Aeroflot.

So I had reworked the Saturday effort for this week’s poem when in walks my husband to present me with an aromatherapy necklace with a dragonfly on it!

Dragonfly Aromatherapy Necklace

Tony was completely unaware of what was emerging from my notebook’s scribblings and crossings out. He chose it principally because I like purple and it amuses him to think he is living with a dangerous (b)older woman who wears a lot of purple. Please do check out the Jenny Joseph poem that he is alluding to….https://www.scottishpoetrylibrary.org.uk/poem/warning/

BTW, I also like its complimentary colour of yellow and have added a rather fetching mustard boyfriend cardigan to my 2021 wardrobe. Sometimes you just to have to stop living and go online shopping instead, to paraphrase the BB King song.

In any context, I always feel that dragonflies and damselflies bring some magic into life. What one of us could not do with a sprinkling of magic into our days these days? For (b)older people like myself who will have to wait a while for our Covid vaccination, we have a fairly long stretch in Lockdown Land for the foreseeable future.

The Dragons and Damsels Dance and Fly

The cranes are dancing in Japan...

Where would they deign to create a folkdance
to celebrate the order Odonata?
Where would we see them zip and pond dip
in costumes of emerald and peacock blue?
See the damsels curtsey to brother dragon.
They do not jeté or  or swank about 
in Swan Lake chorus line. They still  dance and fly.

When summer feels a one ten thousandths
polar distance away...
Oh, when will we meet again at crossroads
to sing and dance on St. John's Eve?
When shall we see familiar faces flickering
on  that midsummer Bonfire Night?
For now, we remain horror-struck
in a wind chill factor wintertime.

The cranes are dancing in Japan
in the snow, where they bow and bow
their necks, issuing the invite
to their fellows to do-si-do.

Copyright © Bee Smith, 2021. All rights reserved.

Featured image Photo by Erik Karits on Unsplash

Re-wild! Long Live the Weeds!

Our acre and a quarter of West Cavan is sort of split-level. The house is higher up and there is a slope down into the acre that my husband is gradually gardening in sections. There is a polytunnel and raised beds for vegetables and beds for perennial flowers and shrubs.(We love heucheras!) Although we have always kept the garden wild-ish, we are fully on board with gardening the Mary Reynolds way. The Chelsea Show award winner had a metanoia about how traditional gardening is destroying the environment. We have never used pesticides or herbicides on our acre from the time we first settled here seventeen years ago. For that we are richly rewarded in the insect and wildlife that shares our acre and a quarter of West Cavan.

Yesterday we were sitting outside the house in the sunshine for ‘tea on the terrace’ (newly gravelled by Gardener Cuckson) with friends. My friend Jo who lives in Leitrim commented on how she always hears the hum of bees in our garden. And how silent of them many gardens are these days. Then an insect flew in to share our conversation. I ran to get my Collins Irish Wildlife. After much deliberation we reckon it was a rare Downy Emerald dragonfly. Although as we considered over skimmer or dragonfly, my friend said, “Fairy!”

Let the weeds live
Downy Emerald Dragonfly perching in windowbox

My friend wants to re-wild her garden, but commented that the neighbours would not take kindly to her ditching her lawn. The seed bombs of meadow flowers would migrate over fences. “But it is good for the bees!” To which she said the neighbour would be worried about their children being stung.

Which says a lot about how we will shield children from a bee sting but not consider their long-term welfare. Even if wiping out the bees means that said child and grandchildren may face starvation because there are not enough bees to pollinate crops in future generations.

Which leads me to a quotation that I happened upon serendipidously this morning.

Rare Dragonflies and Bees

"Long live the weeds and wilderness yet!"
We live to the tune and the humming of bees.
Still do. Re-wild your lawn! Plant some trees!
There is medecine and power to be had from weeds.
Create an ark. Give sanctuary to dragonflies and bees.

Copyright © 2019 Bee Smith. All rights reserved.