Frontier

An estate of orange brick,
gouged into the moor.
A new world being hacked,
a clearing amongst the chimneys and cobbles,
and we were the first to chart it.

Life boiled.
Partridges in the thick grass near the tip
exploding upwards in a clatter of wings
as we tramped with nets to the small brook
choked with bullheads and sticklebacks and newts
as dragonflies hawked and hummed over our heads.

We roamed, hot blooded, over back gardens
turned to jungle in houses unfinished.
Hot summer of 1976
Mothers gave us empty jam jars,
which soon, inside the thick glass,
were green and hot and sticky
with life that crawled and buzzed and writhed.

A baby bird fell from a zinc garage roof,
sprawled naked and ugly
on the tarmac drive.
We fussed over it all day
returning with worms we dug out of flower beds,
pressed into its clamouring mouth with muddy fingers
till belly bursting, neck gaping, mouth stretching,
it died.

One day I found a cloud of spider babies,
thousands of specks of life unfolding endlessly within,
stars in a galaxy.
I held them, then a gust of wind.
I watched as
one by one,
they floated up and away
on strands of silk.

– Lee Garratt

Middle aged high school English teacher, living in Derby, England. I’ve had the odd poem and story published here and there.

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