They picked the cherries

Mid January; low sun
Cold sun, weak rays
Refracted through murk;
Yet, the bounteous summer
Shines on our shop shelves –
Raspberries, strawberries
Flushed with nitrogen;
Boxed and batched
Shoulder to shoulder
In discounted ranks
Standing to attention
In New Year multi-buys.
The paths of commerce
Changing the Earth’s angle of tilt
Removing the seasons,
Removing nature’s harvest time;
Making the special, ordinary
Disconnecting us
From the orbit and amplitude
Of our home.

Down on the lay-by
Next to where the early morning
Mini-bus gathers up its
Crowded workers from their
Crowded flats,
Two girls, giggled
Slavic screams
Of joy, aimed up high;
One pulled the branch down,
The other, on tip-toes
Tipped the fruit into
Her upturned hem.
They picked the cherries
In the place they grow
Two for the pot, one for them.
They picked the cherries
Which we, in our wisdom
Let lie, go to waste
Bird food now, our riches
Squandered, for a January
Pavlova or March Eton Mess.


Today I saved a bee

Today I saved a bee.

Bouncing against the pane
With pain in his heart
From wisps of spider web
Cocooned around his legs;
Pollen flecks on fur-backed biceps
Going to waste, bound for nothing.
As he struggled, I could feel
His fatigue, his exhaustion;
As he struggled, I could sense
His desperation, his longing
To be free again –
A freedom
So enticingly near
Yet invisibly far.
Gently, I cupped him
In a chipped pattern-print mug
From Stoke or somewhere;
An unwanted charity letter
His temporary cell door.
Gently, I unravelled him
Disentangled his webbed feet
And let him fly
And with it, fly free my heart.