YARNER by Graham Burchell
A place of dryad and hamadryad,
there are eyes here by the million.
Many divert to watch me. Threatened,
they pause, cut short their song, stop
feeding, mating, working the cycle
of dispersion, growth and decay.
Their fortress is birch and oak
that rodded out of bilberry
and bent for the light
whilst alders drank
from the stew pond and Woodcock Stream.
Brimstone butterflies maybe messengers
but the lords of here are ants.
They carpet the fallen, severed
and all flesh that dares to linger.
For a heady moment
I am returned to Northern Peru,
to a brown Amazonian tributary,
home of bites, parasites, piranha
and rain-swallowed screams.
In Yarner, forest on a hill, life teems too
under a canopy of apparent calm;
late spring afternoon’s dream.
The unseen butchery is secret:
Insider whispers; death no louder,
no less lovely than abruptly silenced hearts.