Mother Earth, Nature’s Child – by Paul Swatridge
The River Wriggle was its name.
Snaking through meadows
beneath whitebeam and alder,
it babbled over shingle beds speaking to noone.
Its still pools lazing under earth banks and tree roots;
dark, mysterious and murky with secrets.
Minnows and sticklebacks, pebbles brown and black,
Soft mud and sandbanks patterned by birds’ feet;
moorhen, kingfisher, coot and wren.
Weed- strewn bushes tell of treacherous floods.
Willow herb and meadowsweet choke the water’s edge
and me, with their rank scent.
Nature boy saw all but knew not these words.
He was part of the river and breathed its rhythm.
I know how it flowed for its own sake.
But he gave it life with his vision –
Painting its colours in glorious hues
he moistened its juices and heightened its essence
to fit his fantastic imaginary world;
places without time, without rules, without boundaries,
where he sailed galleons, fought pirates and found buried treasure.
And even on waking from heroic dreams,
he experienced a merging with the blues, browns and greens
into unbridled luxurious sensuousness.
Feelings too foreign and dangerous to share
with the grown-ups’ thin grey disciplined world.
So as I connect with my nature’s child
through a deadening veil of enforced adaptation;
like a blind man regaining his original vision
or an artist’s moment of pure inspiration,
I am touched by my radiant nature boy.
Like the touch of a goodnight kiss on the cheek,
as nurturing as my mother’s own milk,
he calles me softly with a distant voice.
Oh Mother Earth – I thought I had lost him forever.