In rude health, almost obscene –
this full leaf, wet-look, already lit
with hundreds of candles, spikes
of pinkish white flower, all bursting
from a yellowy basal blaze –
it’s only early May
but this unstressed spread and shade
forsakes nothing at the roadside,
standing trunk-centred through swirls –
the wind in heat, hankering
for gusts of rain, for nut-heaviness,
to bleed canker and know leaf scars.
Matt Howard lives in Norwich, where he works for the RSPB. His first full poetry collection, “Gall”, was published by the Rialto in 2018 and won the East Anglian Book Award for Poetry.
[See also: The NS Poem: Ties]
This article appears in the 24 Mar 2021 issue of the New Statesman, Spring special