HONEY PUMP GHAZAL
After Joseph Beuys & Bee United! Malls Mire Community Wood, Glasgow
In all directions there is flowing honey –
& here in the wood, community is bonding with honey.
Listen! Nettle minarets are rising from Winter’s muddy wreckage
as small, feathered muezzins call prayers sweeter than honey.
From scrubby Hawthorns green scriptures are unfolding,
& over them jaws of browsing Deer move smoothly as honey.
Where Urban Roots have set up hives, worker Bees return
with dusty yellow legs & stomachs full of honey.
As on many Glasgow days, Sun and rain come and go –
the steamy warmth like Bees fanning water from honey.
Once the wild boys of Govanhill, Amir, Kamal, Sajid volunteer
to raise marquees, while laughter spreads like honey.
Dressed in a furry black & yellow suit, young Abdullah clowns
with childish puns – raw Weegie humour ripening like honey.
Through the trees children’s carefree leaping over logs
is a supple rise & fall like the yearly cycle of honey.
Around the wood, people forage fresh, tender edibles
as kids pick up litter – a give-back that’s savoured like honey.
My hand-carved spoon is by turns in every child’s hand –
mixing wild herb pakora like the hive making honey.
Gathered in a circle, neighbours of faith & none are stirred
by the spell of Qur’an – Madinah’s recitation potent as honey.
Expectant faces round the fire, & the healing power of honey
an ecopoet admires. In all directions we are one with honey.
RETIRED BOOTS IN SPRING
Boots you got me long ago will soon be sprouting blooms –
a pale pirouette of Crocuses, I think.
Late January, day nudging night into retreat, soft leaves
of Woodbine unbudding;
& where collars hugged my ankles, pale-green periscopes
now probe a foot of mulch.
Eyelets still stand proud on each, a pair of wobbly, brass ‘V’s;
but with laces gone, uppers cracked,
tongues darkly misshapen (like those of butchered Cattle),
what ways to honour foot-service
of more than twenty years, or creatures killed for meat
& for their skins?
Bundles of nerve-endings in both, these sorry, ticklish feet
went far so well enclosed –
high on Blencathra’s saddle in fierce winds, hailstones & Sun
they knew Skiddaw’s folds & peaks,
expansive snowy fells, the long, blue knives of shadow.
Often as we climbed, I’d fail to match
your stamina & stride, while struggling in those elements
I needed ground beneath my steps –
so this walking meditation, adapted from a line in Psalms:
To the hills I go from whence cometh my strength.
Evenings our boots would rest stuffed with yellow news
side-by-side beneath the aga. Then smearing them
with dubbin, your vigorous brush
assured their supple toughness.
Now only bulbs restore the spring to these retired boots,
while Crocus ballet will express all my love & thanks.