Knowing My Place
If I stood still, I would take root
in this greasy silty clay, with its stiff
orange ribbons of subsoil, although
the rabbits have eaten the green
shoots of broccoli, and eelworm cysts
infest the spuds. It feels like war
with blight and rain, and things
that bite and gnaw and suck
the sap from root and stem, but also
a bright festival of leaf and flower
and fruit, of taste and colour, lavish
harvests – courgette plants pumping
balloons of juicy green, potatoes
big enough for mice to nest in,
beans in twining clusters of more
and more and more until the frost.
This bright May morning is full
of hawthorn bloom, curse-words
from Paddy’s plot, and harsh thin shrieks
of baby kestrels in their nest.
I smell of mud and woodsmoke,
and there’s dirt beneath my nails.
I am dishevelled as a haggard,
and I am here, in my own place.
Elizabeth Rimmer is a poet, editor for Red Squirrel Press, and occasional translator. She has published three collections of poetry with Red Squirrel Press, Wherever We Live Now, in 2011, The Territory of Rain, in September 2015, and Haggards (2018). She is working on her next collection Burnedthumb, (February 2021). She has also published a translation of the Anglo-Saxon Charm of Nine Herbs. Her website is burnedthumb.co.uk