Christian Ward

Oak processionally moth 

Thaumetopoea processionea

Its caterpillars march 
in a funeral procession,
leaving behind furry igloos
as a gift for the mourners.
The oak tree sheds its bark
out of grief for its children —
how they will never know peace
with the caterpillars' feast.
Never stroke one, unless 
you want your skin to turn
the colour of gravestones.
And, at the end of their wake,
they sleep in purpose-built
catacombs, lullabied by screams
of the oak trees hacking 
themselves to pieces. 
The smart funeral directors
in velvet grey top hat and tails
have no comment when asked,
flying off to find other clients
while the entire family of trees
weeps and weeps and weeps.
How many times have I witnessed
this metaphor leap off the page
and into my tear drenched hands?

The Obligatory May Poem

The sky opens windows
to freshen its blue sheets,
let out a cooling breeze.
Birdsong is pinned to a washing line.
Spring is a slideshow 
played in a continuous loop
in its living room. We are the strange
shadows clambering up the trees
for a look at a better life
away from winter's strife, the dry heat
of summer sweating out faults
like long-forgotten drafts. 

This Electric Night

Wicker man pylons
face the seasons alone.
The sky burns with guilt.