in the twenty-first century?
Unreptilian metaphors –
white paint spots
orange nail varnish
cannot capture his majesty.
When he comes to me
with his great tail-question
forefeet planted firmly on the floor
waxen crest waving like a dragon’s
and asks me to bear his progeny –
in back-leg leaf origami
to fold up our eggs
I am tempted by his
the colour of fire the setting sun
reminding me of his salamandrine past
in ponds and pools of the Jurassic
to make his lek my dwelling place and give birth to efts –
each with their unique belly-stamp only one
of each in this ever-burning universe
with a fire-tipped tongue give them
mystical names – Sun-Spotted, Fire-Born,
Gold-Eye, Dragon Crest, Alchemist.
He forgets I am a nun – instead
I promise to renew the pond-ways,
the pond-scape, the ecology of land
and language so he, his mate, his young
will inspire poetry here on and on.
*I recently started a conservation internship at Brockholes Nature Reserve and the task of the volunteer work party on Tuesday was building habitat heaps from alder logs. Later in the day, serendipitously, Lorna Bennett, the reserve officer, found a great crested newt along with approximately 20 adult and juvenile smooth newts, 2 juvenile toads, and 5 frogs whilst moving some old compost bags. These amphibians have been placed safely into a habitat heap to hibernate over winter before they emerge in spring and hopefully head to the new ponds to breed. The ponds were created for them by LWT’s work with Natural England to remedy the decline in great crested newts.
4 thoughts on “How to Speak of a Newt”
May the newts thrive in the ‘wildness and wet’ you have helped to create, and may there be words to bear witness to them in times to come.
I’m pleased to learn that you’re back out into the natural world again, making a difference by volunteering. I hope a paid position comes your way soon.
Congrats on the new gig!
A couple of months ago we found a common newt paddling in the water dish in the cat’s outdoor run, we moved it to a more suitable watery place before we brought the cat’s out. It was a very special encounter. These are truly magical creatures.