Poem 18: I Will Never Beat the Bracken; A memory of April 2020 Spanish lockdown.


Wild Flower meadow

This poem is based on my April lockdown experience  in ‘splendid isolation’ at Navasola in Southern Spain and working outside close to nature.  I also wrote poetry and responded to a poetry competition on ‘Winning’. I didn’t expect to win but it was worth penning this poem. I have adapted it to my form of 26 lines for my 26 poem poetry challenge.

Here it is for Open Link Night at https://dversepoets.com/. Linda  presents this  prompt with the reminder that this was the day the Rolling Stones released their single ‘I Can’t Get No Satisfaction’ in 1965. Great memories!

‘You can’t always get what you want,but if you try, sometimes, you might find, you get what you need’ The Rolling Stones

I thought I wanted wild flower meadows instead of tall bracken but I got much needed exercise and distraction from pandemic anxieties!


I will never beat the bracken. 

The bracken has grown taller than me in just two days.

It seems that now my role in life is to beat this thing,

That leaves little space for wild flowers to grow.

A man fangled machine, at first, refuses to start.

Will I ever beat the bracken back with just a scythe.

A spluttered choke and I begin but will not win

Against the roots that run so deep within

Wet, red, leaf littered soil where chestnuts grow

So well, till drought dries out, and then

Another battle begins.

Who wins when no rain falls?


I control the blade

To not cut down in prime of life,

Stars of Bethlehem and Solomon’s Seal

Along this track to some forgotten Calvary

Where nature is the sacrifice.

When I retire at close of day,

I know who will return.

The owl for sure as now the way is clear

To kill the mouse with no shelter near.

The spanish robin too, just like our own

Keeps an eye on what is now laid bare.

The wild boar will come and plough

Without the thorny bramble there.


With these thoughts I win acclaim

But lose the game.


Star of Bethlehem







I did not want to be so far from family during the lockdown but there was little choice so I enjoyed the time spent working outside  and trying to cut back bracken and brambles in order to have some fire plan in a wild and overgrown valley.  In my head I wanted to protect old chestnut trees and the house, but I did not want to cut any flowers already growing as these would help in creating a wild flower meadow. Clearing bracken and brambles  makes it easier to pick the chestnuts that fall in late October.

Wild solomon’s seal







Some win and some lose in this conservation game.

The link to sponsor my poetry challenge is on the previous post if you would like to donate to conservation charities that help restore nature.



Poem 16: The Madroño Tree and the Two Tail Pasha; 26 Poem Challenge.

Greetings to all and to Dverse Poets on their 8th anniversary. Am linking this to open link night with Mish; https://dversepoets.com/   And really pleased to find Earthweal and their challenges with a nature focus; https://earthweal.com/

Life coming out of lockdown in Spain has been interesting and busy in many ways as we can now decide to go out more and visit friends and family.  Some normality but also it is very strange and strained too. We hope all is going well for so many of you in many different places.

There has also been more work to do on the finca as we finally been able to have help from others. There have been some blessings in our retreat from society but  sadness too as we are personally  touched by loss and at another loss as we watch and read too much incompetent managing of a health crisis.

.This poem on my 26 poem challenge is structured around my form of 26 lines, 12 for the tree and 12 for the butterfly and two finishing lines to comment on both. It is based on our experience of having to cut back some trees from the house and knowledge of butterfly habitats and the plants and trees they need.

The Madroño Tree and the Two Tail Pasha

Arbutus Unedo, Strawberry tree, Madroño

Today is trim time for trees

But not scissor light snips

More motor power and deep cuts

Ear muffs on for heavy chain whirs

If you could only keep your fine fans

Of branches away from our earth tiled roof

I would not feel the hurt of habitat loss

The screams of the leaves as they dash

Against the cool cement white rendered walls

The birds will not be pleased

Nor the butterfly that some call

The foxy emperor or Pasha.



Two Tail Pasha, Charaxes jasius, El Baja or Cuatro Colas. ( 4 tails!)

Here you must lay your eggs

To hatch into the worm with two horns.




How do you know this tree is best?

You do not need a nest

To carefully care as each of yours

Must hatch alone. Make its own munch

Through tough leaves.

Tough lives taken at the point of a beak

Or hang cocooned for days

Till horns transform, two tails of wings emerge.

So bright, so fair, move me to gasp

At change so rare.


From dark places, burst leaves, break wings.

Reach out for life, lived briefly, in the light.


Two tailed pasha









As for the ongoing climate crisis my poetry challenge is to help conservation charities restore nature and prevent biodiversity loss. We must have more trees and wild places. It will help us too.

I know there are a lot of struggling charities at the moment but if you can support my efforts I and theRSPB/BirdLife International would be grateful. I am halfway through now and every little helps me write more!