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.



43 thoughts on “Poem 18: I Will Never Beat the Bracken; A memory of April 2020 Spanish lockdown.”

  1. A terrific memory, and an interesting form of 26 lines. Lots of competing themes in this, winning and losing, despair, accommodation, & hope, with a pinch of existentialism.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I feel for you! Bracken is a mighty force to reckon with that I’m sure would take over the world given the chance! On wildlife reserves they keep it under some control by bashing it rather than cutting it or trying to deal with the roots – might be worth a try, especially on a day when you have frustrations needing an outlet.


  3. I like bracken, its shapes and colours, but it is a speedy grower, like other plants I admire, nettles, bindweed and brambles, all for different reasons. Our garden was wild before the pandemic, but it became a jungle and, like you, we are battling to tidy it up a little, but not too much or we’ll frighten the wildlife away!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yours sounds like a similar experience to ours, including the scythe. Mowers won’t clear thick brambles and the uneven ground makes it difficult for tractors too. I hope it doesn’t all come back next spring. I didn’t realise you had chestnut trees down there. I assumed they needed a damper climate. Or maybe that’s just horse chestnuts?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, we are in a cooler, or we’re, climate in a southern Sierra. The sweet chestnuts were planted in orchards from about the 1700s on the cooler and very wet north side. This makes the Sierra Aracena very green, hence bracken too, and very varied for so far south. Up about 600 m too.


  5. Georgina (I will try to remember your name isn’t Navasola!) I enjoyed your poem.

    It is a balancing act with nature when one comes with a balanced perspective of it. Those with an agenda just plow it all up. The blackberry brambles would take over here if I didn’t keep it mowed.
    Whenever I see an indigenous wildflower I go around it. The milkweed has flourished over the last couple of years, which brings in many butterflies and bees.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, we have something like that that we call Bermuda Grass, nickname Wire Grass. It grows with long root systems and if you chop it in half it grows both halves. Almost impossible to get rid of!.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, a lot remained! For some animals it is good. We had a very privileged Spanish ‘confiniemiento’. Most Spanish people probably live in flats and were not allowed out for exercise, only to walk a dog. And now it’s spiking again in the north. Hope all good with you.


    1. Thanks, Andrea. It was a funny prompt that gave me the angle. On the move at the moment to see younger daughter. But have got copy of Draca through the post for hubbie. He is a sailor!


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