Sarah Watkinson

Sarah Watkinson

*Congratulations to Sarah Watkinson whose poem has been published by Waterlines, Canal and Boat Poems a Poetry Society initiative*

Sarah Watkinson grew up in London and Yorkshire and spent her most of her career as a biological scientist in the Department of Plant Sciences at Oxford University and as Fellow and Tutor at St Hilda’s College Oxford.  She lives in Bladon, West Oxfordshire, and since 2010 she has been learning to write poetry with Jenny Lewis.

Seeing Hares

The morning we saw the hares

two hundred deer flowed down Glen Tilt

like a buckskin conveyor belt

heads down, unaware

of us – as we’d been unaware

of the mountain hares

above us on dark heather  –  two

in winter white

and at the next turn of the path we saw

(I counted) thirty more

and every one was camouflaged for snow.

It was like meeting in some high oratory

a vast altarpiece

known only from postcards.

Dung beetles navigate by starlight (1)          

I track my treasure home on star beams, hide

my finds in caverns, steer them clean away,

before I’m stranded in the clueless day

with all my musky gleanings dull and dried.

Straightness is all. The constellations guide

my angled legs. The facets of each eye

lock on to glimmers, sensed how? Who can say?

The system works for me. I’m satisfied.

I know those lines of light shine down for me,

the dung deposited on dewy ground,

a providence. Through moonless dark I see

in multiple dimensions, beacons round,

and every blessed night miraculously

precipitates new turds for me to find.

1.         Dacke, M., Baird, E., Byrne, M., Scholtz, Clarke H., and Warrant, Eric J. Dung Beetles Use the Milky Way for Orientation, Current Biology.

‘Dung Beetles Navigate by Starlight’ appeared in the Norwich Writers’ Circle Open Poetry Competition 2013 Anthology: Poems Selected by George Szirtes, published on 16th April 2013 by, from which it is reproduced with permission from the Hon O.P.C. Secretary of the Norwich Writers’ Circle.