*Congratulations to Sarah Watkinson whose poem has been published by Waterlines, Canal and Boat Poems a Poetry Society initiative* http://www.waterlines.org.uk/2013/07/14/tell-me-the-truth-about-boats/
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.
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 norwichwriters.wordpress.com, from which it is reproduced with permission from the Hon O.P.C. Secretary of the Norwich Writers’ Circle.