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Eating Chestnuts

Burst open with a stamping foot descending on its chest
The green, spined shell reveals a pearl of glossy brown
With a kiss of white on its swollen, massed,
Plump spitting-fat flesh –
A peach of a find,
The best,
Heavy to the hand,
Solid to the eye,
Another body for the bag…..

We scuff amongst the golden leaves of autumn ,
Crisp, dry, fragile , crunching,
Looking for the next,
Perhaps a loose traveller split by the bounce
At the end of the lonely fall
(Listen, barely a rustle in the leaves,
There is no breeze,
And another one lands in the silence
Amongst barbed-wire rolls of twigs , musty fungi , decayed wood,
Birch and rhododendron ).

Thick-gloved we twist and wrench,
Cruel,
Gleaming-eyed,
Excited,
As others utter little cries,
‘Come here!’ and
‘Look at this!’
Until at last, full laden, sated
We retire,
Trek back by the sparkling stream in the deep-down ditch,
Through ranks of beech forming mats of nuts,
Past the raft-shaped rotting wooden bridge
With gaps and moss on its slippery trunks,
To the bikes , cold cycling , home …

And the sizzled yellow meat burnt under the grill,
And the black-charred skin curling slowly off,
The full bowl slowly emptying,
Appreciative grunts –

Eating chestnuts.

1988 ?

I can remember gathering chestnuts when I was a child. Most times we would be driven to the chestnut woods, but a couple of times we cycled there. It was a magical place, musty, fungi-riddled, atmospheric, preceded by a stand of beech trees and a stream. Imagine cold early-winter days and the hidden treasures to be found …

2 Comments     0 Pings

By RDarling Mon Mar 28th 2011 at 3:30 pm  

my all time favourite poem, which hangs above our loo!

By shamique Sun Nov 3rd 2013 at 9:54 am  

my alltime nature poem love nature thjats me

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