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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,
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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