What lives here

A photographed valley,

a stream filled gulley with a gaelic name

provoked my imagination to speculate

what lives here – a list of genera

a rough hypothesis for ground-truthing –

A gauntlet of Animal, Mineral and Vegetable

communities for testing in reality

by visitors fluent in branch and stone language,

of detail, living.


That – we see, or that – we overlook …

faster than one can write down,

takes time, detail does, to see.


Prepared for detail – species concepts

for those surfaces, old,

that we look at together,

on branches and stones.


Time-taking until resolved,

parts united in categories of sorts,

a language of prediction,

before one sees detail,

and admits it to reality.


Either, or, if with this, then that.

Then the animal, mineral, vegetable test.

Look again, does it pass, No !

Discarded hypothesis

in an attempt to catalogue surface detail here.


The questions for an interrogation

on branches and stones,

a Spanish inquisition internally,

to get to the truth of this material:

Animal, Mineral, Vegetable.


Seen, but silent, advocate-less,

living here in nature in Glasnevin,

witness to the air-less mutterings:

You live here, and you find it OK living here.


Visually distinctive detail,

between my face and yours,

fascinating detail,

in every old place

in gach sean ait

we keep in Glasnevin

on branches and stones.



Nine Worlds

Our very own Yggdrasil fell the other day,
An Ash tree,
holding Nine Worlds in its branches and roots.
Bourne from the Well of Urd, right here by the Tolka,
snowbound and closed, storm Emma blew
from the East-North-East for three days:
Wednesday ‘til Saturday.

Glasnevin watched over this ‘Waterer’s Variety’ Ash
in the far grounds, number 1888.011023.
This 30 metre tree – some 120 years old, graceful,
holding Nine Worlds in its branches and roots.

A yellow flame of Chrysothrix candelaris
on its latticed trunk, made it visible from afar.
Honey fungus, at a root buttress,
was noted, 14 September, five years ago,
warning that its time was near.
Armillaria gallica, a honey fungus variety
has rotted out its fifth of the root plate.

Nine Worlds of our very own Yggdrasil were alive here, last week.
Leafy lichens of 20 kinds,
crusty ones and fungi of another 20 sorts.
Nine fungal infections of lichens,
five mat-forming mosses, three cushioned ones,
two liverworts and a 16-spot ladybird, in an Ash tree.

Sixty species crowned this Glasnevin village Ash:
all grown from wild gardener’s spores,
30 years afresh in Mary Harney’s clean air.
Our very own Yggdrasil
holding Nine Worlds in its branches and roots,
full of cryptogamic spore bark life,
a centre of spiritual cosmos,
right here by the Tolka, the Ash that fell the other day.

Howard FOX, Botanist, 7-8 iii 2018