Border Crossings

The Brown Bull of Corracloona
Head down grazes
Then walks along in …
His avenue field;
Lessening my gra
To leave or walk along, undared;
To sally on forth,
Or to sally on through,
Keeping distance always.

When unseen,
I look for him in
his avenue field.
Just once did I pick
A minute to invade,
He being seated a half field west.
Wire fences delimited us in
his avenue field.

Such makes for timid entrances
From our compound on foot:
Too high as risk to consider right
Trespassing unbidden in his avenue field.
I do not know this Brown Bull well,
but he now knows me.
Our caution is pervasive here
Compounded in, by
his avenue field.

Pacific idyll

Dreaming … of Rambutans
from the forest of Tautira,
consumed on the coastal path;
… in the Organic Centre.

… A most beautiful place
to walk in this world,
A coastline of Tahiti;
Coral reefs inshore,
Make for careful engine use
on boats in the lagoon…

Carrot Cake and a top up Green Tea,
In a townland near Rossinver;
A place to dream from…
In the green wood Summer,
of Leitrim.

Chewing a carrot at bedtime.

Dogs bark repeatedly and the sound fades from two farmyards away. A cow’s moo is calling attention to something unknown to me. Birds in the pine trees behind chirp and chirrup. Surrounding sounds are Dolbyesque, as the evening birdsong warbles through the air. A sheep bleats summonsing her lambs in the rushy field with the puncauns of purple moor grass.

A midge alights onto my nose and parades around a classified nostril as if it were a military parade ground, and then, without a salute or a signal, joins the air corps, and is off. The next one is curious about eyebrow hair; air force landing markings, stripes not lost on me either. The lens of my spectacles host another jump jet, as if my lens were a battleship air-craft carrier cruising through the air. My hand is drawn to my face to quell an itch; while a beetle settles on the whiter page, next for my scriptures, and draws in its underwings. Shrone sides washed with eye tear fluid soothes most irritations, except for the earlobes and inter thumb and palm skin. As I am wearing a poly tail, the back of my neck is accessible too, but not frequented by the flying squadrons, delicate hand rubs, over raspy bristle of my filtrum and cheek to chin jowls releases an itch which migrates around my core with perniciously high frequency. Hand signals, skin rubbing, hand clasping, pencil gripping writing aside, my other hand is fully occupied assuaging my forehead, inevitably disturbing stray hairs from my hair band and pony-tailed mop. One alighted up a trouser leg, the irritating bastard, and then a single hair from my head scribbled like a quivering stencil of an electrocardiogram meteing out a pattern below my spectacles on my stiff upper lip. In this Battle of Britain, nostrils, caverns of lubricosity are no deterrent to air-borne raids. My spectacles, with pads perched on my shrone, are rearranged, while the sound of the door closing warns me of the haste of my potential discovery, gallivanting, writing in pleain aeir, in the evening. The sun descends below the last cloud on the skyline, in an incandescent stripe of cadmium yellow, through a canopy of Birch above some yellow irises, green crocodile green, compared with the rushes in the foreground with their Saint Brigid’s cross florets and leaf tussocks like hedgehogs.

Nettles in the foreground too, make for wandering off-line, memorable. Now my supported leg is numb from the immobility of sitting in a captain’s chair composing this. The numb sleepy leg is immune to midges. Meanwhile a new irritation emerges between my big toe and the sandal strap, appealing for a foot massage to bleat it out of its misery. A ewe calls for sundown and her lamb bleats in response. The air squadron is thinning out. A bumble bee flies towards the sunset and irises. Thistles not yet out, and a few days short of blooming profusely, where the bumble bee flew from, he was heading, what is now upwind, as the sky darkens, and the cadmium line is expunged by a darker humid cloud.

Combs are my favourite hand tool. A body shop one graces my sporran. My thumbs and fingers massage my right foot’s toes, tugging at nails, removing stray skin flakes and otherwise soothes my anesthetized foot. Adidas striped pool slippers rest in the sheep-grazed grass, while in my right ear a battalion hisses and wing warps tiny sonic booms.

The skyline of Sitka Spruce holds a marvelous lilac clouds behind, while a droplet sensed, signals the advance of a low cloud from the west. Hairs on my skin, above my tarsals, are tugged by my sandal strap. A bugger has negotiated the boulder choke of the kneecap and joint and is now ensconced under my left hock, provoking a complete rearrangement of me in my chair. My numb foot, my numb butt, the groans of my bamboo chair in my resettling, tarsal squadrons, neck squadrons, hand pencil holding dynamic reactive squadrons clear for take-off. Ley grass with opposite florets with palea, glumes, lemma and short awns, wave in response to disturbance. A middle distance dipteran or micro-moth rises first white, and darkens as the sky becomes its backdrop.


Back at the house, Bran is incapable of chewing a carrot quietly. Meal time noises at a silent monastic refectory are politely tolerated, but Bran takes the biscuit. A midge in my ear never left the hangar, for his evening exercises. This was the last midge that lived before being rolled up into a Lake Victoria, Ugandan pate, what the dog might eat.

Resolve

Begin with one voucher packet
see what is within
this sample provokes a section
to test the monotypic genus proposed
Black fur perhaps Cystocoleus ebeneus.
Move to the stereoscope
fresh water for the droplet
a scalpel to extract tissue
for the glass slide, positioned
and ready to cover.

On to the microscope stage
with light, filters and condenser to set
to see the anticipated filament forms
with lenses x100, x400 and x600
to magnify the anatomy to verify
the characters we need to have to get to species.

Doubt at identity now assuaged
and voucher rationally boxed morphologically
the result is ready to add to the record
ready to move on to the next specimen.

Resolve happens sample by sample,
one every so often
a quarter of an hour or more
allowing you the time it takes
to validate, verify and test.

This black fur looks by eye no different
to the temperate species
that visual recognition provoked.
Our tropical montane saxicolous sample
with the evidence that we have
gets classified the same
a result that takes decision, resolve and passion
to create this identification,
a botanical mythology for an island.

A check on the literature shows that
it has been seen in the tropics before
by Thwaites probably in Ceylon
Back in the 1840s,
so while new in Saint Lucia,
it is not so unexpected.

This full time occupation of mind and eyes
walking a landscape screening for thalli to sample
of species that look the same,
close to the truth
kept for future science testing methods
so that novel differences, if any, may be discerned
with continuously advancing science,

This is our method to induce
a latent curiosity in the rock faces
and tree trunks and leaves around,
scholarship transferred,
one entity at a time,
to build botanical knowledge
for a developing society
combating colonial oppression,
to get to biodiversity conservation
by passing the utilitarian view of nature
that gets in our way of conserving life.

Howard Fox
6 June 2019

Ascospore life to live!

Ascospore life to live
On the tree surface
Living hyphae tend to a lenticel
Exploring corky bark stomata
Seeking nourishment
Of plant oil or sugar sap
Surface tensions in dew
Rain drip moved along
For an endophytic phase
To be phloem transported inside
Open plumbing to impede flow
Within a tree’s annual ring vasculature,
Making for a tree genus pandemic,
Mating type by hyphal mating type,
Continent by temperate zone continent,
Making a fruitbody to reproduce thee.
Ascospore to filamentous hyphae,
To colony, to mate, to fruitbody,
to the ascus and ascospore,
to move, to settle on tree bark:
Ascospore life to live!

Black clouds by moonlight

Black cloud lobe margins are a high silhouette
Orion’s starlight above, Indian ink blotted through
Moonlight stripes an onshore sea to an eastern horizon
Grey wisps billow around the moon above
Foreshore rocks rise like glistening black limestone sentinels
As rockpools mirror and kelp reflectors drape the shore.
Clouds half hide the constellation, after rain, tide out
tranquil boomers, long range waves sound from a bay far south.
Memory from a dog walk, nocturnal sky over outside Loughshinny pier.

Warmth

Arms brown, tacky, glistening with evaporate
In this evening’s moonless darkness
A street light ellipsis punctuates my view
Restless, the fridge quietens down
Leaving just a laptop fan to hiss
Warmth this evening postpones sleep
Necessary to get back on track

Checking online, struggling to pick up
A neighbour’ generous connection to broadcast status
Waiting for the pleasure of feedback from another soul
A mark of emotional effect provoking keyboard strikes
from something of ours in mind, like calling hello
and getting an answer, brings me a smile.

Compassion essential a prelude to contentment
A guide to happiness set down in verse
While the warmth of the evening seers
pleasure into my bones, and hands arm rub
temperature evenly under a cotton tee shirt
contentment with a toss of long hair
ready for a neck masseuse backcombing my locks
and a return to bed to get the beauty sleep I need