Mutability of Language
A buzzard, the wheel of hawk’s wings,
an oak tree, the spread of branches
and waxy green clusters of leaves,
a wren, the brown flash of a tiny bird.
Words are different now, spoken in other tongues,
tweed no longer describes just birdsong, web is no more
just a spider’s creation, stream means more than running water,
and cloud is not only vapour overhead.
Words keep changing and shifting, mutability of language
they say, though the rough porous language tries
to hold on to the natural world,
its ribbed expression still in the sling of mind
troubled to keep pace with a new virtual world, conjured in pixels
pitching over the old walls into new territory,
where the search is hampered for nuggets of the old ways
in the yellowing grass of shifting technology and computer power.
Wind names breeze, zephyr, or words as thunder
grown over centuries into the beauty of words, well known
by the poets, those etymologists of roots and grafting,
who remind, where nature and poetry collide, beauty is born.
We feel the loss of connection with nature,
crouch to search, to recover and restore
the echoes and shadows of the old words
treasured by generations before us, such as:
shadowtackle (the pattern of light and shade in a wood)
ammil (the fiery light produced by sun on hoar frost)
verglas (blue ice on rock) or
summer geese (steam rising from warm wet moors)
At a junction between wonder and loss
we still hear an owl hoot, watch buds shoot and flourish in a hush
and hold on to a truth that all is interconnected
and we are part of it.