by Jackie Biggs, UK.
Maybe the world, without us, is the real poem. (From ‘The Leaf and the Cloud’, Mary Oliver). On the first day after the humans have gone, a bramble pokes through a crack in paving in an abandoned shopping centre, wanders over erupting tarmac, infiltrates brickwork by a deserted supermarket car park. On the second day a shoot tip-roots in dust by a derelict gasworks, throws new canes in every direction, tangles with others, arching high, forms a thicket of prickled green. On the third day flowers spring out like roses. Delicate creamy petals crowned with pink stamens reign all over wasteland acres. On the fourth day yellow brimstones and speckled woods arrive to suckle on rich nectar. Industrious bees and bumbles get busy and boisterous blackbirds build nests. On the fifth day deer gather to graze on fresh leaves, rich fruits form, turn glossy dark and thrushes fly in on song to feed. At dawn and dusk fox and badger forage on the briars. On the sixth day flies gather for a feast on forgotten fruit, caterpillars curl in cooling leaves, grass snakes slip into silent nooks, dormice seek refuge and hedgehogs find havens. On the seventh day soft rain falls and the earth is revived. And the sun shines and all settles quiet in the bramble dome. And all the creatures know that it is good.