Blog

9th February 2022
The Poetry of Plants

In his poem ‘Chainsaw versus the Pampas Grass’ our Poet Laureate, Simon Armitage tells the tale of a man, as the title of the poem suggests, using a chainsaw to cut down pampas grass. The brutal machine making short work of the delicate grass before being returned to the shed.

The pampas grass grows back. In the battle between sledgehammer and nut, the nut wins.

We don’t need to labour the meaning of the poem, but we would urge you to read it in full, together with many of his other works, Armitage is a truly amazing, accessible and witty poet.

That’s nice, so what?

Well, we recently posted a social media message about Robert Burns along with a link to the Scottish Poetry Library, it created something of a discussion about the relationship between poetry and plants. So, always on the lookout for interesting blog subjects, we took a closer peek.

Poet Laureate is the obvious place to start, the laureate referring to the laurel wreath awarded to the best poets in Ancient Greece. But why laurel? we hear you ask.

Poetry, that’s why. Ovid’s poem Metamorphoses’ describes Daphne being chased through a beautiful garden by a lovelorn Apollo before praying for protection, she is transformed into a laurel tree.

Throughout the centuries nature and plant life have provided a rich seam of content for just about every poet, in fact we really struggled to think of a single one that had not at some time dipped into nature for inspiration. And of course, it makes perfect sense because nature and natural beauty is everywhere, how could creative minds fail to be inspired by a budding flower, a tree in full blossom, some corner of a foreign field or a host, of golden daffodils… fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

In this short blog, we could not hope to even scratch the green surface of poets and poems that have celebrated nature in one form or another, but what we would really love to do is ask a simple question.

What’s your favourite nature based poem?

There’s certainly plenty to choose from, here is a small poem from H Joseph Chadwick that you might not have heard before.

You’ve planted love and friendship,
And since you planted those,
Your garden’s surely blooming
With lovely memories . . .

And life has been much brighter
For everyone you’ve known
Because of all the gladness
And happiness you’ve sown!

It’s not a classic, we read it on a greetings card and it made us smile, especially the bit where he rhymes ‘those’ with ‘memories’

We’ve set the bar quite low on this for you, come on, inspire us with your favourites.

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