“Stripy Jerseys” by Lynn White

There were a lot of ragwort plants
around the library.
Some were bare of leaves and covered
with orange and black stripy jersey caterpillars.
Others were lush and green with leaves
and devoid of caterpillars.
As usual, the family planning strategy
of the cinnabar moth
left much to be desired.
I began to transfer them carefully
from the leafless to the lush.

I stood back to admire my achievement,
momentarily disconcerted
when a rather stern looking stranger
asked what I was doing.
I explained.
“Huh”, she said,
“I’ve been doing the same over on the other side.
I thought it was only me who does this.”

It was a strange way to begin a friendship
but it lasted
all her life.
I think maybe I should go to the grave
in the woodland,
where her body lies,
and scatter a few ragwort seeds.
Maybe the moths will come
each year
and make
a living memorial.
She would like that,
I think.

 

This poem first appeared in New Reader Magazine (March 2018).

 

Lynn White lives in north Wales. Her work is influenced by issues of social justice and events, places and people she has known or imagined. She is especially interested in exploring the boundaries of dream, fantasy and reality and writes hoping to find an audience for her musings. She was shortlisted in the Theatre Cloud ‘War Poetry for Today’ competition and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and a Rhysling Award. Her poetry has appeared in many publications including: Apogee, Firewords, Peach Velvet, Light Journal, and So It Goes. Find Lynn at: https://lynnwhitepoetry.blogspot.com and https://www.facebook.com/Lynn-White-Poetry-1603675983213077/

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