Present to the Non-Human

Present to the Non-Human
Published: Sep 27, 2020
A poet and naturalist with a remarkable ear for the sound-colour of words and phrases jams on the relationship between inhabitants and habitat, climate change and edgelands, the possibilities of re-enchantment, and 'wildness' itself.

Cuckoo defending, journal of wild culture, ©2020





         To cuckoo the first

                spring in hear

makes a mockery

bushes move between takes

         and blushes also

to keep on taking bluish eggs

replace sing them with mock-eggs

                both-andscape paint

liberally misapplied


         y(our) face: a Welsh

dresser, a picture

of mountains in spring re-


your face is mountains in spring

meanwhile, knotty

                   oaks from the hanging wood — exactly that


                   stained through use

but homely, modesty, between

             a table motioned

                   spins its tell-tale grain


such sweetly wandering

your teeth


a cuckoo clock spits

mocking a makery of such

ancient ideas — repeated


but with larvae inside

creeping brain halved

          like a walnut



                       bundles over unmapped


a springhead dazzled

with star-snot

the cuckoo’s ‘fuck-you’

too true.


Eagle weather vane, journal of wild culture ©2020




An electronic falcon

unspirals the tree:

hyperobjects to roosting:

all the little birds

wanting to shudder

under night’s loamy wing:

disperse and disperse:

to find unreconnoitred

somewheres in new

haunts of an unsung world:

spread out through


of unsure light:

canarying from balcony

to balcony as if they were

a banned packet of sweets:

      disperse and disperse

they sing obliquely

so as not to be overheard:

decreasing stubs of songs

that stult in the throat:

attenuated refrains

of diminishing returns

                   they call


              in rough

cross-hatched shade:

where the backgrounds

aren’t properly filled in:

seeking refuge

in an unforeseen zone:

~outside of time

or not worth it: real

creatures made imaginary:

the indescribable: made real


meanwhile among the garden’s

enhanced realities:

this automated raptor

hangs glitching:

ejaculates stormcoloured code:

wherewithal attention traps:

forcing the passerby

to slip on noise-cancelling

headphones and complete

the rupturous puzzle:

with words alone.


Mistletoe, journal of wild culture ©2020




churning mistletoe’s

late season chrome yellow


bifurcates year on year

these leaves doubly divide


thumbprint thick

tonguing through fog


with the dispersal radius

of a lost mistletoe marble*


flown sputtering and tiny

totally ignoring the rave


mistle thrushes and blackcaps

shit and smear the next


generation between

lattices of shadow


between rupture/rapture

a bark-wound that breathes


equally a mistletoe weevil

finicks across well-


thumbed sky-stained leaf

margins all forking late


yellows and hungover

following the freest party


known to humanity

or more importantly


let us at least remark

in a depauperate song


slim silent bittersweet nothings

where their notes should be


only tomorrow’s unfinished

drafts and partial recognition

* A micromoth looking like a very lovely bird-dropping: slate blue, charcoal grey, mistletoe green, shifting mousy brown and scampering black on a mute white ground.


Man's head stuck in earthquake road, journal of wild culture ©2020




beyond the crash barriers:

hemlock skeletons

and oily yellow wild parsnips


flights of ripe rubbish

an exploded buzzard

many species of rain


through roaring shadows

and high earth banks with

long symbolic gaps between yellow cars


we milky passengers

huddled like pigeons

around the engine warmth


nodding asleep/jolting

awake in phase time

this repeated movement


always fractionally different

as a brightly vested person

lops overhanging branches


on the infinite verge

a wet cement sky

folding into itself


reflects our grey stratum:

road and plastic and road

sadly/luckily the highway will run


out before the thought

is completed – we can’t be

pioneers more than once


there are no sunflowers to sow

nothing indigenous in the true sense

so feel free to dig


until the tectonic

seams are revealed

and their drift


can be interpreted: today

we’re all cascading, declining,

processing into the west


and the idea of the West

burns like a flare

at the end of the motorway


somewhere near Caerfyrddin.


WC para break


DAVID HAWKINS is a writer, book editor and naturalist. Recent work has appeared in Arc Poetry, Blackbox Manifold, BlazeVOX, Datableed, Entropy, Interpreter's House, Magma, Molly Bloom, Otoliths and White Review. He was awarded second prize in the 2015 UK National Poetry Competition. David lives in Bristol, England.





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