Spring: An Inventory

This week’s theme is a straight steal from the National Trust who have commissioned Elizabeth-Jane Burnett to create a poem for Spring from crowd sourced contributions.

I thought this was such a good idea that it would be better to look at the poem and project themselves, rather than borrow this idea or that, but I hope that something from it will inspire your own thoughts on Spring. Elizabeth-Jane Burnett has numbered things, inventory style, according to how often various words were suggested. But there is no need for you to go down that route unless you want to. An inventory of the gorse blossoms in bloom on the island just now would be a bit difficult.

Fritillaries in bloom at the castle

Here is an extract from the poem:

An extract from Spring, An Inventory by Elizabeth-Jane Burnett

Fifty-four hopes in the hardwood held,

slow, the hour brightens

through damp roots and fused shoots the pressure wells,

fifty-one blossoms on the cherry swell,

tiny beech leaves ripen.

Fifty-four hopes in the hardwood held

slow, the hour brightens.

Forty-four trees in the waking woods,

forty-one spilling gardens.

Five cherry trees where the blackbirds stood,

thirty-five joys through their gleaming broods,

thirty-eight buds nectar-guarding

in forty-four trees in the waking woods,

in forty-one spilling gardens.

4 thoughts on “Spring: An Inventory

  1. Caberfeidh, Rebecca Mahoney

    My Spring Inventory 2021

    Last Spring, 2020, I was happy to go with the flow
    Take each day as it comes
    and let the season of Spring unfold and reveal itself in its own good time
    This year, 2021, I am impatient for it to come

    At the start of March I feel vaguely unsettled by southern relatives
    reported sightings of snowdrops, crocus and daffodils
    I become mildly obsessed in my quest to spy a single snowdrop
    For me always the first sign of Spring

    And then a friend shares glad tidings of sightings of Stornoway snowdrops
    With photo evidence I begin to feel a sense of relief
    Perhaps, I begin to fleetingly hope
    Lockdown winter is not going to be eternal after all…

    March 8th after my first Covid vaccination at the Caberfeidh
    I am heartened by the sight of an abundance of spring colour
    A carpet of snowdrops, crocus and daffodils on show in their grounds
    I feel the glimmer of hope quickening within me

    From then on with each circuit of the Castle Ground
    Speckles of colour and buds begin to appear
    Amongst the lush, verdant and steadfast background of
    Grass, moss, fern and evergreen

    And then a 2-week spell of cold and snowy weather wobbles me
    Into believing that Spring has been irretrievably knocked off course this year
    But then the sun comes out & soothes my fears
    Melting away the frosty façade to reveal spring in its relentless mission

    YELLOW begins to seep into my vision
    From humble celandine, to shy narcissus, prim primroses
    To the bold and unapologetic dandelion
    The golden gorse flowers reach their prime

    Lambs appear, first on Facebook, and then in fields around me
    I hear an old wives’ tale about it being unlucky
    To see the rear end of the first lamb you see
    Not normally superstitious I feel oddly reassured that mine was face first.

    My soul feels soothed by the routine signs of Spring
    I enjoy observing the gambling antics of the lambs
    No social distancing requirements for these under 12’s!
    I feel my heart swell, Hope does indeed spring eternal

    Rebecca Mahony

    Snowdrops: Cathy MacLeod

    Moss and ferns, Spencer

    Gorse coming into flower. Rebecca Mahoney

    Primroses: Rebecca Mahoney


  2. Spring: An Inventory

    Another beautiful spring day
    Lots of dandelions and small white daisies in the grass verges
    Bumblebees buzzing in the flowers
    Large clusters of primroses by the ditch
    And yellow cowslips too
    Plenty of daffodils everywhere

    Bright green leaves opening on the bushes of the rosa rugosa
    The gorse bushes now full of their yellow flowers

    Then on the grass a red admiral butterfly

    A robin sitting on the fence
    Stonechats making that distinctive sound
    As if knocking pebbles together
    Other small birds warbling or tweeting

    Flocks of hooded crows flapping their wings
    Chasing each other across the sky
    Making their loud kra kra sounds
    Collecting bits of straw and fluff to line their nests

    A skylark sat on the wire singing
    And the usual starlings and sparrows
    Chattering and flying around

    And lots of young lambs gamboling in the fields
    The younger ones clinging to their mothers
    For this is springtime
    A time for new birth



  3. Rebecca what a wonderful description of the ups and downs of this particular season and your emotions compared. I was also on the lookout for snowdrops and so glad to find them! But you found the golden grail…the primroses! I still haven’t seen any. Beautiful piece of writing.
    Urzula I really admire how you know all the names of so many things in nature and weave them into your pieces of wonderfully descriptive works. I also see the many colours and feel the moods in this piece too.


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