‘Hollowings’ by Bob Horne

“This part-found poem is based on a recent Guardian article by the writer Robert Macfarlane, expressing his concern that we are losing our connection with the natural world. Many people, not just children, no longer recognise the flora and fauna which surround us. One out of three can recognise a magpie, but nine out of ten know what a Dalek is. Three-quarters of adults cannot identify an ash tree.

A ‘Hollowing’, according to Macfarlane, is a portal into the natural world.”

Bob Horne, 2017


And what is the extinction of the condor
to a child who has never seen a wren?
Never caught the blue spark of kingfisher
across dapples of deep-water sunlight?

Is it enough for nature and names
to be bound in deep time?
Will hopeless words survive,
like rattles filled with ash,
in the dark that is always rising?

Will it all, with cave bear and condor,
with the slow un-naming of land,
great thinning of bird and animal,
of insect and tree, vanish past memory?
Past mouths, and minds’ eyes?

Or can it come again,
with charms of goldfinches
and the blended singing
of lost children in the woods?

Bob Horne

Bob Horne
Bob Horne is a retired teacher, founder and Chair of Lightcliffe & District History Society.  He is also a publisher of poetry and runs Calder Valley Poetry.   We are very grateful to Bob for allowing us to reproduce his work and images here.