How noisy the rainforest is.
I’d expected silence, creeping things,
but the frogs were at volume eleven
in their own sex adverts.
Birds in the canopy played
One Song To the Tune of Another;
laughter, hoots, shrieks of a buzzard,
a cuckoo with a strange call.
Further in, cicadas chirruped,
a thrash of leaves overhead,
the steady roar of water
over the falls.
The ring-tail lemurs dozed, lying out
along branches. An infant peered
down at us, mildly curious,
then looked away.
In a clearing, butterflies battled
in upward spirals; giraffe-necked
weevils wobbled into the air,
landed on pink flowers.
The clear blue morning gave birth
to clouds, which built
towards the evening downpour,
the cracks and rumbles of thunder.
Fireflies flashed green signals
in the treetops, and, lit by our torches,
a mouse lemur grazed on tree-sap
as we watched, not breathing.
On the Door of the Dacha
You were out when I called, Petya.
It’s good weather for hunting, and I thought
you might want to join us. Yesterday we saw
a young wildcat at the edge of the trail.
That flattened head, long thick barred tail –
unmistakeable – and the way it faced us, hissed,
and slipped into the bracken.
The birds were busy too – harriers
taking their tithe of the little finches,
a peregrine – pigeon-fancier – patrolling
the flight corridors through the valleys.
I noticed a family of pochard on your pond
when I called. They’re fine game, the best
of wildfowl, and tasty for the pot, with roots
and herbs to sweeten. They’ll fly south soon –
shoot them while you can.
As we rode I saw the yellow eyes
of the wolves of winter, skulking
round the tree trunks, heads down,
averting their gaze, but ready, always ready.
We might swing round your way again
tomorrow, catch up with you, take some tea,
vodka, listen to your grandfather’s endless tales
of the old days, the old ways.
If we do visit, you’ll hear us coming.
Honestly, it’s a wonder we bag anything,
the noise we make. Bozhe moi! But glorious.
One Way Ticket
Getting there will be fine, just fine,
How will it work out?
It’s been so long.
I’ve changed – moved on
is the phrase – and I guess
you have too.
So much water has flowed
under so many bridges,
and you can’t step in the same river
twice, as the old philosopher said.
How was it when I was last here?
Nervous, me; angry, defensive, worried, you.
How long does it take
to be forgiven? to be forgotten?
to become irrelevant?
Or has the past warmed
in the pot on the stove,
boiled dry, burned, turned
So it makes sense
only to plan for a journey
of one half, leaving
the question of returning
Colin Will is an Edinburgh-born poet with a background in botany and geology. Six collections published, the latest being The Propriety of Weeding from Red Squirrel Press (2012). He was Makar to the Federation of Writers (Scotland) in 2011. He currently teaches creative writing and conducts workshops and readings.