Rosebay Willow Herb

rosebay willow herb
too slender for a poem
far too tall for a


rosy pink flowers
with leaves in willow pattern
bend to the water


four-petal rosettes
fade, froth up with autumn’s fleece
push out long seed-pods


rosebay willow herbs

© Lizzie Ballagher

Wildflowers by the River Medway

Unsung vetches almost vanish into the thick grasses and reeds of early July along the banks of the river. I like stopping, sometimes, to notice the details of these spindly and (apparently) delicate plants: tougher than they look.

riverside vetch threads
purple embroidery through
grasses, green rushes

Words and images © Lizzie Ballagher


Blue Earth, Green Light

Cut the earth and it bleeds

Blue blood:

Bluebells among the brutal butchery

Of coppiced beech, of oak corpses


By cacophonous winds

This winter gone.


While heaven’s hue falls


In ocean pools, cobalt

Below the April leaves,

And cuckoos

Brand the air with heartbreak,

Blue earth gives out green light.


Cut the earth and it bleeds

Blue blood:

Bluebells under the frill and trill

Of singing green, of winging green,


By starry-eyed blackbirds

This slow, slow spring.


© Lizzie Ballagher


On the Margins

Read this as you will. Sometimes, walking along the side of a wide piece of land, I start thinking about as much about the metaphor of the path as about the path itself.

Hedges & Edges

We go ever on the margins:
On the dusky ways between dawn & day,
On the tracks between grieving and dancing,
On the paths between sunlight & starlight.

We travel along the wheat field’s edges:
Between burned-out grasses & ripened grain,
Between plough-blades’ brutal mastery & the distant
Good intentions of flooded ditch & broken gate.

We tread beside the beguiling bind & twine
Of wildflowers blowing in the hedgerow;
Under birdsong murmuring from bramble arches
And the babble of skylarks in clouds of barley.

We step beside hazel-wands bent, laid & woven
Into ancient hedge tapestries by men with cunning hands;
Beside the shrewder wisdoms of song-thrushes & wrens
That build their nests in secret twig-forks.

Always we walk on the margins, on the edges
Of doubt, despair & giddy exaltation—
Any time & every time we climb the steep, slow hills of hope
Above, beside, those sunlit starry hedges.

© Lizzie Ballagher

new hedge laid to hornbeam, hazel and birch nr Hothfield2015-05-25 13.10.26IMG_1045