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risa bear
DoYū Risa Bear, Author. Retired forester, librarian, farmer.
DoYū Risa Bear, Author. Retired forester, librarian, farmer.
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There are two climbing roses by her gate,
one to each side, with velvet blooms, small,
but heavily scented, suitable for soaps, salves

and potpourri. They blossom out together,
several hundred, perhaps a thousand whorls
French pink, shading to cream, the haunt

of matching shy arachnids. How tall they'd grow
she doesn't know, having twined an arch of willow
whips atop her gate, to bind them to.

In her middle years, her family took this place
and named it for the stony creek, dry
in summer, rolling through between their house

and garden. A storm year came; that garden up
and vanished down a river to the sea,
leaving them three dead plum trees and a rose.

She started fresh, gardening by the house,
planting new beds and trees, then moved the rose,
a monumental task, involving pick and spade,

wheelbarrow, calluses, and a tan. She chose
north, a shaded wall, and while the rose
liked a hidden spring there, for drinking,

it never cared for the paucity of light. It'd
stretch its greeny fingers roofward, up
and over; send roots drilling left and right;

make awkward shoots. Shift it one more time,
she thought. Maybe both sides of a sunny gate
she'd build, with an arch. The spot she had in view

she could muse on from her kitchen window.
Again two days of digging, and with her bowsaw
made one rose two. Would they take another journey?

It seemed they would, though they'd always want water;
She'd have to remember to make the hoses reach.
She wouldn't mind if the roses wouldn't mind.

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St. Louis officers chant ‘whose streets, our streets’ while arresting protesters against police killing

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She knows the weeds will win. Sometimes, at night,
Hearing them grow in her dreams, she'll wake, grasp
Even in her two hands, a phantom thistle, or

Knotweed, errant blackberry, or teasel.
Now not able to turn and sleep, she'll rise, throw
On her robe, and step out into night;
Walking the way the slim moon shows her,
She throws aside her garden gate and listens.

There might be corn and tomatoes chatting,
Having about as much to say as farmed things.
Even a whisper among the kales and chard --

Whatever such things say. Beyond are beds
Ensnarled in dock, barnyardgrass, mallow,
Everlasting hedge bindweed.
Dire straits; but there's no sound there.
She knows they're biding their time,

Watching for her sudden return, sickle
In hand, fire in eye, seed packets in mind.
Level them, they fear she means to, or
Leave roots drying in summer sun.

Well, that's tomorrow. She turns now; steps
Into her lightless house. She'll give this up
Not soon, yet knows how it must end.

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Along the new trail, built by no one I knew,
acorns had fallen by thousands, more than enough
to leave creatures dazed by too much fortune.

Conkers have tumbled among them, each
experimentally chipped and then rejected
by some set of tiny teeth. Hazel nuts

were better, it seems. Should an adder pass en route
to denning, amid this rich mast, amid
this late fall of goldened leaves of ash

and beech, I might merely step aside,
unalarmed as any fattened squirrel.
Across the pasture, I remember, past

the partly shaded ferns, cowslips, bluebells,
buttercups of spring and summer, where
falling water, catkin-patterned, drowned out

the cygnet's cry in an otter's teeth (witnessed
by a kingfisher, two low-flying larks and a heron),
a willow had leaned to hide that tiny sorrow

and also shade a loafing spotted newt.
The hill behind, where bees sought nectar of a kind
from sunburnt heather, swept up to a copse of oak,

wrapped in a druid's dream of mistletoe and ivy.
There I had paused for dandelion wine.
Perhaps the trail will help some find this place.

My children, do not forget there is a world.




This was written in response to a report, by the great writer Robert MacFarlane, of the disappearance of certain words from the Oxford Junior Dictionary.

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The Tory Brexit bill is nothing less than an executive coup. These are “Henry VIII powers”, thus named after the Tudor monarch’s disdain for parliamentary restraint. It isn’t a compliment. The bill is the biggest peacetime transfer of power from the legislature to the executive in living memory. There are a handful of limitations: on making new criminal offences and raising taxes, for example. But as far as most statute is concerned, it is open season – a blank canvas for ministers to daub the post-Brexit landscape in colours to match their ideological taste. They can paint over rules governing anything from the quality of the food we eat and the air we breathe to the rights we have at #Brexit #Coupdetat

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