Poem of the Week: Mider’s Song

This is a poem by Fiona Macleod, a pseudonym for William Sharp who included this poem in his play, The Immortal Hour.

How beautiful they are,
The lordly ones
Who dwell in the hills,
In the hollow hills.

They have faces like flowers
And their breath is wind
That blows over grass
Filled with dewy clover.

Their limbs are more white
Than shafts of moonshine:
They are more fleet
Than the March wind.

They laugh and are glad
And are terrible:
When their lances shake
Every green reed quivers.

How beautiful they are,
How beautiful,
The lordly ones
In the hollow hills.

I would go back
To the Country of the Young,
And see again
The lances of the Shee,

As they keep their hosting
With laughing cries
In pale places
Under the moon.

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Diary of an Urban Wild Garden: See No Weevil

It all started back in April when I found a teeny weevil on a window ledge in the living room. The weevil had ceased to be, but where had it come from? I posted it on Twitter and quickly learned it was a Hollyhock Weevil (Rhopalapion longirostre), which made sense because there are hollyhocks planted right outside the window I found it in. The flowers had been there a few years, sown as part of a fairy garden flower mix, but they didn’t appear to have much wildlife value so their days would be limited once I got around to adding new native plants to that area.

But now I was interested in these flowers I had mostly ignored. The hollyhocks were barely beginning to sprout out of the ground, but over the next few weeks I kept an eye on them as…

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Poem of the Week: Sonnet – To Science

By Edgar Allan Poe

Science! true daughter of Old Time thou art! 
   Who alterest all things with thy peering eyes. 
Why preyest thou thus upon the poet’s heart, 
   Vulture, whose wings are dull realities? 
How should he love thee? or how deem thee wise, 
   Who wouldst not leave him in his wandering 
To seek for treasure in the jewelled skies, 
   Albeit he soared with an undaunted wing? 
Hast thou not dragged Diana from her car, 
   And driven the Hamadryad from the wood 
To seek a shelter in some happier star? 
   Hast thou not torn the Naiad from her flood, 
The Elfin from the green grass, and from me 
The summer dream beneath the tamarind tree? 

Learn more about the meaning behind this poem in this article on the Poe Museum’s website.

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Pollinator Week

This week was Pollinator Week and I started thinking about all the different pollinators that visit my yard. Over the roughly seven years since we moved in, I’ve been continually adding new native plants and transforming a yard of grass to wildlife habitat. In the last couple of years I’ve focused on the backyard and creating more pollinator habitat. Flowers start blooming before winter is over and there is a constant bloom throughout the spring and summer and well into the autumn. I also leave things messy because old flower stems are used for bees to nest in. There are patches of bare soil for ground nesting bees to dig their holes and I never use pesticides.

As a result, I have been rewarded by dozens and dozens of different types of pollinators – from bumble bees and leaf-cutter bees to…

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Artist Profile: Elizabeth Mills

Welcome to the very first edition of a new feature highlighting artists who focus on the natural world. This edition I am pleased to introduce you to Elizabeth Mills. I met Elizabeth on Twitter and was lucky enough to win a small painting of a seahorse by her. My thanks to Elizabeth for being willing to be the first artist featured.


When Elizabeth Mills was in her final undergraduate year at university, she became stressed and realized she needed to find a guilt-free way to relax. But because she had a hard time switching off, she had to trick her brain into relaxing and came up with a creative solution. She combined making art, which was something she had always loved to do, but had neglected while she was in university, with her current focus on marine biology. Elizabeth…

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Poem of the Week: The Ocean

By Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Ocean has its silent caves,
Deep, quiet, and alone;
Though there be fury on the waves,
Beneath them there is none.

The awful spirits of the deep
Hold their communion there;
And there are those for whom we weep,
The young, the bright, the fair.

Calmly the wearied seamen rest
Beneath their own blue sea.
The ocean solitudes are blest,
For there is purity.

The earth has guilt, the earth has care,
Unquiet are its graves;
But peaceful sleep is ever there,
Beneath the dark blue waves.

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Diary of an Urban Wild Garden: Anatomy of a Dragon

There’s nothing that can humble an ‘observant’ naturalist more than nearly walking face-first into a resting darner dragonfly. A few days ago I was walking around the wildlife garden taking photos and I completely overlooked the large Blue-eyed Darner until it was just a few inches from my face. Luckily for me the dragon had no previous engagements and sat perched on the Fireweed for a few minutes. I was able to take photos at my leisure and I focused my lens on different parts of his body to study it in depth.

The Eye of a Dragon

Dragon eyes are perhaps the most conspicuous feature of a dragonfly. They comprise most of the head and are arguably the most important part of the body. Vision is the primary sense of dragonflies and is used…

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Poem of the Week: Lamia

By John Keats

Do not all charms fly
At the mere touch of cold philosophy?
There was an awful rainbow once in heaven:
We know her woof, her texture; she is given
In the dull catalogue of common things.
Philosophy will clip an Angel’s wings,
Conquer all mysteries by rule and line,
Empty the haunted air, and gnomèd mine—
Unweave a rainbow, as it erewhile made
The tender-person’d Lamia melt into a shade.

Read the full poem.

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