Losing Definition

by Oonah V. Joslin


Acorn redundant
as a game of cup and ball
lies forgotten
till it grows a tree so tall,
it can’t be ignored.

Kingfisher playing,
darts under the Telford bridge
green blue green
town-centre camouflage
is all the rage.

Willow dripping,
grazed by the bank,
silently weeps.
Big trees don’t cry, I say.
She dries a knotty eye.

Otter streaks
sleek through brown water.
Pasture eyes follow it bank to bank.
Hide and seek
at twilight.

Catkin and conker
hang in mid-air
where there were seasons,
where language was
heather nectar.

The adder
no longer counts.
The ash is burnt out.
Silent bluebells.
Fat-free buttercups.

The dandelion has lost its roar.
And if mistletoe and ivy do not cling,
what are they for?
Oh what a lark,
this losing definition thing.


[Author’s note] Recently, the Oxford University Press released the Oxford Junior Dictionary, which included for the first time words such as “attachment, blog, broadband, bullet-point, chatroom” up to “voicemail.”

In the process, they had to cull words to make space: acorn, adder, ash, beech, bluebell, buttercup, catkin, conker, cowslip, cygnet, dandelion, fern, hazel, heather, heron, ivy, kingfisher, lark, mistletoe, nectar, newt, otter, pasture and willow.


Copyright © 2017 by Oonah V. Joslin

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