Patricia Leighton

Patricia lives in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire. Her work has been published in a variety of magazines including Orbis, Envoi, Dreamcatcher and more recently contributions to Fairacre Press’s online ‘Maligned Species’ collections, also in Bridport and Ledbury prizewinner anthologies. An ex-teacher, she has work in a wide range of children’s anthologies and educational materials and contributed to the Poetry Society’s ‘poetryinschools’ scheme.

Her recent collection, ‘Hidden’, is published by Oversteps Books.

nettles and ghosts

a wild island of deserted places

of homesteads buried

lost almost to memory

except for these green markers

nettles which endure among

swathes of starved grass

growing root-deep in the richness

of lives once lived

centuries

of hearth ash the dung of

byres botheys and bogs

small nurtured garden plots

they are haunted oases plucked

by pale ghosts for fodder food

for salves and cures and charms

their doggedness defying

the pull of death

below the winter wilt of stems

and leaves a nursery of larvae

gorges on yellow rootstock

come spring fresh green’s

thrown up grows thicker taller

with each lengthening day

then ghost moths come

they rise each summer’s dusk

flirting with leaves milking

its flower cups and

when the time is right

the fading light’s alive with courting males

lekking their phantom silver-white displays

their rituals to survival

Notes: the ghost moth is found commonly as far north as the Shetlands & Faroes

a lek is a gathering of males in competitive displays to attract females

(Previously published Fairacre Press, 2016. ‘Maligned Species’ Project)