Poem 77 – WWW.

They say you can be lonely in a crowd
Feel isolated, solitary even, in
A throng of others densely gathered round
The tree, perhaps, resides in this position
Bearing so tall, so mighty and so proud
Aloof, and self-sufficient, self-assured
Possessive, owning its own patch of ground
The tree’s an isolated individual
Yes, even in a wood this seems the case
They congregate but each stands on their own
There’s no society found in this place
Where every trunk extends skyward alone
But this estrangement’s our misapprehension
Their interaction’s taking place elsewhere
As down beneath our feet there’s conversation
Within the soil a constant silent prayer
Communing in earth’s cold and damp, dark bed
Along pale fibres intercessions flow
Their whispers spread through mediating threads
Ubiquitous networks of fungal growth
No tree in isolation stands but each
By every other in the wood is cared
No one in need finds it is out of reach
As warnings, news and nutrients are shared
We celebrate the world wide web’s creation
Enabling arms to reach around its girth
But nature could have been our inspiration
Its wood wide web first stretched throughout the earth

I was first properly introduced to the concept of the wood-wide-web when reading Underworld by Robert Macfarlane (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40643657-underland). He writes of the infectious enthusiasm of Merlin Sheldrake (https://www.merlinsheldrake.com/), one of the leading researchers into this symbiotic relationship between trees and fungus, which allows communication across vast areas in ways which until very recently we were unaware of. Absolutely fascinating. His ‘Entangled Life’ is next on my reading list…

© Ben Quant 2022

Poem 53 – The Word on the Street (Pt.2)

The word on the street is a miracle
Powerful to transform and inform us
But despite this remarkable talent
It’s imprecise and prone to accident,
Misinterpretation and confusion
That is why when God communicated
It wasn’t through email, text or post but
Gift wrapped in human form, relatable
His Son became flesh and dwelt among us
Born in a manger, the Word on the street

Words are wonderful things. When you think what they are, just abstract sounds or marks on the page, it’s astonishing that they work at all, but they do and in stunning and moving ways. But they’re not perfect, we’ve all experienced miscommunication when we thought what we said made sense and was clear… Perhaps that’s one of the reasons for Christmas.

© Ben Quant 2021

Poem 52 – Word on the Street

The word on the street is a miracle
So common it goes unnoticed, hidden
In plain sight, plain text, undercover
It’s underrated, abused but profound
This simple tool is anything but, requiring
Magical transformation to turn thoughts
Into sounds, into squiggles, on the page
On the wall, on the screen and then in reverse
From squiggle, to sound, to brain, with meaning
Transferred and transposed from one to another
So recipient and creator can
Comprehend the same meaning, sharing thought

This poem arose whilst printing out my thesis in preparation for my viva later this month. The process of seeing the words on the screen becoming words on printed paper, set of a train of thought. There may well be a partner piece tomorrow, as the thought didn’t stop there.

© Ben Quant 2021