The Poet’s Apprentice!

These  past two years or so I have been apprenticed to a poet, Mark Roper, a word sorcerer so to speak – as you see he has had some effect on me! He has never attempted, perhaps realising it would be futile on his part, to impart any guidance to me on the writing of poetry; instead, we travelled together to various locations in search of our native orchids.

A common friend brought us together though this friend does not share our interest in walking bogs, sand dunes, marshes and hills as we seek these beautiful flowers and it is often just us two or in the company of a few other like-minded people that we pursue our hobby.

This has been a particularly good year for us, especially so as a fellow enthusiast, John Fogarty, from Co. Tipperary, brought us to locations previously unknown to us and which were abounding in treasures. Although we aren’t “tickers” – those who mark off and count each species seen in a season in an almost competitive manner – we do delight in seeing something new and delight equally when a friend reports on seeing a new species though we haven’t been so fortunate to be there ourselves.

It is a quiet pastime and we are both comfortable with quietness. Silence is regular and easy and we often wander off separately when on the ground searching for orchids with a call one to the other when something of interest is found.

Mark’s interests go well beyond orchids to all aspects of our natural world. He has a particular interest in bird watching though not at all restricted to that. He has written several books of poetry and two books of local Waterford interest, “The River Book”, about the River Suir and “The Backstrand Book” about an area in Tramore.

The Bee Orchid, a particular favourite and the  title of one of Mark’s poems – see below. 

Yesterday, Saturday 21st October, Mark launched his latest book of poetry, “Bindweed” to a large, enthusiastic and supportive audience at the Imagine Festival in Waterford. While he read several of the poems he didn’t read “Bee Orchids” which I had hoped he would but I will type it below for you. (It was Mark who first showed me the Bee Orchids on the sand dunes in Tramore – the setting for the poem)

You can read more about Mark and his work at: https://markroperpoet.wordpress.com/ and order a copy of his book at www.dedaluspress.com

Bee Orchids

 

He’d been rowed

across the Rinnashark

to see them one last time

before he died

 

The photo of his hand

cupped round a flower,

a letting go

and a leaving be.

 

So hard to find them

in the kidney vetch,

in the marram grass

and the dead marram grass.

 

I found three, one inside,

two outside the dune.

On that dark evening

I took them as a sign.

 

Making

the strange meanings

you make

when you’re alone.

 

But the orchids –

their motley faces,

bright pink tricorn,

snaily horns.

 

So grave and so silly.

They stared me down.

*********************************

To find out more about the Irish Garden Plant Society visit our website or follow us on Facebook

Paddy Tobin

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 thoughts on “The Poet’s Apprentice!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s