Daniel Greenwood

The language of leaves

Posts from the ‘Poetry’ category

House of herons-1

Imagine if swifts flew through
the empty tunnels of the underground,
if herons trod through the house of commons,
if nightingale sang from the stands
of the Oval, just imagine
what people would say

I don’t think they’d notice.

Maybe the politicians would shriek
and shrivel up in their seats
calling war, terror, personnel error!

‘Imagine! If a big eel stalking
egret could get in here
anyone can and anyone will.’

Herons: aspiring terrorists,
I always knew there was something
dodgy about them.

© Daniel James Greenwood 2015

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Valleys and hills-1

The diptera’s wings
the low boil of an aircraft
the scribbling of this pen
on this paper
and the flutter
of the opposite page.

All that is without sound:
the valleys and hills
the glaciers created

the small spots
of trees in leaf
in the bright fields

the white butterfly
searching golden grasses
nettles and even me

for somewhere
to scatter its seed

© Daniel James Greenwood 2015

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Reed warbler

Reed warbler song
etched with green daggers,
elongated spears of leaves,
deep in the shadowy murk of

wet stems and skins:
a songburst like a child’s
rattle, but just one phrase
breaks into the alder-
leaden air, into willow bows,
extended over a pond fed by the
Regent’s Canal.

© Daniel James Greenwood 2015

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I’m really pleased to say that you can now buy my poetry booklet I am living with the animals at Rye Books in East Dulwich, London. Rye Books is an independent bookshop run by Alastair, a brilliant bookseller with, from my experience, a particularly good understanding of natural history and nature writing literature.

They also run excellent talks and book events, most recently a book signing by local filmmaker Richard Ayoade.

Rye Books

45 Upland Road


SE22 9EF




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Poetry book


I am living with the animals

I am living with the animals is my first collection of poems, self-published in October 2014. It is 34 pages long and has 21 poems in it.

The poems were thought of and written whilst in places as far apart as urban south London, the mountains of northern Spain, the highlands of Scotland and the Norfolk and Dorset countryside. It was started in 2011.

Nature is everywhere in our lives and is intrinsically linked to our own well-being and existence. I hope you like nature more after reading some of these.

The cover illustration is by Henrietta MacPhee

To buy a copy in the UK for £3.50 (inc. P&P), click here.

To buy a copy in continental Europe for £4.90 (inc. P&P) click here.

Thank you,


I watch the nettles in the garden,

Moved by the mercy

Of a heat-wave gust,

Holly blue blown into sky

Like petals to sea.

Stinging nettles, to shake

The stems with my fist,

Touch the new tips,

It’s hot agony,

A pain known to children,

Accepted as a given –

Where people lay their

Bed sheets, nettles walk.

Dreadlocks of cream seed let

Out puffs into the August

Air, faint as smoke

Or perfume,

Never letting wind burst the casings,

This a release of the

Stinging nettle’s making.

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The hotel garden,

where the man hocks the moon

from the back of his throat,

below a dying yew sending out

final needles from its pollarded elbows.


The boredom of the night field,

ponies tasting the cricket green,

wet between their teeth,

the dew brightens their goofy enamel.

For us: the big bat darkness

of oak woodland,

lichens ogling from tiny

ovals of eyes –

the air here is clean.


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