Poem of the week: Still Here by Jean O’Brien

When all this is over and we have
obeyed the freshness of water,
the susurrations of air, we will
still know death's piercing scent. It is
the sweet-grass smell of tarragon,
mixed with the pungency of lemon thyme.
We must not forget that the forests
hold our breath, every leaf –
a green promise,
every bud – a gift.
We will circle the wagons,
treasure the warmth of our fire,
lambent flames reflecting their glow
in our eyes. We must hold on,
with the stalking fox, the howling
wolf, the swimming fish, the birds
wheeling in the air and us, holding on,
all here. All still here.

Jean O’Brien’s 10th collection will be published by Salmon in 2021. Her work has recently featured on the Dart train as in Paris as part of the Poetry Jukebox