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© Helicon Magazine 2019

University of Bristol

 

'noli me tangere'

By Gruff Kennedy
Illustrations by Isabel Mitchelson

I was watching a video yesterday

About endangered caterpillars

Living in the Lake District

They feed on balsam.

'Touch-me-not'

Seeds.

 

The balsam is rare, and their only food source.

Its curious name derives from a

Mechanism it employs.

When touched, its seed pods

Burst; the seeds

Fly.

 

The caterpillar has no warning of this.

Heedless of danger they awkwardly

Crawl along the balsam stems

And feed. Sometimes they,

Too early,

Fly.

'Image poem#1'

By Gruff Kennedy

There's something discomfiting about being away from

The ebb and flow of the sea.

There's something incredibly calming about

The hiss of the gulls

The shriek of the tide.