Julie Leoni responds to the impact of changing agricultural systems on the land
This morning, it is not just us waking. It is the end of winter, the beginning of spring. Sarah Watkinson takes us through this hatching of light, leaflets, chicks and buds: nesting tits feed their fledglings on newly-hatched moth caterpillars, there is a longer, stronger light and we have the sun’s brilliance. Now, after the Spring Equinox the North Pole is leaning towards the sun. Listening to Sarah, lines from Philip Larkin’s poem ‘The Trees’ come to mind.
The trees are coming into leaf
Like something almost being said;Philip Larkin, The Trees
Sarah Watkinson is an emeritus research fellow in Plant Sciences at Oxford University with an international reputation as a mycologist. Her published work includes three editions of a co-authored textbook, The Fungi, with Elsevier, and numerous scientific papers. With Jenny Lewis at The Poet’s House Oxford, she organises SciPo, an annual event for Science Poetry.
From 2019-20 she was inaugural Writer in Residence at Wytham Woods, Oxford University’s own field research site, where previously she had carried out research on mycelial networks of fungi which recycle mineral nutrients retrieved from remains of dead trees. She lives near Oxford and in Northumberland. Publication of her prize-winning debut pamphlet, Dung Beetles Navigate by Starlight, by Cinnamon Press in 2016, followed a career as Lecturer and Researcher in plant sciences. Since then her poetry has appeared widely in magazines and anthologies.