Titania's Bower - Misha Herwin

 Titania’s Bower 2020

On an early morning walk in the local park, I discovered a twenty-first century version of Titania’s bower. No flower bedecked bank 
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine:”

My punk fairy queen would recline on an old mattress, while her fairies perched on the broken office chair as they performed their rap lullaby. 

Her pillows which had not quite reached the glade I found in another patch of green. Brand new and still in their plastic bag had they fallen from the back of a lorry? Been discarded by a disgruntled purchaser? 

Since the early days of lockdown there seems to have been so much more rubbish in the streets. There’s the usual stuff like the odd sweet wrapper, but added to that I’ve seen drink cans, plastic bags and half eaten food, the detritus of picnics on the usually pristine piece of open land at the top of the Brampton. This was horrible enough, but worse still are the discarded face masks and plastic gloves and most horrible of all the nappies that have been thrown in to the bushes. 

Is this because people no longer care for their environment? Or that those who are desperate for green spaces don’t really know how to behave when they get there? Or maybe, being forced to stay indoors we lose a sense of ourselves as social animals inhabiting a larger space. If that is so then like our primate ancestors whose rubbish tips provide such a good source for archaeologists, anything outside our lair can be used to dump what we no longer need or want.

Of course, on a purely mundane level my fairy’s mattress may simply have been dumped because the council weren’t collecting and the recycling tips were shut. 

Whatever the reason, I like the image of a spiky haired, weed bedecked earth sprit attended by sharp featured imps and a Robin Goodfellow, who though he might not actively wish us well, will cause mischief wherever he can.

Comments

You're so right about the litter! I paddled along my local beach the other day at the turn of the tide and got several disposable (presumably used) masks tangled around my ankles... seagulls are getting caught up in the elastic, too. It is an environmental nightmare, and now everyone is back to using takeaway cups, too. I feel ashamed of my country.
Griselda Heppel said…
Yuk how revolting. Especially the dirty nappies. Transmogrifying it all into Titania’s bower not only shows great aesthetic endurance, it qualifies you to be an opera designer at Glyndebourne. I saw a production of Hansel and Gretel there which showed the forest the children get lost in as full of rubbish, dumped supermarket trolleys, plastic bags festooning all the trees... It was a great production and made sense but I did miss the lovely German magical forest atmosphere.
Eden Baylee said…
Hi Misha,

I saw masks and gloves discarded on streets in the early stages of Covid, but that seems to have stopped. I think people had become germaphobes and didn't want to hold on to these items once they were possibly contaminated.

It seems counter-intuitive to throw them in the streets where others could become infected from them, but people have definitely behaved strangely during this time.

Hope you're well,
eden

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