Camp 4

No sign of life, not a bird, not a plant.

Only lichens

clothing the sharp stones with grey.


A patch as big as a penny

can be more than a century old

here in this place

where vegetation is at rest

350 days of the year.


Deriving nourishment

chiefly from stone


the lichen is thus a plant

which in all

its poverty

has eternity before it.

Autumn Richardson is a Canadian poet and musician. She lives in Cumbria, England, where she is the co-founder of Corbel Stone Press, an artist-run press publishing texts, music and art created in response to landscape, folklore, ecology and history. Her recent publications include Wolf Notes and Field Notes (Volume I) (in collaboration with writer/composer Richard Skelton), a micro-collection of poems, Crossing the Interior, released in Spring 2012, and publications in Orbis Literary Journal and Earthlines Magazine.