Poem introduction

'Nutting' – as in, gathering nuts – is a great ecological poem, pained by the belated realisation of irrevocable loss, a newly anguished sensitivity to the intricate, vulnerable quiet being of wilderness. In its wry self-portraiture it is gently comical, but nonetheless accumulates to an unsparing moral self-appraisal. In this I think it is a clear influence on the poems of Robert Frost and Seamus Heaney, two first-person poets who watched themselves behave in wild and rural places and judged themselves. The poem ends with the very folornly human hope that others will behave better than oneself, less driven by appetite, less vainly.

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