Elements enjoy the new season, by Astrid Sutton

“My name is Gallium Germanium. I’m a crane. My huge red shoulders toil as they lift the earth. I work with a digger, Antimony Tellurium who shifts the loads. At this time of the year, we smell the first fresh clay and dust in the air, and watch the burgeoning shoots of brick sprouting from the rubble.”

“My name is Alan Rutherfordium Bohrium. Share the magic with me! My language is of sorcery, serpents and crescent moons. Come into my Shaman world and rejoice in the season of Paganism.”

“I am the artist’s cousin Rhenium Osmium. You’ll see me as an egg or as a drumstick. He called me ‘Sweet Pudding For A Sailor’ once. But I digress: we are all related. You must come outside with me again, and meet my cousin the tadpole. He has only just hatched!”

Neptunium Plutonium pauses, he is careful not to be pond-dipped by other, larger creatures. He wriggles back under the surface of the rainwater pond, which is alive with tiny bursting globes.

On Uninpentium Ununseptem pond next door, the pond being second cousin to Gallium Germanium, floats Fermium Thulium. She is Neptunium Plutonium’s half -sister, the moorhen. She paddles in carefree enjoyment, surrounded by concentric circles of parting water.

Here comes the dog, Holmium Einsteinium, with his walker. His senses are bursting from a cocktail of 1000 scents: the excreta of other creatures, the rain-brushed reeds, the scuffled tracks of rodents…His olfactive powers make him pant and sniff with pleasure.

He pauses excitedly beside our uncles Lantharium Cerium and Erbium Fermium, hacked out logs reclining on the splintered shavings of their antecedents. The dog Holmium runs off, away from Lanthanum and Erbium, leaving them lonely.

Zirconium Bismuth is his walker, tripping along behind as they reach the towpath. They look out over the canal inhaling the breeze, each savouring their own scent-tagged messages.

Across the water, Samarium Curium throws her leaves out of the cracks of buildings, lending her leafy triangles to the brown-built walls.

Tantalum Tungsten, the canal, ripples her divisions through the canyons of King’s Cross, her margins of water breaking into rhythmic triangles.

Cadmium Carbon’s burst of yellow is reflected in her shallow mirror. Soon Silver Cadmium and her butterfly sisters will flutter through, and gorge on her nectar.

And as for me, I am the totality. My names are too many and long to write. I am your sister, your brother, your mother and father. But at the moment, I am your spring.


About claire collison

Writer, photographer, creative facilitator, and breast cancer survivor, I am currently Artist in Residence at the Women's Art Library (WAL) My first novel was a finalist in the Dundee Book Prize, and my short stories and poetry have appeared in print and online. In 2015 I was awarded second place in the inaugural Resurgence Prize, the world's first eco poetry competition, judged by Sir Andrew Motion, Alice Oswald, and Jo Shapcott. This blog began as a space for words generated on my walking/writing workshops at the Mary Ward centre in Bloomsbury - Writing the City (WTC). WTC has since grown to include many other venues, including the Museum of Broken Relationships, the Barbican, the River Rom, Southwark Woods, Aylesbury Estate, and most recently, as part of Walking Women festival, An Intimate Tour of Breasts. I have worked with Kettle's Yard, Cambridge, as the recipient of the first Max Reinhardt Literacy Award, designing teaching resources; and for The Photographers' Gallery, helping school children develop visual literacy as part of 'Seeing More Things'. If you would like me to design a workshop or walk for you, please be in touch!
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