Freedom in Viriditas

by Phoebe Trott

it is my job to love the ever-turning earth, in its fierce and undefinable chaos;
often i feel as though i walk between worlds,
as glossolalic ambassador to the transgressors;
as a well-intentioned missionary,
waxing lyrical about flea-bitten pelts and the smell of the earth;
sermonising on the goose and the squirrel,
on the air and the water,
on freedom in viriditas.

i know the wilds as holy blurred boundaries.
bright-eyed and flea-bitten, the lioness grows her mane;
divinity is in her sunlight corona, flashing copper under the hot cat’s-eye sun.
thus crowned, she defends her people;
the uncaring brazenness of her change is almost unbearable,
but my dreams of pack-running find solace in her gold-brown gaze,
and in her pride.
there are, after all, no bargains between beasts and men.

©Phoebe Trott, 2022

This poem was longlisted as part of the Spectrum: Poetry Celebrating Identity project. Click here to find out more about the project, and other poems on the longlist here.


The concept of identity – be it class, gender, sexuality, national, institutional, or anything else we define ourselves by – has gone through radical change over the past half-century, and the idea of definition by binary oppositions is no longer as relevant as it once was.

Spectrum is a poetry anthology that seeks to amplify marginalised voices, and to celebrate the great diversity and rich variation in the identities of people from around the world and from a huge cross-section of walks of life.

Click here for the anthology of shortlisted poems.