Michael Manning is the eighth Manx Bard.

Each month, Michael will be sharing one of his poems with us, and letting us know some of the thoughts and ideas that inspired it.

This month, he shares a poem he was commissioned to write to mark the 50th anniversary of the Manx Wildlife Trust.

One of the delights of the role of Manx Bard is being asked to write poems for themes or occasions that you would never otherwise consider.

Commissions always come with a sense of privilege but also great responsibility!

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Manx Wildlife Trust and this poem was written to commemorate that event.

It was lovely to learn more about the work of the MWT and to meet some of the amazing people involved in caring for our natural world.

Many people are moved by the island’s beauty, and this is a source of solace, enjoyment and inspiration.

We are also ever more aware that we live in a time when the natural environment is under massive strain from climate change.

Perhaps this historical moment offers us an opportunity to seek a different rhythm of life.

More and more science points to the truth that our own health, in mind and body, is inextricably linked to the health of the wider environment.

As well as appreciating the awesome beauty, complexity and mystery of the world around us, even on this small island, perhaps we can glimpse a way of life that allows us all to flourish, and have the courage to make the changes needed.

The little tern is the logo of the Manx Wildlife Trust and more information about their work can be found at mwt.im.

The Little Tern

Come, come with me to the Ayres,

watch a brave bird find shelter on the shingle shore,

chattering a fierce courage past the tidal reach,

her wings warm with an African sun, seeking no more

than the bent and marram beauty of the beach.

Always there is the wind. Always there is the sea.

The living waters of the waves still hold our history.

Come with me to the quiet hills: we are not the owners here.

We are pilgrims beneath the vast cathedral sky

amidst the golden scattered stars of gorse,

where purple heather thrills to falcons’ cry

and peat and stream and bog find their sweet source.

Always there is the wind. Always there is the sea.

The silence is no silence but a thriving ecstasy.

Come, come with me to Close Sartfield

and listen to the living insect hum

alive with the glory of a meadow magnificence,

where the torrents of the orchids bloom

to outdo the butterflies in burnished brilliance.

Always there is the wind. Always there is the sea.

The invitation to the weary to sit, and rest, and be.

Half a century and more: the briefest flowering

measured against the slow rock: a bright empowering

of a people to see and feel and love this place,

each rain-soaked sunshine day an act of grace.

And always there is the wind. And always there is the sea.

Always the radiant wonder of a world both wild and free.