Contentment is a quiet sky,
and greenery, and the water
that flows along the field;
it is knowing where the grass
grows at its most lush and how
to rest easily to chew the cud.
Contentment is accepting the field
with all its weeds, and finding our
own way to the river’s edge.
She sits quietly and smiles, and
hides the constant pain she refuses
to talk about, but is there behind her eyes
when she nods a silent yes.
She laughs about her penguin-waddle
which means, something else is going
oddly wrong, and that too is pushed aside
to speak of my week or my day on the marsh and how the rainbows rise and larks sing,
and geese come and go.
She would rather share how much
she loves the way dew alights on grass
on summer mornings. She would rather
laugh through her memories of romance
with the man still by her side, and let the
candles dance where she can no longer.
She loves a lantern, sparkles, and living
light. She loves green things.
She buys me elephants.
And lays fires in the room where I will
sleep and watch the moon cross the sky.
I am all the red-gold colours, white-hearted
with the heat of every love there ever was.
I welcome the rest of evening, the sinking into to the molten leaden sea at nightfall.
The clouds that veil my undressing soften
and pull my shades, stretching evanescence,
allowing me fingers, tendrils to paint a path
across tide, and harvest fields in the sky,
and spin mysteries that reach toward
you on the shore.
Above the dark waters,
above the fiery phoenix feathers,
a simple gull flies towards morning.
You may find the promise of spring
in hedgerows, snowdrops, crocus,
in budding leaves and birdsong,
but I know that winter’s tiring
when first the beach bows
to an arching sky and sea
calls for discarded shoes
and brave toes to be
caressed by cold.
about all the
me of all that
is still here,
still to pray for,
to be reprieved.
Where do we go in the dead of night;
what lights shine in secret gardens?
Waking leaves green and soften
the place where rain has fallen
and candles are not lit and
interloping paths are strange
and the door is ever open to
the darkness, the deepness
of un-tamed dream-space.
Who are they now, the Elders?
Where have they gone, the wise ones,
who held all that was sacred?
How long is it since the pure-in-heart
and ancient-in-wisdom, looked upon
the path ahead and turned aside?
And will they return?
It is hard to live in the world of man, and yet
the oaks still stand
gnarled and twisted and bark-stripped
and deep-grooved, and branch-shed,
and leaning over the road,
and wounded and
Where are they now, the elders?
They wait in quiet lanes
and by the woodland paths.
And you will know them
by the silence of their beckoning.
What is wild, or life?
Not only that which breathes, but
stones and fallen leaves.
Is there anything more wild and free
And are we ever more arrested
by the natural world, than when
it makes us stop…
It lay there, still bloodied and gnawed. I foot-dragged shingle over it and tamped it down to feed the earth-living things
and hoped it would rot and disappear,
but truth is it was too near the door, and I would tread upon its grave too often to rest easy.
I let it resurface and was surprised
at the humanity in its paws, how hand-like
they are holding that single pebble
like a holy book, and the flowing nature
of its gown, a rain-drenched shroud.
So what do I do now?
Don’t drape me with plastic, or flowers,
nor tie me with ribbons and string,
clothe me only warm sphagnum blankets,
and birds stopping by to sing.
For pearls give me mushrooms that gleam,
for diamonds string dewdrops on webs,
cloak me in gossamer mists of a morning
and crown me with a ruby at sunset.
If you were tiny, and your rapid
heart, outraced the minute
a thousand to one;
if you’d become a poster-boy
for some strange cult, purely
because of the colour
of your skin;
If you woke too early and slept
too late, and were harried to
live the frozen months on
scraps, and ice;
would you still climb the highest
tree, and sing?
We do what we need to do,
not what others want of us,
yet while we’re slamming down
head-first after soggy bread
on Christmas day, we don’t
know just how beautiful
are the wings that
Longest night steals in;
trees spread their black
fingers into the sky and
across the waters.
Darkness does not fall,
but waits for daylight shades
to fade to grey and outlasts
that flash of white,
while blackness oozes
from the banks.
I do not wish my old life back
nor the people from it
but how I miss…
the way they made me feel
and how I feel the sadness
of this new world.
I woke to a world of fairy-dust
not true snow-fall, more
an end-of-Autumn shimmer,
Translucence rises from logs and leaves,
pearlescent, alabaster, sepia memories of
the aging and the birthing, the quietude
of autumn: woodland decaying into life.
If I should fall in Autumn, then let me lie
where golden leaves will be my coverlet.
Let the gentle mists sing me to my rest,
and early evenings welcome me to home.
Instead of swan-song let me hear the honk
of returning geese and believe that I will fly
in a shimmer of golden wings rising
into the morning Autumn sky.
We look to the stars for the alien life,
which already lives beneath our feet, and writes to us, in hieroglyphs
trying to find a way to speak,
while we look far beyond the place
we live and do not yet understand.
The scarab first caught my eye, emerging crablike on the Cromer sands,
then the overflowing horn of plenty,
its silver shimmering creator coiled
and dived leaving all the cryptic faces,
goggled, helmeted, spaced out and
planned for me to wonder at, puzzle out to find the four-ribbed tube-breathing prototype of man.
We think of famous places,
natural untainted spaces, or those
magnificent castles and country piles
of bricks, and gentry lives, but whose
landmarks are those?
What relevance to your growth
and being who you are becoming
registers in that earth, or those walls?
Make your own marks on the land!
Create your true points of reference, and
raise the smallest statues to your beliefs.
Or plant – or maybe save – a tree, to
shine golden in the evening against
life’s stormy sky.
As we edge towards the darkening,
lanes are lit by summer’s lingering.
Fairy-sconces of toadflax torches,
shine by the hacked-back hedges,
while beyond the rusting gates,
and long-forgotten fences,
bright green fields stretch
out their aching sinews,
refreshed by autumn
drenches, and then
relax their greens
into fading sage
beige, as all
I would sit and weep for being
made to choose, between the paling
of the sky at dawn, and the fading
of the earth at dusk.
And in my tears I would find the
answer, if I could only photograph
one thing, I would choose
I would picture the distorted world,
rounded in a raindrop, gilded
in an office window, impressionist
Low tide would gift me light,
clouds and cliffs in the shimmers
of the still-wet sands, and gulls
In puddles I would find the autumn
leaves, the wellington joy of children,
and in the dark of the mountain tarn,
I’d find the echo of miracles.
Though my dreams are scattered
at your feet, run wildly on.
My hopes are as firm as the
dunes where the marram grows,
as the quicksilver of the evening seas;
they have all the fragility
of the moon at dawn,
but fear not your treading
across my heart, run free,
run wildly on.
Soft ice cream and the pointless drive
along country lanes, which you haven’t yet
figured out is one of my favourite things, idle
rides on roads to somewhere, or nowhere,
just looking at the places in between.
The gentleness of cygnets on the river,
in their end-of-summer grey, thunder clouds
fallen down without rainfall, soft feathers
on the water, and beyond the tree-lined
bend: the skipping light.
Reed-streams below the surface, and
why I wouldn’t swim where such fickle
greenery lies waiting to entangle the
unwary; ramshackle boats and one
sleek beauty of polished wood that I
held back from stroking.
Old flint walls and hidden park-land
beyond its old-money rusting fences,
tree-tunnels, and macho fools who jump
from the stone bridge into the weir,
Be still blood red heart
of paper whispers, there is
bee-work to be done.
forages in the shade of
a ragwort sunburst
Hearts of burnished bronze,
and silken fawn, held in the
palm of lime green leaves.
Flaming June is doused,
and sopping, sobbing still.
Night-scents are wasted
when moths cannot fly,
hungry for the sweetness
hidden in that pale blind
Heat on the river path has me slowing
to the pace of swans, languid and diving
beneath the water, seeking shade; has
me retreating to the few trees
and the breath of leaves.
A swing has been strung on a branch,
seemingly grown specifically horizontal
for that purpose
and looking as though it has been
waiting for childhood to return.
I regret just walking on.
alights on the perfect bloom,
folds wings, disappears.