HOME
BIOGRAPHY & BOOKS
SELECTED LINKS
POETRY

 POETRY

Here is a selection of my poetry for JULY

 

 

PRIVET

I cannot like the scent,

Yet I would rather give up others more sweet,

With no meaning, than this bitter one

(Old Man – Edward Thomas)

 

Initially, like Thomas’s “Old Man,”

this pungent smell is difficult to place :

familiar – both bitter and yet sweet –

it does not chime with me like other scents.

 

Hovering on thick air like memories,

it stops me in my tracks and makes me think :

arriving in fresh waves, just like the past,

it leads me to a hedge across the street.

 

Carefully shaped : dark leaves cut trim and close,

do not disclose the very thing I seek

but, where the shears have missed a growing tip,

tiny white spikes of flowers now persist.

 

There, softly in late sun, scent speaks to me :

transports me down the vista of the years

to where an old man, dressed in corduroy,

flashes quick shears, watched by a lonely boy.

 

APPROACHING HEAVEN

(After “COOKHAM MOOR”

by Stanley Spencer 1937 )

 

His is the view this runner saw

approaching Cookham from the Moor,

the High Street hushed as first birds called —

lovers and angels still asleep.

 

He said ...heaven was to one side *

and, running through just after dawn,

the supernatural lingered still

round corners, behind hedge or wall.

 

His visions people this small place —

those paintings were his main concern;

the landscapes, like this Cookham Moor

he scorned – made for commercial gain.

 

Yet in this view I find my past —

those Sunday runs more special now,

memories of my feelings, how

I felt the spirit of this place.

 

If I could do that run today

would Spencer's visions haunt me still?

Or spectre, with a paint-smeared pram —

a silent presence on this road...

 

* Gilbert Spencer said that Stanley...”had the idea that

heaven was to one side: walking along the road he turned

his head and looked into heaven.”

 

SUMMER RAIN HAIKU

Across the window

Hang long strings of heavy jewels :

Raindrops on snail trails.

 

SCHOOL TRIP

First there’s the dash from hired coach

To rock pools far along the beach -

Ostensibly off catching crabs,

These girls have eyes, but not for fish.

 

Boys with their cool new baseball caps

Suddenly start a game of chase;

The girls in flip-flops - strappy tops -

Can’t run too far, so squeal instead.

 

Escape impossible, they wait -

Motionless as rock pool crabs -

Once caught, these creatures lose allure :

Familiar as family pets.

 

After the skirmish girls regroup -

Attend to rock pools once again;

Released, they scheme to look mature :

To seem assured…. More dangerous.

 

THE BUTTERFLY BUSH

Self-sown, on waste ground, in old masonry,

it’s found a toehold on old factory sites,

populates the ruins of stately homes.

Once a cultivar, it slipped away

to set up home beside the railway tracks,

on abandoned buildings, sprouts from broken paths.

Buddleia can outgrow some native plants,

seeds germinate on dry and hostile ground;

its panicles of tiny lilac flowers

are where the bees and butterflies are found.

And, at a time with species in decline,

when campaigns urge Save Butterflies and Bees

our government has found time to decide

that buddleia is no more than a weed…

 

 

DEFRA (Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

Has declared buddleia to be an “invasive alien species.”

 

       

 Poetry on this website is protected by copyright.