A selection of my poems for JUNE
Flaming June by Frederick Leighton 1830 - 1896
Brilliant early sun.
I cleave to sleep.
My tattered cloak of dreams
Still clings to me.
Pulling it tight I turn -
Caught in her beam.
Does this sun ever rest?
She comes to me -
Gentle as a lover,
So, waiting, Earth prepares :
Bird song to herald her -
Creeping, she comes melting
Shadows. From her
Radiant look the cool
Young breezes fade.
Now in her nakedness
She visits me.
Her touch is everywhere -
Queen Midas of
The fiery embrace -
Gilding the very air…..
There is no hiding place.
A link to a video of my reading of JUNE can be found at the end of this section...
The white wall bears bright purple stains :
geranium flowers in the rain
have left their mark. This “flaming” June
the unexpected gusting winds
have stripped the petals from dog rose
and carpeted this grassy path.
Above, the elderflowers bloom –
corymbs of tiny star-like flowers
decked with raindrops, gleaming jewels,
are too wet for your gentle craft.
Next morning it was warm and dry,
the flower heads were at their best
and, gently, you cut each one –
avoiding crushing them once picked.
With loving care they were prepared
and you became an alchemist,
distilling fragrant flower scent
into a nectar of pale gold.
Safe in our fridge the bottles sit,
your cordial, unexpected gift
will be enjoyed on sunny days
when essence of the countryside
transforms a cool and welcome draught.
He’d listened to that clip – clop sound for years:
on Winter mornings at first light
and, earlier in the Summer time,
he’d wake to hear the horses pass.
Each day, with breakfast cleared, while washing up,
he’d hear them pass along the lane —
in Winter back to stabling
or freedom, loose in Summer’s grass.
Different today. Out early by his gate,
he waits for horses ambling by
listening till they are out of sight,
knowing that this is their last time.
And tomorrow, his horses will be gone,
the stables closed, the farm shut down…
so he will wake to the sound of men
in large machines tearing up his dreams.
ON CABBAGE HILL
At dusk, from off the bank
Where primroses had been,
We watched for wary shades :
Deer, inching through the wheat.
Excitement carefully checked,
We froze and dared not breathe
As antlered heads bobbed close
Across that golden sea.
Thrilling to see them near -
Elusive and so shy -
A tingle like the time
We watched kingfishers dive.
We waited silently
As night began to fall :
Dogs barked, a cow lowed once,
Wind rippled ripening corn.
Not deer - but being with you,
Is what I most recall :
The closeness of our wait,
Our hearts beating as one;
A tiny sense of hope,
A symbol of our love.
It’s strange to be writing like this
but these days I feel rather scared
as, watching the ebbing of tides,
of life I begin to despair.
I’m anxious to just let you know
I’m intact and safe enough here,
somehow I’ve ridden the tide to
the rock of my grandfather years.
It’s strange how I just bobbed along
unsure how I got to this place,
my landmarks all seem to have gone,
that route I shall never retrace.
Yet inside I feel just the same –
I hope that I make myself clear –
as something has got to be done :
I’m not going to hang about here.
Having checked out my position,
taking time to have a good rest,
I am slipping back into the
water, returning to my quest.
Leaving my rock in the distance,
swimming strongly on out to sea,
I’ll reach for gold in the sunset –
so please keep a look out for me.
Our Captain says it’s for the best —
left here and safe, but on my own —
they leave to carry on the fight
against a daunting, unseen foe.
Marooned, while life goes on elsewhere,
I have this island — do not share
the quiet air, the song of birds —
all I survey is for myself.
And as I hope for fresh supplies —
my only contact with the world —
I look out from my vantage point
across green seas to distant shores
where there is other island life
and lonely people making do,
surviving in their solitude
when days can feel like life unspent.
The clouds make mountains in the sky —
I wonder, will there soon be rain?
I wish that it was long ago
and I could reach you once again.
A video recording of my reading of JUNE can be seen by clicking this link :
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