Here is a selection of my poetry for September.
In clustered bales are held the seasons’ days –
Formed through the year, now turned to autumn’s hay.
Summer’s still not done, though flowers fade,
Blood red poppies here and there still show
Before the gold of autumn starts to glow
From hedgerows and tall trees –
This is September.
IN THE MIDNIGHT GARDEN
Beneath the stillness of the leaves
A bat weaves swiftly through the trees –
A scat marks where a fox has stopped.
Across the grass those silver trails
Mark getaways by slugs and snails,
Pursued by hedgehog’s shuffling tread.
Spiders repair their broken webs
As moonlit shadows, secret deer,
Strip birch bark, stretch to eat late rose.
Plum stones and hazelnuts are stowed
By dormice, busy in the gloom
Of that old nest box in the hedge.
While, in the house, the night is still
As cats and people sleep until
The quiet of an Autumn dawn.
The geese are here, marking your special day –
Trumpeting loud greetings as they pass.
Warm sun plays softly on the trellised rose,
Attracting sluggish bees to end their fast.
The mouse-like wren chatters from late sweet peas;
More fallen apples litter dew-damp grass
And, from the wall, your robin watches all :
Counting last days of summer slipping past.
Long-tailed tits are back,
They’re flocking to our feeders –
The late September mists are slow to rise
But warming sun brings insects from their rest;
Made lively by this summer’s slow demise,
They swarm the flowering plant that they like best.
The ivy-covered fence is full of bees
Whose season is devoted to these flowers
And many butterflies come here to feed
Preparing for their sleep through winter hours.
Below the fence the ground is turning pale –
The pollinator’s work is almost done;
The nectar, insects’ soporific dwale,
Confirms that berries ripen in late sun
Providing winter food for starving birds,
Ensuring New Year’s song thrush will be heard.
Dwale – an ancient term for ‘sleeping drought’
Each evening, when the August sun was low,
They’d come to check the field behind the house –
Impatient for the harvest to be done.
They’d circle, honking, just above the ground
And, when the crop was in, on stubble field
Touched down in ones and twos, small family groups,
Skeins, silhouetted by the setting sun.
Leaving each morning, they’d return at dusk
For a noisy reunion every day…
And every year the pattern was the same :
They’d stay a week or so and then move on
To over-winter many miles away.
This year, when geese had gone, men came with plans :
Theodolites cast shadows over land.
He was a visitor we rarely saw
but signs that he had visited were there:
the well-worn path through nettles from the field;
a scat below bird feeders where he paused…
But he was only ever passing through –
our drive and garden, brief stops on his tour.
Audaciously, one July afternoon,
“As bold as brass,” “As if he owned the place”
he trotted passed the patio where we sat,
ignoring wide-eyed stares and sleeping cat.
One night he woke our neighbour from deep sleep
while trying to drag a can up concrete steps,
scared by sudden light, he turned and fled
abandoning the can and hidden mouse.
The children now would call him “Mr Fox” –
he got the blame when items disappeared;
one Easter, on the hunt, an egg was lost…
it turned up, half chewed, out across the field.
Hit by a speeding car on Forest Road,
the grizzled fox had crawled into a ditch;
out walking I had stumbled on this death
and knew, instinctively, this body’s his…
Thick nettles quickly closed the fox’s path –
it soon became as if he’d never been…
Although this happened many months ago,
today I found fresh fox prints in the snow.