Here is a selection of my poetry for MARCH 2018
Ladened with bags, our shopping done,
we reach the exit from the store
to find the town awash with rain.
We have no choice, we must get home —
so trudge off to our waiting car,
avoiding head-down brollied rush
and running men in ruined suits
on broken pavement's trip and splash.
We sidestep streams from broken pipes,
a cascade where a gutter's blocked —
shop overhangs give brief respite
but we reach car park cold and soaked.
By half-way home the rain has stopped
and, pulling into our home lane,
find road now dry as grey sky clears —
a watery sun peers down again.
Sullen and damp, I unload bags
but stop to listen to a bird
singing from a neighbouring tree,
framed where blossom cascades down.
And suddenly it's Spring again,
while thrush repeats his dulcet song
my heart lifts up perceptibly
as, in that instant, trouble's gone.
Unseasonal the warmth :
This March two seasons coalesce :
Daffodil with bluebell,
Sallow, hazel, primrose, cowslip,
Anemone and celandine.
Everywhere there’s bloom and leaf,
High skies invite an early frost
But pairing birds are up to sing.
A sudden wind brings flurried snow,
Strips petals from the blackthorn hedge -
An unexpected mingling :
Confetti for the Spring.
OFF THE GREENWAY
Surprised to see blue lake below tall trees
as, viewed from here, no mirror to grey skies —
its surface turned to waves by gusting wind
that drives a flock of finches to the hedge.
In following the path down from the hill,
bushes and other trees obscure our view
till, suddenly, we're just one field away
before that lake of blue below the ridge.
And, closing-in, we watch as rabbits swim,
surf those wind-tossed waves of violet-blue
or, diving through these blooms of breaking Spring,
they hide beneath the bluebells of this wood.
This old path ends, abruptly, at a fence
that circles round the place where trees had stood.
Once branches arched above a bluebell glade
but now, with scaffold poles, a forest's made.
CONSTRUCTION SITE, KEEP OUT, the notice says
so from this world of brick all birds have flown;
no place of shelter for the roving deer
and rabbit, stoat and fox have disappeared.
In time the new estate will be unveiled
with streets named after “heritage we share” —
but not one creature, tree or plant remains
to prove this place was once more than their names.
When I was only four or five
my granddad’s shed seemed like a shrine,
where polishes transformed plain wood
and broken chairs regained their prime.
But, best of all, was when he worked on water marks :
removing, from a lustrous shine, defacing rings of white.
Usually a lengthy job — stripping then re-polishing —
the old man had a quicker way…
“My little dodge,” he always said.
Taking a meths soaked cotton wad
he’d hold it to the water mark
allowing just the right amount of spirit to soak in.
“Hey up!,” he’d cry, lighting the surface with a match.
I never failed to be impressed
and horrified in case the magic should go wrong.
I held my breath as quietly meths burned away :
a ghostly flame, a ball of heat
drawing the moisture from the wood
leaving the surface clear, and by some miracle, unmarked.
Now, thinking back, I see this was no party trick
but a technique — a special skill he’d practised to get right.
Remembering him I still recall his knowledge and his craftsmanship,
but, all in all, I treasure most the magic that he wrought.
Fred Lapington was a French polisher.
This Winter's broken, cold winds cease
now mocking blackthorn mimics snow
and in young sun a tame cat prowls
attracted by grey mouse's song.
The hares have gone, their last dance done;
the rookery so full of noise —
bright celandines shine from each verge
while quietly greenness fills the land.
New leaves and flowers, more birds in pairs,
fresh signs of Spring are everywhere,
but for these dunnocks in this hedge
the cuckoo calls through dooms of love.
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