This is where the horses stood
like statues in the rain,
their hedgerow in the early spring
saw blackthorn bloom again.
The field edge full of bluebells,
that spot where snake's head thrive;
across the field the cuckoo called
and swallows swooped for flies.
This meadow, full of buttercups,
where, homeward, heron flew
and kestrel, battered by the wind,
hunted the winter through.
Now, high above, a buzzard wheels
with changes in his eye:
hard-hatted men with cruel machines
soon make the good earth fly…
St. Just in Roseland
On the quiet road above it all,
the only sound is birdsong and slow bees;
from the lych-gate, where the swallows nest each year,
you look down on the church framed by its trees.
Here lichen covered headstones flank the path,
with Humfrey’s texts, * laid out on blocks of stone
(quotations to inspire whilst climbing up –
but missed by visitants on their way down).
As legend has it, Joseph came ashore
for tin and souls and here began his search;
but the magic of this place is in the eye:
exotic plants surround this creek-side church.
When the tide is full – creek mirrors sky,
reflecting Celtic cross, the trees and church,
cedars, walnut, cypress are all there,
exotic tree ferns, buzzing limes and birch.
Thick bamboo planting makes a fine windbreak –
although the garden’s in a sheltered spot;
huge gunnera thrive down beside the creek,
the giant leaves give shelter when its hot.
Trachycarpus grows close to the graves,
myrtle flowers, acanthus fringe the creek;
this verdant Eden’s fed by springs and rills,
its Holy Well enjoys its own mystique.
In springtime there’s a sea of blue and white
when bluebells and the ramson flowers bloom;
on summer days hydrangeas – blues and pinks
and if it rains montbretia lifts the gloom.
Beneath a spreading palm, close by the creek,
a message on a tablet to embrace
and reason why this couple chose to stay –
in simple words it tells they “Loved this Place.”
* The Rev. Humfrey Davis laid out quotations from 55 religious texts
On either side of the main path.
Rescued from abuse – we had to build your trust –
you sat and watched our other cat and learned.
So timid then, your instinct was to hide
and once, in terror, threw yourself down stairs.
We watched and saw your confidence return –
the garden and the sun became your friends
and everyday you’d make your way outside
or watch from windowsill on days of rain.
We gave kindness, food, shelter and a home
and in return you offered so much joy,
repaying us with closeness and your purr
and with a gentle love, so unreserved.
Now, as the days grow long, your life grew short
as age and illness wasted you away;
despite our care, the medicines and love
are useless now and can’t postpone this day.
You rested, feather-light in midday sun
on friendly lap, content with stroking hands…
and with a gentle breath you slipped away
like thistledown on wind ...and pain was gone.
There, in smart red cap,
he clings to garage wall.
Tentative of feeder’s swing,
he watches father
stab caged nuts.
Next day, 5a.m.,
a constant tapping
wakes me from deep sleep.
It stops, then starts again –
short, percussive raps.
From my window,
everything is clear –
our young woodpecker,
back on his own,
drumming for insects…
or phoning home?
Inside his ring, their wedding date,
his daughter’s birth was on his arm,
his wife’s date, his security –
the number that unlocked his phone –
prepared the way for what came next.
His date-of- birth set up the call
that detonated news world-wide
making today's date infamous.