A selection of my poems for OCTOBER
MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE.
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.
THE LAST TIME
Then, every year it was the same,
we'd wait to watch the geese return.
Just as the sun began to set,
we'd hear them from our cottage door,
honking and calling as they passed.
Somehow they knew when to arrive…
with harvest in and combine gone,
in twos and threes, then Vs and skeins
they'd circle round fresh stubbled field
that filled the top of Cabbage Hill —
dark silhouettes against red sky,
landing in tens beyond Long Copse.
Their congress lasted for a week
with trips to feeding grounds each day
and loud reunions at night.
Then they were gone, leaving the hill
as suddenly as when they came,
to over-winter miles away.
When, late last year, the land was sold,
men with hard hats and plans moved in,
soon diggers made the good earth fly.
“Creating new communities —
A family countryside retreat”…
But not a place to welcome geese.
A late September burst of sunny days
helps make-believe that Summer’s set to last,
but while the season’s flowers still earn praise
Autumn’s first steps are littering the grass…
Conkers have fallen from horse-chestnut trees,
encouraged by the coldness of the night,
here, spiky chestnut shells beside ash keys –
but not one shiny conker is in sight.
Quite safe on this estate from boy’s attack,
this tree is not beset with sticks and stones –
yet not one conker sits on grass or track–
and empty shells now lie where they were blown…
The only clue – brown fragments I have found –
proves early deer have cleared this patch of ground.
Our blackthorn has been wonderful this year,
each hedge I passed seemed blanketed in snow.
The trees, like white sails, billowed over lanes
and verges… and the celandines’ bright show.
A gusting wind sprang up to shake the hedge,
bending the trees to rock them to and fro,
releasing blossom in a blizzard fall,
surprising horse and rider just below.
As drifts of snow-white petals filled the lane
the parting clouds revealed a watery sun;
although the signs of Spring were in the air,
the cold wind warned that Winter’s not yet done…
Now, seasons on, the hedge bears blue-black sloes,
As bitter as that wind from long ago.
I look back through the years gone by
to find the Christmas you and I
discovered love that kept us warm,
providing comfort from the storm.
Despite the snow I felt no cold
as whistling down dark streets I’d go;
a callow youth of nineteen years
for whom dead winter held no fears.
Winter’s stark cold can numb the brain
but soon the snow will turn to rain,
the days will lengthen, fill with sun –
bright spring brings hope to everyone.
My mind has seen the seasons round,
but autumn has me trapped and bound.
The tyranny of winter’s cold
sees in the New Year, ends the old.
In budding springtime life contrives
to start afresh : revitalise.
The earth awakes as gentle showers
with vernal sun conspire for hours
to make the land a verdant scene,
from hills to hedgerow, hues of green.
High upon our native hills
we found that host of daffodils –
like harbingers for my green youth
as I begin life’s quest for truth.
My mind has seen the seasons round
Summer arrives out of the blue :
copper-gold sun and retinue
of tiny clouds, like feather down,
hover above the shimmering town.
The meadowlark spirals unseen
above a landscape caught between
the glimmering sea and burnished hills
where toiling man sun burns and grills.
The city’s heat is hard to bear –
no breeze to stir the thickening air,
the sticky summer brings me down
when trapped within this stifling town.
Look closely at the life we’ve seen,
the first snowdrops, air crisp and clean;
a myriad of sun-kissed days
when landscapes shimmer through the haze;
the biting cold of winter nights,
the sparkling snow and crystal light.
But autumn days can bring despair –
a chill of death hangs in the air.
Late autumn mist can quickly hide
all vestige of sun, moon and tide.
in leafless woods and barren fields
slowly the future disappears.
TO A GRANDCHILD IN AUTUMN
As summer leaves I hear myself say
When I was Young or Looking back
about the way I've led my life.
In that moment, realisation :
a half century of my years
must stand between the lives we share.
It leaves me breathless and surprised
as here, inside, I feel sixteen.
I still relate to all you do -
anticipate all you must learn -
but I can see the days grow short
and watch the shadows closing in.
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