Here is a selection of my poetry for OCTOBER
SLOW REVEAL (from GREENBANK)
Enjoying late September days,
opening curtains, expecting sun,
we’re greeted by a different scene —
thick fog has crept in overnight,
cool dampness blankets town and sea.
Then as the sun begins to rise,
the fog performs a slow reveal:
shadowy, geometric shapes
solidify, details made clear,
as roofs and windows of this town.
The sun burns out a golden path
across the water from its dawn
disclosing rows of anchored boats,
where suddenly six swans appear
through thinning mist to fly upstream.
By now the sky’s a peerless blue,
as distant spires are exposed,
then docks, the cranes and naval ships…
And, though the fog has quickly gone,
we know that Autumn won’t be long.
He brought the seasons to the town,
Dependable as sun and rain,
he brought her gifts and news of home.
Home grown his harvest: fresh flowers,
fruit always the first strawberries —
then Cox's wrapped “to see her through.”
His final gift each waning year
she cherished most — green tomatoes —
he loved the big red bowl she placed
them in. Slowly as they ripened
in the grimy sun, she would think
of life at home and think of him.
This year the bowl stands empty as
rain falls grey and thin she misses
his green fruit, but mostly misses him.
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.
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’
I watch leaves fall from wind-blown trees,
my children gone, their voices fade;
as memory and light degrades,
late birds depart, lost to dark night.
Slowly the nights are drawing in –
times are quiet with less to say
than mornings of those spring-shaped days;
gardens made ready for storms ahead.
The blinds are drawn as lights come on,
books and summers are packed away;
only echoes and ghosts will stay –
each day a prayer to tell like beads.
Uncertain that my memory serves me well —
my nose pressed to the window of the past
for images that flicker like old film
with action blurred and features lost to chance.
Like sound heard at the bottom of a pool
or distant tones that echo underground,
it seems your message now falls on deaf ears
as I strain hard to catch the words you owned.
I hold your ring with keepsakes from the past —
mementoes of the times and life we shared,
without your essence they can never spark
but memories persist though you're not there.
We are not strangers now, black dog.
Others have known you too : slinking
From the shadows, snuffling and thin,
Persistent in your following.
Trotting along behind, biding
Your time, you are prepared to wait
To seize your opportunity –
Cleverly you ingratiate
Susceptible hearts, guileless minds.
Shouting never frightened you or
The hex sign. Closing eyes is fine
Until, opening them once more,
Finds you still here. Deep breathing calms
The mind, but then you sit and whine –
Nothing I do makes you disappear.
So finally the bottom line
Is knowing that you’re here to stay –
Best to ignore you, come what may.
Each cunning sidelong glance reveals
You resting, head on paws today,
Or idly sitting scratching fleas –
Each time you’re always watching me
With eyes half shut, never asleep :
Unwanted friend waits patiently.
Then sometimes, with the longer days,
You leave, abruptly disappear,
And I relax in summer’s sun
And savour this changed atmosphere.
Yet still I know it cannot last
‘Though I’ve escaped from time to time,
You’ll suddenly appear, black dog,
And nuzzle me as if you’re mine.
In autumn, with the falling leaves,
You come. When copper sun rests on
The trees I see you gliding through
The wood, knowing, with summer gone,
You’ll seek me out – it’s understood.