The Ramble

The grey shadow

Cuts through the grass, green

With the surge of new life.

It makes its unsteady way

Sure of its goal,

But the sloping land leans,

The wind buffets

And the walkers’ minds drift,

Letting their feet

Meander in the sun.

 
The grass, silver,

Steeled against the sun’s

Interrogation,

Formed a guard of honour,

Blades swaying

In a Mexican wave, led

By the fresh breeze.

Now the downward slope

Pulled the walkers

Each to their own retreat.

 
The sun dimming

Turns from the grass, dulled

By the muddy remains

Of Winter floods that swamp

Life in stagnant

Pools, and drown the pathway;

Forcing the walkers

To shared study of their steps

With smiles and laughter

That defy the gath’ring clouds.

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The dream of enterprise

Do we lose our history

To the fruits of discovery?

 
The tidal wash of in – fluence,

Freed from innumerable homes,

Escaping the stale air of death

Lurking in the familiar,

Sweeps through our nurtured certainties,

Planes the grooves through which we have mapped

Our tribal journeys. Freedom blows

Away the drag of our shared past,

Scatters the dust that had gathered

Unnoticed in our quiet days,

That we now find, connected us

With a world in which we were small

But known. Now we are blown away

Free, alone and amongst strangers.

Land of Hope

The traffic groaned, we did not hear,

We wandered gravely furrow-browed,

Oblivious, our minds unclear,

Our senses numbed, our shoulders bowed.

 

No blackbird song can pierce our world,

Our thoughts were fixed on stranger shores,

Where truth was dreamt midst currents, hurled

By home events and distant wars.

 

 

We stumbled on; we stumble on

As if we had a noble aim

In view, whilst nature’s treasures shone

In sunlight’s golden evening flame.

 

 

The track leads up towards the woods

Whose shade and dappled sunlight kiss

The lids of tired eyes, cool the blood

That haunts us with its silent hiss.

 
This dusty path is marked by those

Who comfort with their lolling tongue

And pleading eyes; in the hedgerows

Lurks the nettle’s sting, cobweb hung.

 

At last we come to where the view

Unfolds, and draws us out to scan

The distant hills, no longer blue

But vague, where our ambition ran.

Dawn chorus

What we do not see stirs the woods to life

The hidden spark of dawn fires a babble

From survivors of the darkness.

Music it is not; just a cold rhythm

Crying out in fear and hope for the light

For safety in enmity.

 
What if the light came to hushed disregard,

If the first cry was met with indifference

And no bird sang in reply?

So, safe in the crooked branch of the tree,

No one to challenge his supremacy

He must surely die voiceless

Sir Alec Guinness

The grown-ups are dying

Not the old people but

The men and women that make the world,

That see how it is and

Walk through it confident

And with a kind of stability.
They wear suits, quiet ties

Strong sensible shoes and

Functional spectacles. Their passion

Is private, and quietly

Modulated by experience.

They have learned to respect

The triumphs of daily

Endurance and imagination.

 

His gentle voice combines

Sadness with soft smiles, and

Provides a resting place for we who

Have not been reconciled

With ourselves and our worth.
He is not trying to change the world,

But observes, listens, seeks

To learn a craft, offers

A truth wryly, accurate and sharp.

St Ives

image

Where is the tang of salt,

the reek of the sea’s harvest?

No more the seafarer’s roll

caresses my pier side stones;

no more the women’s red hands

bear fish stained air to cellars,

to chapel, to marriage beds.

I am left to the idle,

the fanciful escapees

that smother my golden sands,

and the sea only knows rage

or seduction – picturesque

to the exclusion of life.

 
Pilchards were my life – “pilchards”!

Even the word lacks beauty –

‘a devious shining worm

of a man’ this oily fish

has become in a packaged age.

Eyes have turned to the shining

light, springing into the air,

to the translucent turquoise,

to shapes of leisured gesture,

and the abstraction of form.

 

But beneath, I lie silent,

founded in oil and offal,

grieving for the days of fish,

the certainty of produce,

of sea, land and working hands –

plain, factual, functional.

Family

As I watch the sound of voices

Sucking the air from the room,

The roar of my silence swells.

Its skin bursts and the smiles

Are punctured by the dry prick of wit.

 

Best ignored – and I am left

Wondering if the sparkle of goldfinches,

The rattle of rain on the windows,

The drunken sway of the wind in the trees,

Are the ‘still small voice’

Or the last refuge for my absence