Wednesday, 10 February 2016

The sky is on the beach!

When you go to the beach and the tide is running out over flat sand, the sky is kind of clear. That sky, the blue and the clouds, are all reflected on the wet, flat sand. That. We saw this at Newport on my birthday, and I came across a similar scene today, when the sun finally came out again, at Aberporth. What joy to see that sun.


Earth of light

sky of earth

(from Dancing the Siguiriya, by Federico Garcia Lorca)

 All the blue heavens have landed on the beach,
the whole of the sky lies at our feet.

Still and silent on a winter-weathered strand
somehow earth and heaven have contrived to meet.

And there is the whole of the sky on the sand,
it’s right there, just in front of our feet.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Invitation to gardens in winter

Invitation to gardens in winter
Pines from Mexico, with needles soft as feathers,
their cones as big as fat bananas all over the ground.
Scarlet cotoneaster berries, bright as sunshine,
hang above frosty shadowed corners.
There are plane trees, London planes as big as a city,
branches full of fruit against a startled blue sky.
Beside them we will watch the river rolling by.

We will sit on a bench in the slow morning sun
to share fresh apples and sandwiches of cheese and salad,
while we are watched by a pair of hopeful geese.
And you will see more trees than you can ever count.
Here are the tallest eucalyptus,
covered in the longest strips of subtle coloured bark
around twisted trunks, from lightest yellow to greenest dark.

I will tell you about the perfumes of heady wintersweet,
fragrant daphne, and all the honeyed scents of this season.
We’ll find oak, elm, cedar, Zelkova,
and the oldest oriental plane on the planet.
You can talk to me of this world of trees,
else how will I know their names and places,
whether they grow in valleys or wide open spaces.

And we’ll walk by grasses, tall in golden slanting sun,
where long shadows of bamboo stand out clear
against the wide spread of green lawns;
and dogwood stems stand proud in crowns of red.
Geese will shout their calls over the still frozen mere
and we’ll watch coots totter on ice, unsure of their ground, 
while we wonder at all the treasures that we have found.

As afternoon draws down its shades and the bitter cold lingers
we’ll take a turn in the Palm House to thaw our frozen fingers,
where we’ll drown in warm scents of tropical rainforest.
At the end we’ll aim for the cafĂ© where temptation waited all day.
You know, you simply have to come to the gardens –
not just for all the trees, the grasses and the lake,
but without you, who else will I have to share the cake?

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Birthday poem

Woman in a red chair, Pablo Picasso
Here's a bit of a Birthday Poem.


This body’s not finished yet.
It has scars, wrinkles and veins,
and that’s only on the surface,
even worse troubles lurk underneath –
its brain forgets things,
all those names disappear;
its lungs get short of air,
the blood flows sluggish,
there’s cholesterol gathering,
joints ache and stick,
knees pop and creak,
but it ain’t finished yet.

This body’s got work to do.
There are more hills to climb,
lakes to swim, bridges to cross,
woodland paths to walk;
Two Nudes, Pablo Picasso
there is sea air to breathe in deep.
Stories to be read, words to write,
more friends to laugh with,
and many more people to hug,
animals to stroke, kids to cuddle,
more peaches to suck, berries to savour,
cake to be cut.
None of it is finished yet.

This body’s got work to do.
There are fires to stare into,
races to run, gates to jump, trees to climb,
fences to cross, fields to wander in,
swings to swing on,
more journeys to make,
there's more music to bring joy to the heart.
And there are hands to hold,
bodies to caress,
lovers to kiss,
secret places to be explored,
so much more love to be made.

This poem was written to the Week 3 prompt in this great little book. Week 3 - Exposing Yourself - happens to coincide with my birthday. I am revisiting the 'Write a Poem a Week' prompts this year. Writing some new material and revisiting work started when 52 was run as an online project in 2014 by Jo Bell. 52 is on Twitter:
and the book is available here:

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Midnight walk

It has rained every day here in this corner of west Wales since October 31st. We have got used to floods on the roads as the water continually runs off the land onto lanes where  gulleys overflow and drains are blocked by debris. Last weekend we decided to go on foot to a friend's place, which is less than a mile away through the woods, much further via flooded roads in the car. It was still raining, but hey, there was a party at the end of the journey.
(We only had to walk back afterwards!)

Midnight walk

Your nose runs, you sniff,

wipe it on the back of your soaked glove,

this doesn’t help,

it makes your nose more wet,

but at least there is no one to see

deep in the night forest where

tree trunks loom in the torch beam

and brown leaves shine on the ground

as you slip, slither and slide

down the steep valley side,

hang onto branches for balance so

squeezed moss fills your hands with rain.

Step through roaring streams,

stumble up the other side,

search out the path in torchlight,

skid down again on slipping mud,

the only sounds the thunder of bursting becks,

the constant drip of rain, and

your nose sniffing to no effect.

The world is drowning.