Always

A glass of Prosecco in hand standing

By the worktop we spoke together as

We always do, truths and hurts, and

Understandings coming together as

They always do.

Listening to the Blackbird singing

I watched her cooking from my chair

She tasted the sauce from her fingers

And said, “Could you lay the table?”

“And bring the wine too?”

We talked some more, and ate and

Drank some more too, then off we

Went to bed.  I held her in my arms

Thinking how blessed I was, as

I always do, and slept

In Paris

In Paris we walked amongst the fallen gold
We found half-buried acorns to plant at home
We saw Osiris in all his splendour dwarfed
By the beauty of a black granite statue
Leaden rooves  curved up and swooped down
About mysterious windows that hid loving souls
Were they the people walking hand in hand we
Spied, or others making up after heated words
The swiftest lift, kissing five floors or was it six…
The cafe where we dunked our croissants and
Our special, wondrous, silent corner of Tibet
The lake where foolish words were spoken
In Paris we walked amongst Sunday silent shops
We sang and heard Vespers in our special church
Lit candles for all our children, and loved ones too
Our favourite city for lovers, with a magic all its own

Past

Driving back from the Post Office

Where I’d posted two special parcels

I punch on the radio, R4 as usual

The weather forecast is sunny, warm

And light breezes for a few days

 

Then it switches to Election discussions

With strident denunciations of one or

Other, and how their pot of gold is

Just over the Rainbow if we’ll only believe

Leaning forward I switch to Radio 2

 

It plays, “You are the Wind beneath my Wings”,

By Bette Midler and suddenly I am transported

To a School Assembly many, many years ago now

And my middle daughter steps out of the radio

My eyes mist and a vice-like grief grips me

 

It’s not there all the time, it couldn’t be

Briefly I had forgotten, despite the parcel

I felt happy in the sun, just like in Paris

A few short days ago.  I was whistling,

“You are my Sunshine”, to myself

 

A blossom tree unfolding, or cycling past

A remarkable stream of bubbling water

Sometimes a stone, or a shell distracts me

But not for long.  One memory or another

Catches up with me.  The lost past.

Memories of an Old Song

When you first kissed me I can remember

And where, but not, I think, the reason why

When you first lay in my arms ’til morning

I can remember well, and when, and why

 

But my head is full of old memories tonight

Ghosts in the wind that tap upon the glass

I want to hear them say, “Remember me”

Sons and daughters, whom I still love so

 

Like summer trees where birdsong stops

One cannot know the reason why

Just that the birds have flown the nest

Leaving branches green, but silent and alone

 

Now this tree feels spring unfold anew

Though I cannot say if their love will return

I know your heart is closing fast about me

That song is here and sings in me again

Other Skies

A cold, cold night.  Bitterly cold

I’m by my frosty car, and look up

At a black velvet sky pierced with

Brilliant diamonds clustering above

 

Where is my Arrakis?  Dancing for

The Pleione, light years away

My Sudalbari brings good news, but

Alas my dearest love is far, far away

 

My mind wanders amongst the

Distant light straining to hear

Athena calling her hunting dogs

But all is silent around me……….

SNOW

 

I watch the Snow falling in the halo of a lamp-post
Piling over sleeping stones like Elvish Mithril
Blanketing them in its cold, and shining brightly
Elsewhere its sparkling cloak slides slowly down into
The stream, to become one with the water, and then
You realise the beauty in its transient silken form
In this slowed down season you walk the early morn
With flakes of stardust settling on your sleeves
Fallen perhaps from galaxies far, far above us
You walk in solitary silence, in the stillness of a
Silent meditation, finding a gift in Nature’s moods
The present signs of cold and the elusive night sky
We may dream of high-towered San Gimigiano, where birds
Fly heedless to and fro, of strolling slowly around a square
Where scents of wild thyme and olive trees abound
But we are children of the North, where Winter enables us
To find our way again to stillness, our soul’s deepest need,
And warmth in love and friendship amidst the silent Snow

The Tree

I remember you. Not when you were young of course

First seen in Winter cold and bare but forever there

Passing the years, strong, stable, marker of my youth

I leaned my bike against you one Spring I remember

Sitting to eat my sandwiches, cheese they were, what else

 

The grass blew left and right, but you scarcely moved

Unfolding tight bunched blossom until your limbs were white

Then shading leaves in Summer heat, cooled and sheltered me

Hot and weary from chasing a girl, that I never did catch

Telling myself (liar!) that the pursuit wasn’t worth it anyway

 

Are the birds still roosting high amongst your branches

Safe from harm and raising new families that whirl and swoop

Do other new adventurers resting from their ride, think that

They’re are the first to find you, sharing kisses in your bower

Never imagining that I too was sitting there many years ago

Tokens

Trying to grasp a single shell,
Seaweed fronds, to secure the moment
To avoid the flight of time
Stores both infinite joy and sorrow
As if whistling alone in dark woods

But the splendour of the sea alone
Can never prove memory enough
To return the warmth of the day
We shared, hand in hand, and
Of you in the Winter sunlight

Birdsong in the Early Morning

The early morning sun reaches down
And touches the few leaves that stay
It shines as if it doesn’t know us at all
Then a small bird sings clearly
Far away in the morning hush
And I know you hear it too

Whether or not anyone else hears
Doesn’t matter.  We hear.
We are here.  It sounds our hopes
Our dreams.  Such as they can be.
Invisible to others, real to us
We wait the birdsong to begin again

The Dryad and The Sea

There was once a Dryad sprite, gentle, kind and dressed all in leafy green, who lived in an ancient wood on a hill.  Below the hill stretched a sea shore, long and sandy, where she liked to gather sea-shells to make her woodland glade even more beautiful.

She loved most of all though, listening to the song of the waves as they kissed the shore and drew back with a long sigh.  She would walk the shore on moonlit nights looking at the stars and listening to the waves, and collecting shells.

The Sea saw her strolling by and all at once fell in love with her radiant beauty.  He guided her into the surf where in the moonlight her leafy garments shimmered with a silvery glow.  The Sea caressed her gently with warm waves and drew her closer to him.  Before she knew her silvern leaves shimmered an iridescent blue and turned to scales and she found herself swimming along with The Sea, her mermaid’s tail delighting her as she sped through the waves.

For many nights she swam, caressed and loved by The Sea for she had his heart, and he treasured his beautiful mermaid.  But then one day she realised that she missed her woods with all their changing seasons and she knew Spring was nearly here.  One moonless night while The Sea slumbered she came to the shallows, her scales faded and she stepped ashore and walked back to her woodland glade.

The Sea awoke and knew at once that she had gone.  In a heart-broken rage he thundered and crashed against the shore, pounding the sand and stones and calling for her.  But she was deep in the woodland and didn’t hear his cry.    The Sea returned again and again but she was never there.   Many days passed and at last the hot Summer sun beat down and carried The Sea’s tears up into the skies where they joined as clouds and moved across the land.

Passing over the wood they began to fall as silent Summer rain, splashing down and giving the leaves a shiny coating.  The Dryad felt the tears and knew where they were from.  She realised she missed her gentle lover with his strong arms and soft kisses.  That night when the full moon shone she returned to the softly calling Sea and they became as one.  From that day on, whenever the full moon shines, the woods lose their elfin sprite and The Sea holds his Mermaid love in his arms once more.