5 August – Watched

I open my curtains at six fifty nine
to sixteen jackdaws on the telegraph line.
A group stake out, every eye focused down on me,
staring and cawing intermittently.
Corvid surveillance causes me some unease
so I run downstairs to make the morning teas!

4 August – Don’t just stop to smell the roses

Don’t just stop to smell the roses,
stop to smell it all:
fresh mown grass,
new cut hay,
the tumbling scents
of honeysuckle
and jasmine stars.
Stop to see as well.
Pause your walk to watch
a wagtail’s bobbing dance,
to laugh at sheepish grins,
applaud a strutting stoat
and gasp at kestrel dives.
Stop to touch the lupin’s furry seed pods,
feel for yourself a cleaver’s stick,
and welcome tall bracken tickling your face.
Stroke the horses when their heads
rise and peer over the wall,
stay, talk awhile softly
to each and every creature you meet,
enjoying their wordless replies.
Yes, absolutely stop,
park your car in the lane,
get out and cherish the chance
to remain longer and linger
at the sight of a rare brown hare
running or sitting
beyond the field’s barred gate,
or as a moorland sweeping barn owl
lands on his own pausing post
and locks his piercing eyes with yours.
Stop to listen too,
to hear every birds’ song,
from the sparrow’s chatter
to the blackbird’s virtuosity
and the curlew’s haunting call.
Then look up again
and truly notice
each and every
jewel like bird
that graces a tree
or visits the garden.
And if you hear the kingfisher call
on the winding river path,
just wait,
always wait,
for you might just glimpse
a flash of brilliant flight.
Don’t just stop to smell the roses,
take time to breathe and be
in the woodland, the water
and the wide open spaces
long enough to receive
the wild, unpredictable gifts
of God that grow and roam
and are –
here for you to find.

3 August – Garden mafia

They’re back again
and I know it’s more customary
to sing and serenade
their colours and revelry,
but haven’t you noticed
they’re absolutely in gangs,
mobs of seed spitting,
bird feeder disrupting young lads.
I love them, I do,
they deserve descriptive emotion
but before I can get there
I’m laughing at the commotion.
Finch faces, finch faces
what are you so busy conniving?
Golden but mischievous –
darling bright scoundrels thriving.

2 August – Daylight display

The river path is lush now,
growing high verdant green,
and every several steps
fireworks explode between.
Caught mid detonation,
flower-sparks shine,
a dazzling scattering of stars
frozen still in time.
Strange to explain
what I hardly believe,
these breath-taking bursts
are simply called ‘hogweed’.

1 August – White rose day

What else should I serenade on Yorkshire’s day
besides the bright rose, the white rose
that represents her name?
But so many more beauties
come to the fore,
the rivers, the dry-stone walls,
the blustrous, broad-placed moor.
Ten years I have lived here now, under her spell,
and I still can’t find sufficient words to halfway tell
how I love her with her heather, and her ever-changing skies,
how she’s home and half-heaven in my awe struck eyes.
I will walk out my devotion on her coast and up her hills,
each step a caress as I explore and fulfil
my promise to both of us to grow to know her well,
woodland and wildlife, beck, field and fell.

31 July – Interloping leaper

We set off round the reservoir track,
intent on a catch up natter,
suddenly three are joined by a fourth
keen to add more chirrup and chatter.
Little interloping cricket,
be careful where you leap,
we are pleased to meet you
but we have secrets to keep.
Besides this seems a more dangerous route,
you’ll need to watch for every flying boot.
Jump to the left now, back to the grass,
we’ll agree to let your intrusion pass.

30 July – Baby wren

What is smaller than a wren?
A fledgling wren for sure!
I saw for myself by the river,
I’d never met one before.
Like a furious, fluffy pompom,
squawking in the tree,
frantic because its mother
was on the other side of me.
I didn’t want to prolong its panic
so I quickly carried on
but was gladdened by glimpse of small stubby tail
and miniature raucous song.

29 July – Dog walk dog rose

The wooded track at the end of the village
is steep and narrow to climb,
growing closer still now
as late July bracken towers over
brambles that trip and prick.
The dog tunnels under
and we, like jungle explorers
feel our way through
the dense curtains of foliage
all the way up to the top
to tread the lighter green
of grassy sheep fields,
and see the far, rolling hills.
We reach the farm track
where suddenly, a riot of roses
spill their friendly colour
all over a dry stone wall,
like a chocolate box picture
of Summer hedgerow bliss.
And I smile as I remember
how the struggle to ascend
is always worth it somehow.

28 July – Lone Ranger II

We know his game for sure now –
the shy retiring woodland buck,
for we’ve caught him in the act.
We’ve seen him leave
his calm, canopied retreat,
leaping up the track and back
to the fray and fracas
of warren life,
the endless demands of the drove.
I wonder how often he sneaks away,
how long he gets for this downtime,
and if the other rabbits know
his secret shaded peace.

27 July – River soundscape

I wish I could conjure words
to set the song of water,
but no string of sibilant sounds
can capture the constancy
of luscious liquid white noise.
Always by the river,
flow serenades me still,
whether carried in rush,
ripple or fall,
its noise quiets my soul.
It’s the same by the sea,
with the crash and the draw,
Iike a raging lullaby
that storms and soothes
all fear away.

26 July – Olympic digger

The first time I saw a mole
I was beyond surprised,
for they’d been so much bigger
in my childhood mind’s eye.
Pictures didn’t give me scale
and stories evoked a sense
of a creature more a rabbit’s size
than of such diminutive length!
And now the mole has shocked again
with new biographical information,
it turns out to have a super power –
it’s a complete digging sensation!
A full twenty metres each day
they tunnel with tiny searching claws,
just imagine how far you’d get
as a human, if their talent was yours!
Strange to think of them under us,
practically whizzing around,
subterranean superheroes
hiding obscurely underground.

25 July – Wind coaster

I watch a kestrel plummet
from soaring high to valley’s depth
– a staggering daredevil drop –
and I wonder, is it all about the hunting?
Or do they also feel the whoosh and thrill
of flipping stomach when they fall?
Like the rush of roller coaster dips
that leave you hungry for the next ride.

24 July – Moving house

When setting off across the path
to make her home on better turf,
I don’t imagine this tiny snail
thought she’d be leaving earth.
To keep her safe from tramping feet,
we momentarily lifted her high,
what a change from what she’d planned –
temporary housing in the sky!
We landed her back on her previous course,
grounded and safe on pastures new,
they say moving house is stressful,
I hope it wasn’t traumatic too!

24 July - Moving house

23 July – Meadow walk

The fields are dressed
for a summer fete,
everyday green transformed
by July best bonnets bright
into rainbow-rich delight.
And among all the bobbing,
chattering heads,
the Meadowsweet grows tall –
offering its candy floss
to the flowers, and to all.

22 July – Cyanotype fern

I follow the footsteps
of botanical explorers
and press my fresh picked fern
into deep Prussian blue.
I trust the sun,
the waiting,
the water…
and marvel how,
with photography at my fingertips,
this rediscovered technique
of picture painting play
can bring me utter joy.
It grows now forever,
an immortalised white fern
on a cyan fabric square.
But also yields its life,
green to gradual curling,
gingering, gently -furling –
a perfect specimen captured
in a small glass bottle.
What was it like
when this was newly all there was –
great brave science recording
with accuracy for perpetuity
brand new exotic species
from far flung lands?
It must have seemed,
as it half does now,
something faintly fantastical,
beauty, form, life –
arrested on a page
by powerful noon-day light.

22 July - Cyanotype fern

21 July – Lone Ranger

Far from the colony,
away from warren bustle,
the woodland buck goes hunting
all by himself, alone.
He only knows
what he forages for here,
whether choice fallen fruits
or simply peace not found at home.
We see him often now
exploring dappled dank forest floor,
at ease with us watching him
despite his introverted ways.

20 July – Sunset bow

The light has dipped,
the sun is low,
invisible to us now.
But somehow,
in a rain free sky,
a full and faultless cloudbow
arcs high and muted bright
above the gloaming light.
In all my years
of sunsets and rainbows,
this is something I’ve never seen,
and I linger in the garden
to gaze at it longer,
unsure if I’ll ever catch
anything like it again.
You never reach the end
of creation’s wonders
however long you live,
no matter how far you explore;
endless possibilities open,
limitless beauties surprise and stagger
as you walk your way over
our broad green-brown-grey earth,
and live out your days under
its shifting grey-blue-pink skies.

20 June - Sunset bow

19 July – Oriental aroma

Suddenly the potting shed
transforms to Asian arbour
as myriad jasmine stars
begin to come to flower.
I make a daily pilgrimage
to breathe in their scent,
green tea and sticky rice
playing happily in my head.
Upstairs in the bathroom draw,
a Yardley soap with this essence
is waiting to echo jasmine’s joy
when summer’s no longer present.

19 July - Oriental aroma

18 July – Red sky at night

Red sky at night,
everyone’s delight.
No matter what it foretells
of promised sunnier spells,
the magic’s in the moment
where fuchsia and magenta
brush and streak the setting gold.
Never mind your landscape,
your native fauna and flora,
all of us share sunset gifts
with their wide, bold wonder.
I like that sense of unity –
wherever your patch of sky,
you’ll receive precious evenings
draped in this vibrant high.

17 July – July duet

Today was a duet of sunshine and showers,
alternating soakings over several hours.
First one, then the other, now both in time together,
a swirling, whirling dance of light counterpointing weather.
Black cloud backdrops make for brighter spotlights on the hills,
damp drizzle downpours all the more serving to fulfill
the sweet feel of warmth as the choreography begins
directing sunlight surges to drift and filter in.
Down by the river is like a hothouse at Kew,
close and heady with heavy mid afternoon dew.
I choose to play along and get thoroughly drenched,
then sit writing in dazzle on the swing bridge bench.

16 July – Little red bead II

Not once, but twice this week now,
I’ve spotted a spotted red bead
against all conceivable odds
among the long meadow grass.
This second cousin of the first
displayed pure acrobatics,
ascending and descending
green sheer vertical poles.
The grass was dancing wildly
as trees in gale force wind
and it made me marvel still more
at this ladybird circus act.
When you appreciate the scale,
this is extreme dare-devil sport –
talent and technique shining hidden
among the long meadow grass.

16 July - Little red bead II

15 July – Kestrel magic

Today I saw a kestrel seeming floating on the breeze,
looking, for all the world, totally at ease.
But this sight transpired to be optical illusion,
for the bird was not still but in constant motion.
When they suspend they are really flying swiftly,
matching speed to opposing currents completely.
How do they judge an equation so precise –
let alone while looking so far below for mice?
Science and sorcery meet among the thermal winds,
while we drive past and on towards town and prosaic things.

14 July – Queue jumper

It was my turn in the bathroom
but when I arrived
a tiny creeping creature
was already inside.
I tried to reason with him
saying, “Mr Woodlouse,
if you want to take a shower,
obey the rules of this house.
You’ll need to wait in line,
and when your time comes,
you can’t share with a woman,
that simply is not done.”
Of course he ignored me,
but he did go on his way,
so my ablutions were kept private,
hip, hip, hip hooray!

13 July – Little red bead

Like a needle in a haystack,
the chance of seeing her there,
one tiny red bead
in the long meadow grass.
But I spotted her spots
and was instantly a child,
compelled to feel her crawl
through the blades of my fingers.
Ladybird, ladybird,
what a treat to find you,
a tiny little gem
on a weekday morning.
You took some convincing
to go back to your true stems,
was it fun to meet a lady-human
in the long meadow grass?

13 July - Little red bead

12 July – Redheads unite

It’s funny who you meet
on a Sunday morning amble,
neighbours, tourists, friends,
and then close by the brambles,
a tiny trotting stoat
with little white throat
and vivid titian coat
struts out into the road.
It doesn’t stop to chat,
it’s gone without a greeting,
but it lights up my day,
a brief but brilliant ginger meeting.

10 July – Wet walk wonder

The path was as wet as the river
when we still set out to walk,
intent on blowing out cobwebs
and starting weekend talk.
All was streaky watercolour green,
everything leaking, seeping its seams,
smudging and fast becoming
indiscriminate haze.
When suddenly,
all in a rush,
a tiny cobalt dart
swiftly brushed the water
to make a work of art.
Its dazzling brilliance shone
then, as quick, was gone.
And we stood in the rain,
unaware of its soaking,
lost in kingfisher awe –
a turquoise gift-wrapped moment.

9 July – Foxglove forests

Peppered round the dale,
gardens, verges,
moor, woods, river
are little purple forests
growing tall and fine.
Miniature Scots pines
swaying in the breeze,
bending all their strength
to ring their merry berry bells.
Splashes of bright colour
that always bring delight,
whether weed or wild
they’re welcome with me.

But who was the thinker
and what was the thought
that decided foxes’ fingers
would fit in tiny petal sleeves?
Foxgloves seem more suited
to forming party hats for stoats
but I’m not sure such renaming
will catch on with many folks…
So I’ll just allow my sketch
to celebrate their beauty,
and leave the etymology
to heritage and dictionary!

8 July – Creeping beauty

Deep in the woods,
among the dank of the dale,
grow some curious fungi
who have learnt how to scale
the heights of ash and beech
to spread their creeping reach
into little elven shelving,
and mushroom moths unfurling,
all green streaked white and beige
against brown, forest green and sage.
Some even splay like goblin palms
as if stretching out with no qualms
about touching passing strangers
to dissemble and disarm.
I expect my fairy toadstools
to dance in circles on the ground,
but I’m quietly being enchanted
by the bracket fungus I have found.

8 July - Creeping beauty

7 July – Little gutter acrobat

When I want a drink,
I just turn on the tap.
But nothing so pedestrian
awaits this sparrow acrobat.
Up on the conservatory roof,
legs spread wide as a giraffe,
he tilts and turns full upside down
to take a simple draught –
squeezing head through tiny gap,
a limbo dancing ninja,
goodness me, what circus act
will he conjure during dinner?!

6 July – Sweet pea serenade

Is there anything more perfect
than the moment I see
the first sweet peas of summer
winking back at me?
This year they’re by the wayside,
growing wild and free,
a cacophony of colour
tumbling over hedge and tree.
They feel like garden runaways
scaling fence, breaking boundary,
I wonder where they’ll steal to next
to share their cheer and glee.

6 July - Sweat pea serenade

5 July – Heaven-sent

Heaven sent moist bracken scent
to stir my sense of wild.
Childhood southern seaside chines
in adult northern moorland wide
chime, converge, collide.
This is how adventure smells,
the quest – descent or climb,
England a borderless glasshouse,
an exotic landscape to find.

4 July – Sugar sprinkles

Well intentioned phrases say,
“look up”, “lift your head”,
but sometimes there is beauty
in looking down instead.
Saturday’s walk was wet,
my eyes were on the ground,
I couldn’t see the stunning view
but there was still treasure to be found.
Strewn across the track,
mixed with downtrodden grass,
a thousand sugar sprinkles,
discarded petal stars.
Sweet fragrance in the air
tells tales of their descent –
It’s elderflower umbels
for which they were meant.
But tumbled here beneath me,
each individual flower shines
with a new and broken beauty
those on the tree cannot find.
And it makes me remember
the brave wonder of this world,
where the shattered and battered
often transform into pure gold.
So perhaps don’t be frightened
to turn your gaze right down,
there among the debris
is something fresh and profound.

3 July – Heron walking

Yesterday was drenching
but it still felt strange
to see a heron walking
like a person, up the lane.
Far away from river,
still not that close to beck,
impossible to fathom
what was going through its head.
It was too far in front
to photograph the stroll,
which was disappointing
as it looked rather droll.
Best of all was the point
it stopped to pause and wait,
craning neck just high enough
to snoop over Peter’s front gate!

2 July – Windswept kite

The wind is rough,
the thermals unsure,
and stretched upon the wing,
close to the house
Red Kite rises and turns,
is tossed, thrown and spun.
A bird so often high and mighty
is like its paper alias today,
as if at mercy of current and string,
as likely under as over – all spin.
Less flying than surfing,
more suspended than soaring,
a wild adventure ride,
Creature in its element,
or element in its element?
I’m left asking as both disappear.

30 June – Goodnight gloaming

Goodnight gorgeous gloaming,
you perfect evening lantern show.
Thanks for flooding my bedroom
with your magic golden glow.
My west window’s a portal
to time between times’ shine,
to somewhere more than sunset
I ache to capture, keep as mine.
It feels wrong to close my curtains
in the presence of such light
but despite summer’s solstice,
I need it to be night.
So goodnight gorgeous gloaming
with your halcyon hints of glory,
return soon so I can climb the stairs
and retrace my steps into story.

29 June – Cordial rose

There is a fragrant type of rose
I don’t often see,
it grows in Irene’s garden,
its name’s not known to me.
But two years now in June
when she’s come round for tea,
she’s brought us its flowers
in a little gift posy.
This year when she left,
I remembered its story,
how all that beauty and perfume
found a second round of glory.
And though I knew from last time
the recipe would come through,
it still felt girlish make-believe
to mix a petal strewn pink stew!
But when sugared water plays with rose,
perfect scent transcends its sense,
and magic liquid Turkish delight
pours out delicious decadence.

28 June – Crossing paths

A rustle in the leaves
nestled near the track
then suddenly we see him,
almost lost in brown on brown.
A mini mountain climber
hauling up his hill,
crawling rhythmic, almost vertical
till suddenly he’s still.
Pace and progress all forgotten
when he senses us loom large,
he freezes, hoping hard
to merge with deep rich soil.
We recommence our walk
so he can reach his peak
but remember him all day,
the woodland toad we chanced to meet.

27 June – Hidden valley

High up in my valley
lies a secret second dale,
its river is a beck,
its hills mere bank sides steep.
Gladed and shaded
and overrun with moss,
every inch of it fairied green
as if time itself got lost.
This is where I climb
to walk my thoughts all out.
I leave them in the rock pools
that break the water as it falls.

26 June – Little orange helicopter

My warren watching
on a field side track
is rudely interrupted
by the sudden blur and buzz
of a little orange helicopter
darting through the tree canopy,
like a tiny drunken pilot
is testing out his moves.
Unexpected colour,
iridescent in the sun,
demands my attention rises
above hillside hopping fun.
Spot it if you can,
before it speeds away,
the first dragonfly of summer
dived across my path today.

25 June – Spot the difference

This is how you know a fern is not bracken,
its leaves flow from the ground in an emerald fountain.
Everything unfurling from each single one
was squeezed into its frond before the stretching was begun.
I too will seek to trust this inside out becoming,
leave behind sideways growth, sprawling wide and running.

24 June – Metamorphosis

What miracle magic is this
to take a black spiked bug
and transform crawling ignominy
into something like fairy dust?
The jewel patterned Peacock takes wing,
fluttering with finesse and spin.
Does its memory, however faint,
remember the days before paint
transformed jet black to vibrant hue
and lifted it bodily to bird’s eye view?

24 June - Metamorphosis

23 June – Honeysuckle high

Strung across the sycamore stump
and among holly and hawthorn hedge,
are bunches of pale fairy lights bobbing
and twinkling between the green.
Almost always just out of my reach,
but determined to follow its climb,
I stand on tiptoe beneath,
a seeker of perfect highs.
Gently bending a string towards me,
sweet intoxication is mine,
all at once, delicately hushed, in the garden,
posh hand creams and candles fill my mind.
I wonder if I’ll ever find myself
rewilded quite nearly enough
for nature’s purest pleasures
to stop reminding me of man-made stuff.
It’s a beautiful, layered sensation,
all that luxury echoing round,
but it leaves me quietly curious
can true honeysuckle highs still be found?

23 June - Honeysuckle high

22 June – This grass heart

This grass heart
of unmown lawn left to meadow
is a little love song calling
to every bumbling bee.
Linger among my wildflower petals,
feast on their pollen sweet,
hover and buzz all around me,
you’re welcome to gather and greet.

22 June - This grass heart

21 June – Tree toes

The river path by us
winds narrow and gnarly,
so watch your step
as well as the wild –
especially where,
among silt and stone,
tree toes cross the path
like splayed little crow claws,
moving at wood stretching slow
towards – not beside – the water.
For I can’t help but think,
even mighty oaks wince
when careless booted walkers
tread and trample on their feet!

20 June – Elderflower breeze

Headed towards the river path
through a field of unremarkable grass,
I am on my way to somewhere
when here transcends just route to pass.
One step I’m not paying any attention,
the next stops me as if at destination,
compelled to pause,
to better drink the scent
of summer cordial
fizzing in the air.
Moving forward it fades,
as quickly as it arrested,
just like the sudden felt enchantment
of beautiful new ideas,
fragrances whispering “write me”,
lost to the wind if not caught.

19 June – Vole island

If strength is in numbers,
today I learned
Britain doesn’t belong to us,
but to the tiny field voles
who live beneath the grass.
Many millions of mini mammals,
an army of blackberry hunters,
mining underground networks,
predating kings and conquerors.
I wonder what they make of us
giant ground shakers above?
I wonder if Victorious Voletannia
is our island’s true nation state?

18 June – Summer storm symphony

The performance starts
two days late,
but oh, when it comes,
it astounds.
Tumultuous timpani rolls open,
then the plucking of rain begins;
each staccato strike bouncing high
from every newly made instrument
with echoing, ringing springs.
Now the wind roars in,
the gutters squeak,
and hail smacks the windows hard.
And here inside,
we listen in awe
to virtuoso weather
as constant crescendo
serenades the valley
and drowns out all domesticity.

17 June – Petal heart

A serendipitous moment,
when something in nature
mirrors another, familiar shape
and all at once
takes on all its meaning and metaphors.
This time it’s a forgotten fragment,
just a piece of discarded rose,
easy to miss in bank-side bramble,
but plucked out in triumph by you.
“It’s a perfect heart!” you say,
and I think to myself as you hold it –
this is like my heart, petal,
cup it gently, but safely secure
for it’s a fleeting, fragile-edged thing,
more flower than flame after all.
Cherish its lingering fragrance,
keep company with its translucent beauty,
I trust you with it completely
for as long as its bloom remains.

17 June - Petal heart

16 June – Barn owl addict

The first time I saw one for real,
it perched on my shoulder.
I was transfixed.
So proud.
The photo still projects
that inner moment out
and makes me smile
a mirror image back
to my smaller self
some three decades on.
It felt so wild,
I remember the thrill,
even though now
I know the same engineered touch as tame.
But all the more special,
my history here,
when I come less close,
but seem more close,
in those wondrous moments
of chance encounter.
A penetrating stare,
a back garden pass,
a maybe glimpse in the field.
Low flight in moor’s dusk light
as I drive by in twilight,
soft landing on ruined tree.
I’ll never see them enough
to get over their singular rush
every time they grace my world.

Artwork by Barbarah Macnish

15 June – Swallow lake

The scene is set,
the light is dipped,
this evening’s show
is eagerly sought.
I take to my bench,
it’s about to commence,
the stage is wide with
white crested blue…

Flick, flick, dive,
flick, flip, glide,
leap, turn and dare-devil drop.
Flick, flick, dart,
flick, flip, pass,
loop, stretch and somersault rise.

Who choreographs
this wild wind dance
to secret, silent score?
Their seemingly effortless dramatics
in synchronised floating acrobatics
deserve a standing ovation.
The near misses,
the close crosses,
the warp, the weft, the scatter.
The duets,
the trios,
the whole troupe in full flow,
the joy, the high jinx, the wonder.
From premiere in May
to September’s curtain call day,
you’ll find me here, sat in awe.
Lingering to watch,
night after night,
this dazzling aerial ballet.

14 June – Gooseberry gift

It’s the zing of childhood glee
in pure nostalgic taste.
Last year’s shared crop
was eaten like candy
and candied to jams
of deep purple red
and frog spawn green.
But this year,
this year the gift has grown.
It’s smaller for now
but rooted and rising…
a tantalising taste
of what’s to come –
an old fashioned sweet shop
on my own back lawn!
Already now, a leafy hand opens,
offering me its enticing treat,
the first, fine, plump little gooseberry,
a glorious, gorgeous gobstopper fruit.

14 June - Gooseberry gift

13 June – Breakfast on the move

I think I’d get indigestion
if I ate my muesli while swinging
and fro.
But the bird on my neighbours’ feeder
is an extreme sport kind of eater.
He munches unperturbed,
seemingly undisturbed,
as if it causes him no commotion
to be flung in ocean like motion.
But I suppose if you’re already good
at drilling your head into wood,
your view of a breakfast swing
is a much more causal thing.
So rock on woody, rock on,
enjoy your fly-through brunch,
I’ll see you again for peekaboo
round the silver birch over lunch.

12 June – Lupin lazuli

Newly planted,
there’s no hint yet
of tall tiered colour
and carousels of bright, bold bonnets.
But long before ruby-red carmine,
nestled among the still-green,
a perfectly centred aqua jewel
– sun-polished to reflect sky’s blue –
turns a humble multi-pointed leaf-star
to a fleeting new shape of flower power
before silently, secretly, stealing full away.

11 June – Moss on my window

You’re right I should be protected,
it’s overdue time for some serious alarm,
but let me remind you I’m more easily adapted,
than fatally, finally harmed.
I’ll still find my ways of growing,
despite your UPVC,
I’ll break through your concrete with petals,
you’ll struggle to ever tame me.
You’ll find me when least expected,
asserting myself in new ways,
remember I was here before you,
I’ve weathered countless days.
I’m not suggesting complacent inaction,
but I am reminding you to hope,
my true present and potential future
are way beyond your scope!

10 June – Interfulgent walk

Dappled light plays on the path,
casting spots, shining shifting beams.
First a robin glows in the limelight,
now holly leaves gleam newly mossy-bright.
December reflections are conjured in June
with subtle tricks of light,
the now merging with yesterdays
and tomorrows as yet unknown.
The path’s such a threadbare metaphor,
light breaking through such a tired idea,
yet they’re inescapably, effervescently embodied
on a day, on a walk, like today’s.
I am moving through sunlight in shadow,
following hope as illumined green.
I am breathing the sweet scents of journey,
I am here and not where I have been.

9 June – Rescue mission

Double, double toil and trouble,
notice stagnant drain bubble.
Amphibious limbs stirring the stew
can’t leap out or break through
plastic pipe to find relief
from impending, final sleep,
suddenly lowered in kindly stoop
a ladle comes, full size of the soup.
Deus ex machina! Not a moment to soon,
frog soars to safety on flying spoon.

8 June – Otter remembered

Seven seconds of moment if that
at eight fifty five one Wednesday evening.
Right time, right place, thank the neighbours,
he’s suddenly there, tucked right in close to the bank.
Twitching nose up, on high alert to whole river,
then gone in ripple of wiggle and shimmer.

6 June – Cloud parade

Striding over hills,
gliding over trees,
the carnival arrives
as we drink our morning tea.
Dragons in our vista,
giants tumbling by,
a magic, mystery pageant
in an English country sky.
Early morning adventures
while breakfasting in bed,
enacting wisest nonsense,
six impossibilities already in my head.

5 June – Dunnock dance

She wiggles her wings
like fluttering eyelashes,
all at once playing coy and coquette.
He lindy-hops round
in eager reply,
to the rhythm of silent sound.
Choreography rehearsed again
the very next day
as if this were the right-on hip spot.
Dunnocks dance! Come on down!
Dazzle us dizzy with your lively jive!
Who says you’re just dull, drear brown?

4 June – Space invader

There’s no appointment in the diary.
But here he is on a Thursday morning,
marching across the top of my screen
demanding top spot on my task list.
I squint to better assess his identity,
but he comes from some tiny, alien outside world
and I have never seen his orange hue
or diminutive shape before.
He is clearly here on long distance reconnaissance,
a miniature discoverer bent on conquering Inside.
Nose close, I see him lift his tiny front legs to his face,
washing, or feeding, perhaps even waving,
who’s to say?
When I next look up from my words
he’s gone,
presumably finished with living room circumnavigation,
maybe he’s now bravely claiming the hall.

3 June – Rainy day

It’s back again,
pressing pause on life al fresco,
putting a dampener on
day three of thirty appointed wild.

Cats and dogs,
drizzle and mizzle –
we need the whole soggy symphony of words
to shower down
when we’re so often left bemoaning it
in fifty flinty tones of exasperated grey!

Drat that smudger of pictures,
the infamous drowner of parties.
Blast that endless wet-wiper-outer of best laid plans!

But today, instead, I grant it absolution;
re-name it simply, relief,
and secretly, gleefully cheer it on:
“rain, rain don’t go away
don’t wait until another day”

Go on, join the song…

Clap as it waters the garden!
Welcome the softening of hard, hard ground!
Enjoy it diluting mercury risen and remaining…
day after day,
in a most un-English way!

Cherish shutting the doors
and love living your inside life,
set free from the burning compulsion
to bask in every moment
of rare British sun.
Admit you share our natural, national condition –
you were actually also quite missing the rain!

3 July - Rainy day

2 June – Strawberry surprise

All is spring and going, growing gradual fruit…
till stop!
A sudden surprise shouts bright.
What’s this traffic light change among the leaves?
Two plump pioneers of summer gleam among the green,
scarlet beacons of a nearly season nigh.
And quickly June tastes like July;
zesty, sweet and juicy red ripe.
With one sight,
and just one irresistible,
little bite,
here comes all that flavour zinging and singing –
exploding the promise of picnics,
parties, schools-out and pimms,
of bunting and beaches,
and long-lingering evenings,
of lanterns, longing and lazy bliss.
Here it is all at once now,
all together in a rush now –
a choice premonition of holiday
boldly trespassing my everyday,
like the scent of next door’s barbecue
or a curlew’s call to the wild.

2 June - Strawberry surprise

1 June – Hello buttercup

Hello buttercup,
you deserve a closer look.
More than cheeky lawn invader
or nostalgic chin shine player,
you shimmer your own sheen’s song
in miniature canary splendour.
Now I really see you, little sun,
I notice your distinction
among your companions
as you scatter gladly among the grass
in an earthbound constellation.
Standing tall, petals splayed
fiercely wide and free,
you are a five limbed leaper
held still in perfect, extended lines.
Your head thrown back,
abandoned to the sky,
as if you had forgotten
you were meant to be
any sort of cup at all –
while each of your neighbours
huddles and cuddles her petals close,
holding back her own perhaps-dance
in reticent, secret possibility.