May journal 25

I had been going to rant about the massacre of nineteen small children in Texas, but what’s the point? It happens regularly and nothing ever changes, no massive organised protests, strikes, blockades. They’ll get in their convoys to protest about having to wear a paper face mask but not to save children from having their bodies ripped to pieces. It’s a society that places the right of moral cretins to pose with big guns above the right of children to live. Twisted, inhuman.

Wind swirls east then west
sun flickers and goes out
but the blackbirds sing regardless.

So quiet here without the girls, gone home, back to the city, and husband away for the day. Only Trixie sits in front of the computer, playing with the mouse. I hope it will live. Dogs snooze, contented to have full bellies and a bit of fussing. I wonder about the fate of the killer whale in difficulty in the Seine, how you live with the pieces of a child, where human selfishness will lead.

There is a hole somewhere
a sheer cliff
a well with no bottom
a mouth full of teeth.
We will all meet there someday.

May journal 24

Our visitors left today and the world slowly settled back into its usual quiet, a little dusty, a little faded, but peaceful.
We’re working on freeing up another section of vines, white grapes this time, from the hedge of bramble, dogwood, blackthorn and plum that has swallowed them up.

Sky would be bright
but muddled with undecided clouds
the wind troubles the sunlight.

The light is pure and pale silver-green, the golden heat in abeyance for a few days. Raindrops fall in scatters, not showers, not even cloudbursts, moistening the earth, and every stalk, leaf, budding berry fruit bears a crystal drop.

May journal 23

How can I wander lonely,
not see what lies beneath the stalk tangle,
not hear the piping in the trees,
when I have companions
who understand it all?

We walked through meadows criss-crossed with animal trails, burrows and scrapes, where the orchids are drying, browning after the last days’ heat, and in the fields at either hand of the track, wheat, flax-coloured, not quite gold was ruffled, like watered silk, by the wind bringing the change.
The storm passed us by in the night, its progress along the river threshing our trees with its rags. We listen and wait for rain, still hoping.

In the wind,
the house whistles, groans,
and doors rattle,
the restless air turns about itself
like an uneasy dog
nosing a strangeness.

We wait for more visitors to arrive, peaceful and settled in the shelter of four walls that have become familiar to us all. More children to fill the spare room for a night and share a few meals, walks, and all the news.

pied and red-capped
squeaks without pause in the lime tree
ordering the beetles to arise.

May journal 22

The air was heavy with storm, dense with water. Hot and windy, but the washing took all day to dry. Walked (trotted) the dogs around the land, feeling like Ben Hur with his chariot horses, starting pheasants in the hedge, sending the marsh beaver family flopping into the stream, then galloping on the trail of the boar that had been by in the night, digging their great holes everywhere.

A family outing
of diggers and delvers
of wallowers in the mud
enjoyed the moonlight
while we slept.

A dead crayfish, unearthed by a pig from the mud in the ditch made Bix leap in terror. Redmond flinches in doorways. So many things to learn in this world shaped for humans.

Wind flailing the poplars
whipping leaves to a cream
of sea spray
the storm reaches red
over the western horizon
wailing its fierce songs
like the ancient sea wolves.

May journal 21

A beautiful day with our favourite grandchild come to meet her new friends. It was a whirlwind of movement, hard to keep up, and even Trixie, after being chased enjoyed licking out a pot of cream while the two in the dog house watched.

The Oracle gave me a sort of cadralor with some of the day’s events in there. She is always watching.

A day in the country

Sun bakes the meadow,
shrinks the pink of orchid flowers,
cool shadow beneath the trees
out of reach,
we stick to the track,

She is growing, gabbling,
unsteady on her feet,
so she dances sitting down,
plays dog-catch and pine cone games,
sticky as honey,
a flower grass-petaled.

The garden is a ship,
an ark, sweating gently in the heat,
brim-full of rescued things,
fauna and flora
and we gardeners,
cooks and carers.

Play for some,
a mad race for another,
no blood, but a fright,
and the game stops in harsh words,
hung canine heads
and a cat in a tree.

No tears, no sadness,
but a day of laughter,
panting like puppies,
rolling in green,
smelling the wind for new things,
on the brink of new lives.

May journal 20

Today began before dawn when the door at the bottom of the attic stairs ground open. The bolt hadn’t been shot home and a visitor had pushed it open. A minute later Bix started barking.

stilly silver
gives pale shadows to mysteries
so slight they slip into the wild lands
in the tail of the eye.

When things had simmered down, we listened to the birds. First was the nightingale, loud and persistent, taking up his song after a brief rest. Then a host of blackbirds filling the hedge, then the golden orioles from the poplars along the stream. Chiff-chaffs, robins, redstarts and warblers filled in the small gaps in the sound, and the wood pigeons in the trees in front of the house set the beat.

There is noise
and there is music
and choruses so sweet
as to chase sleep.

There were more delights in store, the discovery of more places that need to be protected from dog pee, like bookcases and desk drawers. In the grey light, we cleaned up and rebuilt some of the confidence gained the evening before and eroded by night fears and fears of punishment. Two steps forward and one back still means a step in the right direction.

Hands offering a caress
hands that have never slapped
never beaten
look as hard as any others
to the beaten.

May journal 18 & 19

A 48 hour day, began in brilliant sunshine fierce heat, my head pounding to the rhythm of sun-stirred crickets, observing cohabitation, new dogs and old cats, in particular one new dog and one old cat. The hierarchy is becoming established, with as is natural, Trixie at the top. Bix still has a lot to learn.

The two brothers have their own dynamic. Redmond is timid, like a deer, always poised to run away, except in the morning when he is as keen as his brother to be made a fuss of. He defers to Bix, follows him around and lets him steal his food and the best places to sleep.

Bix, with his battle scars, has been the defender, curious about everything, standing on his hind legs to stare at his reflection in the computer, nose into everything. At night they curl up in the same basket.

Storm, but everyone slept. Except whoever it is lives in the attic. The rain was welcome and although the morning that followed has been overcast, the birds are rejoicing at the cool and the wet.

Cool is like deep sea treasure
dark green with pearl light
glinting on ancient silver.

Sand thick and deep

and meadow grass wakens
beneath its load of raindrops
to the songs of a thousand birds.

We are finding our marks. Two humans, two dogs and one queen cat in the main room. No restraint needed to protect the cats, words being learned, limits set. Lots of sleep. And food. The world is simple really.


It’s been a long day. We thought they’d like to curl up together in the same bed as they’re quite a bit smaller than Finbar, and everything is so different to what they’ve been used to. But Bix has other ideas. Redmond has the spare bed until he plucks up the courage to test an armchair. Or we get another dog basket.

New arrivals

This time in two weeks, we’ll have two new members of the family. It’s almost six months since Finbar died, and we have never got used to his absence. We thought we would adopt another ‘dog’, then decided what we really wanted was not another ‘dog’ but another Galgo. And we wanted a happy Galgo, so that meant at least two. They’re sociable animals, pack animals, and in the countryside, the occasions for socialising are limited. In any case, they prefer their own kind.

These two are probably brothers. They’ve been together all their lives and were dumped together at the refuge because they weren’t any good as hunting dogs. They have been waiting a long time to be adopted. It was time to give them a home before they lost hope.

The photo was taken the day they arrived at the refuge.

Since when

Since when

Since when, no records tell
the age of these stones,
the paths trod by those long dead,

forgotten the hands that dug
and planted, herded
and filled the winter barns.

No comfort lingers in these stones,
the floors of terracotta
colour of autumn leaves,
only the chill of damp earth
and a wealth of love and heartache.

Silent as stones,
house sits,
a sentinel on the hillside,
rootless but unyielding,
remembering what has gone,

nodding in the winter sun
at the rainbow path
and those who have taken it,
their padding steps still echoing.