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.

From now on

The days will be different from now on,
as if the wind has changed,
the light mellowed into a distant film
of swirling golds and fading green.

From now on,
there will be gaps in the day,
a different routine,
gaps where aches get in.

The days will be different,
the sounds fewer,
the breathing of breaths,
the footsteps following.

From now on,
I have only one shadow,