Evening, hush

Evening, hush

Flower meadow lies quiet
beneath waves of fescue,
feather-bannered stalks, rippling light,
in a south wind blowing,

and through the ceaseless
green-gold movement of growing,
I see white daisy, pink orchid faces
peering back from beneath the waves,
green-gold and rippling,

of the ocean meadow,
the bee-humming sea,
ceaselessly rolling
from hedge to sunset.


Making wild plans

She imagined the meadows set forever in pink and yellow and white, like cloisonné enamel work, with flocks of goldfinches and high-stepping deer, hares hiding low and foxes making tracks in the dark. They would not mow at high summer, leave the wild things alone. They could let saplings grow here and there and become trees, let the woodland spead and step prettily among the flowers. Some said without a cut, bramble would smother everything, an unholy mess. Others said it wouldn’t. Sometimes, she decided, the only thing to do is follow the dream and see what happens.

Hedge ghosts

This week has been National Hedgerow Week in the UK. The photos are of the bank and ditch along our lane that this year have been left alone by the municipal hedge trimmer. The hedge is the western boundary of our bit of land.

Hedge ghosts

Hedgerows, no longer rows,
soft angles joining field edges,
lane-lining, wind-breaking,

a world of nest-building, burrowing, lying low,
festooned with rose and bramble,
plum blossom, the scent of honey,

gone when tractors ploughed
that extra furrow, stole autonomy
from parcelled patchworks,

leaving bones, haggard, stripped bare,
fluttering in the wind from the east,
that blows winter all the round year.


Across the Garonne from home, in the river plain, an abandoned poplar plantation. Silent, eerie and crossed by watercourses emptying into the canal.

We walked along a bit more of our section of the Canal du Midi, first setting off from the lock, until an un-forecast thundery hail shower sent us back to the car.

We stopped a few minutes later when the sun had come out again and walked along another bit of the way, on the wild side. The cycle track is on the other side of the canal.

Storm canal-walking

We can walk the canal forever, a road
deep and green as oceans,
still as lakes,
enigmatic water.

Deep and green as oceans,
is this storm-light.
We cower,

still as lakes,
our breath

enigmatic water

A walk in March woods

In the woods along the stream, following the trails left by boar and deer, dogs listen to the smells in the wind, sniff the sounds. Dogs of the bare Spanish hills, where they could see for horizons, watch the encroaching trees warily, the green-furred trunks, listen to the damp crackle of dead wood, fallen leaves.

The stream is low in its bed, steep-sided, deep, where trees throw their branches in chaotic dance, water running, light-voiced, leaping obstacles not carrying all in its path.

This green light calls from a misty time mossy and ancient. Dogs hear but the voice is foreign. Their heads turn to the wood’s edge and the meadow pitted with badger holes, deer scrapes and the tender pressed grass of hare forms.

They turn, look down at that dark edge overhung with bramble and hedged with butcher’s broom and a forest of oak saplings. The woods stare back. Darkly.


A place, dim-green, moss-damp,
perspectives shift where trunks march,
and the bird calls echo
high in black branch-tangle.

Those who walked here are hid now,
the earth dug for worms and mice,
here a scattering of black feathers,
leaving us with the silence.


I watched the leaves on the dark green water
drifting canal-slow and wondered did they mind
their funeral voyage was so uneventful,
did they not regret the wild tumult of the river-ride?

Old boats, leaf-drifted and rusted,
still tied to the unchanging bank,
unchanging, barely moving water.
Only the leaves drift then blow away.

Plane trees bend in ogives,
enclosing the green autumnal light.
Silent water gathers a quilt of cast-offs
in this unholy stillness.

Autumn comes

Yesterday was hot. The yellow was golden, we kept in the shade and strolled home listening to the crackle of dried leaves.
The sunflower field looks desolate now, and the trees in front of the house along the stream look pale and thin.

The corn is in too, but the boar still come out to rummage.

Then today, the clouds came, the light was dull, and the yellow seemed more pronounced and drab. Like the box elder

the parched meadows

and the ‘garden’ reduced to yellow dust. The plants have died back or withered, the vine is wilted, the leaves curled and brown, and all we see on the roses are thorns.

At the end of this afternoon it rained. The start of the equinoctial change. High winds, unseasonably cool temperatures and rain are on the menu for the next fortnight. The mellow fruitfulness isn’t going to happen this year, I fear.