When the stalk is cut the head falls

seed spills sun bakes

no rain falls—the sky


the sky throbs brazen bare

bird-hush settles

on the mown scars


and yet and yet


it creeps back life

in green and yellow pink and blue

and white


white sea froth

butterfly-dancing beneath

the throbbing brazen sky


and we do creep back

rise up with heads thrown back

make another fine show


beneath the indifferent sky

bobbing on the great dry

white-frothed sea.

meadow froth



I love this place with its layers of song

and the traces of criss-crossing hoof and paw

bird voices calling taking it in turns

to send echoes racing.


I love it as I love Redon colours

the tragic beauty of a Marc

intangible elusive

brushed with fingertips never seized

always the onlooker.


We think we own because we have measured

signed papers handed over cash.


Wind blows.


Sunlight stretches leaves unfurl

blossom scatters in the wind.

A shower patters, ringing wild garlic bells.

The blackbird looks at me with bright eye,

tugs at a worm.


I watch the world whisk by

in the flash of a white scut.

Gogyohka for light rain


wind in the poplars

hisses sea-whispers

and booms over the hills

with the bellowing notes

of the organ of the deeps


rain on the meadow

falls a flurry of steely grey

tossed by the wind

moving on

leaves crystal drops on window panes


moon tossed

from cloud to herringbone cloud

the ocean sky swims

with shoals of light

halos of rain-promise





once a sea of green and dappled shade,

specked with flowers colours of the sky,

that waved beneath butterfly-flutter, grasses

hung with finches chirruping in falcon-shadow,

is rolled, pressed tight and still as stone.

On bristled stalk,

bales stand baking in the sun,

or bathed in moonlight,

monuments to a vanished spring.

When they roll away, sweet-smelling summer,

green will flow to wash away the scars,

life thrust again, the eternal tide,

patient as the stars.

En promenade with Trixie

Trixie is not the kind of cat that shows much interest in people. She is very vocal, but that’s telling people what she wants, not an attempt at meaningful conversation. The only time she was known to allow anyone to pick her up and not protest was when she was an abandoned kitten and was looking for a home daft enough to take her in. Her behaviour has changed quite a lot since we’ve been here. Not that she purrs or sits on your lap or anything demeaning like that, but she has developed a taste for going walkies. Every afternoon she comes with me, or me and Finbar on a stroll around the property. It’s two hectares so it makes a reasonable stroll for a cat.

I set off down towards the stream, and Trixie follows.

Trixie begins

She knows the path

She knows the routine

We meet one of the noisy critters that chuckles all night. It thinks we can’t see it, but the water in this bit of the ditch is only about half an inch deep.


Come on Trixie

We inspect the deer damage. This is supposed to be what happens when they rub their horns against trees, but since they do it systematically to the young saplings, I wonder if it’s not that they are eating the bark.

Deer damage

Trixie takes the lead along the hedge. She inspects the animal runs while I take pics of the orchids.

Trixie ahead

There are only a few serapias in our meadow, but the one at the other side of the hedge has masses of them. This one appears to have a bee stuck in it.

Sarapia orchid

There are hundreds of bee orchids

Bee orchids

and a big clump of these that look like birds’ nest orchids, but since they are rare and grow mainly in pine woods, I wouldn’t swear to it.

Birds' nest orchids

Looking across to the house. The pink flower is a pyramid orchid of which there are hundreds. We’ve noticed that the people round here leave these orchids standing when they mow their lawns. I wonder if there isn’t some local legend about them.

Meadow high

A very old blackthorn with sloe berries forming

very old blackthorn

Fig and walnut trees in the patch that was the old kitchen garden

Fig and walnut

A bit of the massive vine that we are liberating from the brambles


The next section is where the grass snake lives and I don’t like to hang about. It is very large and it hisses. Then there are the oak tree where squirrels live and both Trixie and Finbar are very keen to get at, so I carry Trixie, protesting vociferously until we get to the poplars and the black locust tree.

Home again

Home again.

Crickets ticking

It’s haibun Monday at dverse poets’ pub. The theme this week is summer.

Photo©Hans-Jörg Hellwig


Summer, longed for all through the cold months of winter, looked for when the first shoots of spring green appear, bursts upon us, armoured in fire and cruel as searchlights. We have watched for the sun, measured the shadows on the grass, counted the days to that glorious bid for freedom—the holiday. But while we have the car checked over, buy new clothes, find someone to feed the cat, the earth is turning. Geese have flown neatly north, the cranes in their disorderly packs, kites begun their scavenging flights, the swallows swept up the first mosquitos. Flowers bloom and die, seed pods burst in the growing heat. The earth dries. Earth turns. Sun rises higher in its fiery arc to reach an apogee of flame, and before we know it, the flame is dying, the fierce heat fighting a losing battle against the night shadows.

Summer, that elusive dream, as soon touched it begins to fade. The earth turns. Summer love grows restless as the nights cool and thoughts turn to the city swarms of light and night light and a brilliance generated by pleasure bought and sold to warm the winter winds. In the reeds, bathed by river ripples and the breeze from the sea, I watch the fledglings grow and the fruits of autumn bud berry bright. Summer moults and changes. But all is good; all has its place. The earth turns.


In the grass, a jay,

meadow cricket gathering,

eats what the sun brings.