Morning after

Morning after

I remember a night storm,
wind pushing wide the shutters,
sky full of light and the rolling of drums.

Now morning sun slants
deceptively soft across the field,
and no shred of cloud, no dripping stalks,

no pools, no rain-drunk birds stir
in this aftermath of struggle
between wind and cloud.

Damp morning growing hot

Damp morning growing hot

What can I say about the morning,
the light that grows between the streaks of rain,
the bare earth showing dark between dry stalks,
the bleached brown hue that hangs in cloud
and bathes the fields,
the dusty, tired feel despite the cool?

There is no time to soak dry eyes on this soft scene,
because the sun will soon be back,
the chiff-chaffs say,
(song speeding as the blue appears),
because the damp will dry,
and we will walk on toast crumbs.

Only the feral cats on silent feet
will stalk the naked meadow,
among sprung grasshoppers
and quick, shadowy voles—
needs must.

We sink back into torpor,
prepare to close the shutters tight.


Early morning,
before the tractors are awake,
listen to the gentle words
of the warbler in the willows,

the oriole playing flute notes
that never quite make a song,
the brush of leaves, summer-dry,
when someone passes, furtive and sleek.

Listen before you scroll
through the litany of lies,
and perhaps bird-words will linger
and some of the truth will stick.

Gogyohka sequence for morning songs

looking south and west

on the telephone wire

the kestrel’s perch

a blackbird sings

suspended above hedge and nest

oblivious to property rights


morning music swells

the oriole section in the poplars

thrush and blackbird centre oaks

and on the right

woodpigeon percussion


waking to sunlight

pale as moonlight

silver in the grass where gold waits

strung with jewelled drops

of birdsong

What if


What if this morning were to be the last,

sheathed in rain,

unsheathed steel gleaming in the sky?

Would I take more joy in the head-high fescue

that overarches buttercup suns

and the blue skies of flax?


(A deer gallops into the meadow; russet force treading the misty white and yellow, hidden from sight where the willows and dogwoods grow rooted in frog water. Another minute, head turned in distraction, and I would never have known. These presences occupiers of this space where we walk, grim-footed with our measures and fence posts, quiver between the seen and unseen of this interlude).


And if the dark gripped tighter

and dragged us deeper away from the light,

would I still feel the touch of your hand,

soft and thorny as the dog rose flowers,

winding through the hibiscus?

This web of gathered morning

A morning poem inspired by Mick Talbot’s Epanalepsis poetry.


Morning creeps across a field of creeping sunlight,

Filling spider webs with crystal-spangled webbing,

Gathering night, shadows beneath the hedges gathered,

Singing low the songs of blackbirds where the cattle low.

I wake and wade the low sunlight, this web of gathered morning.