Re-wilding the mundane day 6

A toad poem for Paul Brookes’ December challenge.

Tactical retreat

Rain and flood tides
fill the river plain,
willows wade in water,
paddle their roots
in overflowing ditches,
the stream’s a torrent,
and in the cowshed,
a toad swims slowly,
stoically along the drain
and under the door.
We watch her rhythmic
breast stroke, pulling
against the flow,
temporary evacuation,
a lesson in coping.


Green tales and changing skies

The form Paul Brookes chose last week was the curtal sonnet, devised by Gerard Manley Hopkins. This is my attempt at the form.

Green tales and changing skies

These changing skies above, we walk the trees
And tread the path of fallen poplar leaves,
Brown-turning as the gold of summer fails.
As slow as heron-flight, the bright time flees
With gentle grace, so nothing truly grieves,
Though cold is rising in dusk’s misty veils.

There is green still, just look. Beneath the growing grey,
Green grows, rosette-creep, root-tangle that weaves
Carpet-patterns, dabbed with sun, and exhales
Such light, whispering, as night slips into day,
Earth tales.

Re-mundaning the wild day 3

For Paul Brookes’ challenge, a trio of badger’s hexastiches.

Essential badger

head gardener,
snuffles through dead leaf drifts,
culling slugs and snails, turns
soft earth, digs drains,

And when
autumn rain floods
the high fields, and run-off
seeps and rises beneath
the floors, we call

You need
drains, they told us,
a competent digger
engineer of earth-works
who better than

Re-wild the mundane day 2

In answer to Paul Brookes’ hedgehog and tea towel questions which you can see here (WP can feck off with it’s stupid questions).

Once were tea towels

smart-checked and striped,
holes now united by threadbare,
unravelled warp and weft,
linted and loose-threaded,
shoe-cleaners, floor-wipers,
the unnameable rags
that line forgotten places.

~Not all forgotten, not by all~

a hedgehog home, deep in the pile
of cracked roof tiles and bricks,
beam splinters ancient plaster,
is lined with linen, embroidered with oak leaves,
spiked and span, gathered by prickles,
wind holes filled with moss,
a winter sleep away from spring.

Night warden

A poem for Paul Brookes’ challenge to re-wild the mundane and/or re-mundane the wild. Today we’re dealing with foxes (or toasters). If you’d like the join in, the details are here.
I’d like to add that most of the elements of this story are true.
Franz Marc provided the illustration.

Night warden

Where the kitchen stove glows
still warm, cats dream,
and mice dance with stray crumbs,
nudge loose-fitting lids,
chew holes in the mesh
of the food safe.

Padding soft, almost silent,
the fox in the attic descends
the cold stairs, grey-ghost,
in search of fat mice,

where cats stretch in sleep,
in the stove-glow,
their dreams full of tiny squeals.

Cloudshapes day 30

Final day of the clouds challenge. Thank you Paul Brookes, Gaynor Kane and Julian Day for your wonderfully inspiring photography. It has been a pleasure finding adequate words to accompany it. You can see the last set of photos here.

Worlds in the sky

All worlds are there, here,
just out of reach, above birds,
borne on their wings,

fashioned by snow and sand
from desert oceans, ice fields,
forests of cloud-trees, frost ferns.

Night and day are cradled there,
the stars, moonlight silver and sun-gold.

We reach up to mould malleable cloud
to our fancies, our fears,
never touching their self-creation.

Feet tethered by unseen currents
to clay and the rippling pelt of the earth,
we yearn for weightlessness,
to overcome the mockery of birds.

Perhaps we should learn to love
what we have, the green, the blue,
the flower-carpet, the columned cathedral-treed,
the river-running and ocean-lapping.

Before it is too late.

Cloudshapes day 29

Penultimate day of Paul Brookes’ challenge. You can see the cloud photographs that inspired this poem here.

Heavy sky

How can we bear to raise our eyes
to the oceans and icefields above our heads,
knowing the immensity of blue and white
worlds washing from horizon to horizon,
where winds blow with feathers in their wings?

Knowing, we watch instead the ground
and where we tread, fixed on self,
the sky too heavy, pregnant with import,
omens, reflected wisdoms to heed.

We tread on broken shells,
content in our bliss.

Cloudshapes day 27

A birthday, so all the clouds went into this poem. You can see them on Paul Brookes’ blog here.

Your day

It’s your day, so all this earth,
the places where I put my feet,
among new shoots pushing through old leaves,
paths, tracks and highways,
are yours,

the way trees loom through the mist,
the sweep of a jay’s flight,
red kite, wing-beating slow,
the glint of morning sun on the pond,

the way the dew silvers the meadow,
the shadows beneath the oaks,
the flocks of unknown birds
that hurry first north then south,
a cloud of indecision,

and the sky is yours with its cargo
of white ships, the wind in their sails,
on their way to Byzantium, Carthage
or Rome, or just home,
into the sweep of these arms.

Cloudshapes day 26

Very late with this one for Paul Brookes’ challenge. The inspiration is Gaynor Kane’s photo. You can see all the photos here.

Some things

There are words,
Firenze, Brunelleschi, Duomo,
Palazzo, Uffizi, Arno,
Medici, Buonarroti, azzurro,
like waves of the sea that lap
the edge of memory, ring bright
as bells and drift from then to now,
almost tangible, not lost,
but insubstantial as cloud wisps.

I wish, I dream, I will
go back one day,
just to hear the sounds,
smell the scents and feel
another sun upon my face.