In the Wild Wood

In the wild wood, dry from days of
cold hard sunshine, water trickles
wearily over granite gravel beds
Grey wagtails still dance the Spring
worrying after insects wavering over
white garlic flowers,
embedded in rock faults
tucked hard into the crease where felled beech meets
compacted clay, rustling
down cracking mud banks
breathing alliums
as you walk,a faint undernote of dusty laurel spikes,
cherry petals
whip around in the wind, skittling along
dusty old paths,
cow parsley froths upwards and bluebells
peek through low branches and hang
sweetly over ivy and under new leaves.

Steph and her collies, Jane and her terriers,
me and the poodles, we march around
the top field, pursued by the mowing man
on his big machine
(the dandelions duck under his blades – they
have been doing so for years)

Shall we go round again?
Talking of dentists and compulsory DNR
for the over seventies – or so someone
read in the paper – and who is getting a
new puppy and about we go and down
again along the Trym, the crows calling and glaring
waiting for Frank and his bag of bread.

Sometimes the light shafts the trees
just so, and I could swear there are angels there.

(another of the dogwalk poems, I know I am repetitive)

Upside Down Dog

Layered over the swish
of traffic snortling past
the song thrush
managed two repeats
some rusty tweets
a trill, a fanfare, a warm-up blast

there was heat
creeping up calves and curling
between layers of silk and feather

Upside down dog,
not yoga the real thing
through my legs calling him
waiting hopefully for one last mudstick
chuck across gluey rugby pitch
saw the trees that stand in triangles
along Ladies Mile, grey and feathered

If you are bored with the view
try it
Put your head down – look out and through
and round and between
upside down for a heart beat.
Sunset is good, moonrise will work too
Both will shrink to small again
outlined in the
A- frame of baggy trousers

must be the time of year for poetising while walking the dog….

Dusk Poem no. 2

As the heat of the sun
curls away into softness, the bat unfolds
her wings and, hearing the whine of the midges
dives from her trapeeze
and flings herself into the blackbird’s overture for night
Next door the Sicilian’s grandson
and his new girlfriend are arguing about the ornamental pond

The dog races to the back gate, howling at some fox scent
drifting through the mock orange: an unseen voice
woowoos in sympathy behind a shadowy fence

I sense a red glow away in the dark,
sitting with eyes unfocussed, and watching my thoughts come
and go. Some reflection off something somewhere still courting
a vermillion sunset but when the words return
I recognise
a sunhearted crimson poppy
singing in the night

Five Minutes

prunus serrula
The in breath and the out
So it begins
the sitting, the lowered gaze
Pile the cushions
one on top of the other
and lower my sore bones
in front of the garden Buddha
and the bronze tree
Sunlight dapples patterns over patterns
a white bottomed bee threads its flight
in an S-bend on the horizontal
right side to Jack Frost, flowers gone but leaves still
bright and crisp, left side to the Buddha’s right cheek
vanishes past peony leaves down the garden
Stare at a spot on a granite set, whiter than the rest
a shoot of grass, a daisy, an ant, suspect the same ant,
tracking over and over across the green.
In another garden space a sneeze, a clatter of metal somewhere,
crow calls, blackbird chucks and goldfinch trills
Find the inbreath again and the outbreath
feel bones creak and belly tighten
Hear the sun go in and out, feel the breeze move
dust around my shoulders
A housefly lands on the Buddha’s head
he continues to smile, eyes cast down, mouth corners
in smile of repose. The fly sits quietly and waits.
In the spaces under my lashes, out of the corners of my eyes
 the dogs are sleeping
the whole world for a moment settles
in the space between the in breath and the out

Jitterbug Night

The moon not quite full but oh so very bright !
a small bat danced the jitterbug over the lawn
snails rollered purposefully over the paving
tiny slivers of black slugs assaulted tender buds

A moment passed and another –  the bat swooping
up and down on an aerial roller coaster
damp grass underfoot
I stood still – hints of jasmine and peony lingering
from the long warm afternoon
listening to the breath of the night






More beautiful for having been broken

repaired with gold or silver lacquer

the mind at the heart of things

forging shining runs of connections

in the depths of troubled thoughts


the bowl holds water once more

stays in the dance of being

delays the return to dust for a time

light dances softly and joyfully

across the surface of the world




Image and definition from Twitter….

Proper Leaves

First true leaf of artichoke

“proper leaves”


artichoke leaf teeth
ratchets for catching
blackest aphids

none of these yet
safe on the windowsill
surveying the plot

wondering where
they will end up
don’t we all?


Michael asked for more of the artichokes so here is the next installment