Friday, 31 May 2013

31. From Whence She Came

From Whence She Came

To look back, behind the curtain
Before your heart beat a certain
Proof of 'when' you are,
Is the former marrow memories of
The forebears.

To feel the soft stab truth
In generational proof
Of 'who' you really are
Issues forth lush visitations
Of mind attic.

I dream of, and know my forebears
And find them within the borders
Of the places where they lived.
The Fowlers and the Wraggs
Ghosting memories flag
In seeing what was home.

Today, Spring Cottage, Winson
Where my father's heart beat crimson
Courting village scene with my mother.
I could almost hear my
grandfather's clock still
Ticking there.

(Dad, the swifts nest still in roof tiles.
At gardens end the spring still greets the Coln,
Runs its sedentary dappled path
Of ache swallow dipping lushness,
As of yesteryear).

And on, to Lower Slaughter
A  house that held three daughters
Ronald Fowler ensnared there.
He chose gentle Florence
Over bolder, older Ada.
The same clock chimed years
Near that stream.

(And Ada, Flo!  Children still dip toes
And paddle in the water, merriment of laughing
Faces as ducks sentinel like stalkers
And the mill wheel turns 
At Slaughter, as it ever did).

And home still knows my bones when shown
Knows where home has been, though unknown
Years past before me here.
In my marrow, soul seeding DNA
I was there.

Today's image is of Spring Cottage, Winson, painted by AWM (Wes Martin) for his Daily Painting project. Spring Cottage is in the heart of the Cotswolds and the village remains unspoilt.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

30. Running out for Milk

Running out for Milk

The chestnuts have their candles on
And the Willow Warbler warms the hedge 
As I drive past.
Stopped to snap the sunset
God fire fingers light tails cast
From rain cloud.
The the hare again
Chose to lollipop the lane
In his time, to the gate.
Never so green
As this time of May late.
The Jay never quite so vivid
Or more parrot flare wild
In the woods. Coming home,
He had freedom and relief
Enough to dance in front of the car
Showing off his blue bars, moustache and
Intense eye fly flare.
"Ohh Babe!" my surprised mouth formed
And the rainbow too - I jest not -
Touched the streamed field where horses adjourned.
One of those evenings,
When running out of milk
Is the best accident you could have.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

29. Stressed


Step away from that word
And what does it mean?
Rendered obscene
And useless by over application;
Infiltration of corporate speech,
Medicalised brain leeches,
Lexicalised, brain bleached
And a fashionable label on a jammed jar.

Tonight the sea saw balance
Between resources and demands
Lays heavily spent on the right side,
As it has these past few weeks,
With a gradual quickening
Of foetal force that leads to
Remorseless thinking of the grand
To Do List, growing in laborious pain.
My phone a modern thumb screw of
Texting back the tennis ball
Over the net of petty requests and
Haranguing demands I cannot satisfy.
I will let someone down,
As inevitably as my over-concern lets
My own self down.

All nine of Yeats’ bean rows
Taunt as idealistic impossibility
And the hived honey bees
Would have me bat the air
And run for sting shade.

Somewhere in this, I lost my heart.
Or it got trampled by ignorant feet,
That needed ground too much to look down.
I know better than rest,
Is wholeheartedness.
I know I left it here
In a velvet box,
Tied with hopeful spider silk.
But I am too tired yet
To take the needed breath
Stop looking, and so to find it.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

28. The Bar Bullfighter

The Bar Bull Fighter

In the pub, at the bar
Men gather to share strut stories,
Playing with pocketed loose change
Or leaning with elbow assertion
In front of the pumps.

Each waits for The Pause,
Rehearsing the tale to top
The last, only half hearing
The current yarn
In the jostling queue.

We sit and eat our meal.
Chewing hides
Delightful pleasure
In dropping my eaves,
Attending the task
Of my salad leaves.

“And like, we didn’ know the towne
But he like, went ‘This Way! That Way!’
An’ we ended up in the roughest part there.
In some crazy wild Irish Pub!”

A gauntlet thrown in the swig of beer,
That ends the story. No-one responds to content,
But the older man, without reassurance of forearms
On the bar begins:

“Have you ever kissed the Blarney Stone?”
Direct question demands muttered response.
Gratified to be alone in his boast, he elaborates:
“Well, you gotta let this chap hold on to yer ankles.
Massive drop. Upside down, you kiss the stone!
I got a certificate to prove it!”

And another reward follows the fable:
The booted woman proves attention,
Despite herself, interest asking:
“What’s it like?”
Now he has credit for the dramatic pause
And the delaying sup of pint:
“Ha! I nearly shat meeself!”

Even the men bow to the bullfighter
And they all laugh in chorus.
I chew my food quietly
In the table behind
And my wilting dressed salad
Smiles along with me.

Monday, 27 May 2013

27. Pigeon Parliament

Pigeon Parliament 

After a year of talking, it emerged that if I wanted
To know how I was coping, I needed to look at my lawn.
The first year of living alone, my garden was a defiant
Point of pride and produce, growing too much, planting
Just for colour.

Second year, I put my fingers in the pulsating mower, 
Grew afraid and desolate in horticultural proof of independence.
Perfect patch and border edges could not hide agitative stretches
Of tired time in too much land.

Last year washed out. Nestling potatoes died in sod, 
Strawberries licked no cream. No time, or perhaps I gave up 
Pretending I could do things on my own, or that I wanted to. 
Wilderness stepped in.

Today my mower started. A lawn fit for strimming, yet
No whip lash plant slasher operational, nor will to wield it.
A rose arch down and the second  a wrecking ship above a
Wild sea border.

Last year, in therapy this would have spelt doom:
My overgrowth symbol of relational failure,
The start shy mower a penance as
'Woman fights nature weedily alone'.

Tonight in mowing grass, a windfall  perception harvest: 
Strangely proud of disarray, defiant even. What matters
If every school parent collecting looks over hedge
And nose as wilderness judge?

To project their censure or pity is to fail.

I can reveal to the village that the Fat Pigeon Parliament
Meets every morning above decaying roses. They rail, they moan,
They get little done. They nest in my burgeoning hedges and the 
Entrepreneur blackbird

Chuckles out worm purchases and sewing machine needles
My lawn dandelion jungle. Rather than pity, they can envy the 
Halcyon truth of a Hannah who has got these things right:

I have been taking moon baths, 
Singing in ecstasy to lapwings, 
Eye meeting hare and deer, 
Watching sky cathedrals
And adventuring with my girl
On school nights down our river.

(Parliament meeting house below.)

And the general display of a life being lived and a garden being neglected: 

Sunday, 26 May 2013

26. Perspectives


"I'll write in an hour"
I tell myself,
Self-sorry and unwilling
To commit words to page -
To share perspectives
Of inflection, risk censure,
Or rejection - or to ostracise
Myself and prove further
Eccentric who I am.

Blessed. I see this in
My mother's eyes
As she said goodbye.
Their love of me
A constancy, from which
I know my bravery flows.

But alone, again this night
Putting her to bed
And in not having one
In this room to share
Random thought bustles
The day has made.

At times, I let the cow low
Lower in my stomach
And the fence gate barb
Hide the field and hill
From my view.
I see only that the shopping
And bounty of Mother Hubbard
Is cupboarded by my efforts

Washing up waits for no
Washer but me.
We do something wonderful
And I ache for want of witness,
Or that goodnight kiss
Or tea made for me in turn.

This is but one truth only.
Hannah, this is the log
To trip you on repeat,
And lend perspective
Of deceit to your view.

Not ALL the truth, 
Nor all history to be,
Or past. 
And my mother's eyes
Have twinkled her love 
With enough brightness
To confirm: I have assured
Residency in that home.
In that is more blessing
Than all the blooming
Blossom on the entire hill.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

25. Night Gig

Night Gig

The darkness here is different
From others I have known.
Not like city night spells
Sodium bathed, orange shadowed -
And not like home
Where any black is filled with
Motorway, distant car races
Human machine chases,
Magnified by sky.

No. Here the Herefordshire sheep
Are singing to the hedgerows
And the loud cow bay boom
Makes its deft way
Through inky blue and
Down on my waiting ears.

Yes. That is it:
Sound falls DOWN.
Spinning round the gentle hills
Like coins in charity collections.
And the tree-paused waiting
Slows the dog bark and the
Tawny hooting to something
Magnified and soothing I don't find

This is why I am here tonight, 
After they are all in bed:
For the sumptuousness 
Of being the last one up
And possibly the only audience
To this Empire Gig.
Only the night and this
 Isolated countryside 
Has the improvisational skills
To perform soporific magic
That soothes even the pips
Of my apple'd core.