Friday, 27 September 2013


The time of parting.

Now is the time to leave the hills
and the summer shades of woodland
where we have lived by shadows,
searching for rare gods
on paths of our own making.
We are no longer bound there
to the earth that holds our dead.
Now is the time of parting
from that half-imagined land
where the very act of speaking
places us apart –
we, the outsiders,
looking in upon a world
where we do not belong

Returning to the garden,
a place of our creation,
we join with Nature
in a solemn contract,
feeling, perhaps,
that for a moment only,
she will accede to our control.
Here there is ground to dig –
sweet soil to feel
that’s fresh and full of life,
whose pure and rich potential
we crumble in our hands.
See! Here there will be beans,
here lettuces and chard,
here garlic,
pungent and lavish-tasting
to mix with fragrant herbs.
In a garden Nature’s vastness is condensed:
feckless roses climb,
but grasped by honeysuckle’s pointing fingers,
and only with our blessing will the foxgloves
exceed their given space.
In this domain the wind is gentler
than when it shakes the beeches
or blows the sea to waves,
and bees and birds and dragonflies
find pleasure in the calm. 

But we make a garden only where we dwell
and, in dwelling, must relinquish
the very freedom that we crave.
Still we hear the echo of the forest,
bringing memories of stranger things
that live in other worlds,
and though the garden’s sanctuary
is made for blessed rest,
still we long for woodlands and for hills.



Tuesday, 24 September 2013


Finally, after working on a long walking/writing project all summer (watch this space), here's a new poem for the blog. The river here is, in fact, not one river, but four - where the Derwent and the Ouse combine with the Trent and become the Humber. This area has recently become known as The Humberhead Levels and has attracted a big lottery grant for its conservation. It has an atmosphere that is totally unique.

The River

Full moon;
no clouds or wind.
Odours from the river;
sea-mingled smells
carried on the tide,
thirty miles inland from the coast.
Seaweed, the smell,
and river weed,
between the beds of reed;
banks of mud,
submerged when the tide is high,
where sea and river weed
are left when tides recede. 

Now in the moonlight,
(the fullness of the moon),
the surface of the water shines,
still as ice
until a heron stirs.
While, thirty miles downstream,
the beaches are washed clean
and curious stones are rounded
with every salty surge
and gentle lapping;
slow, insistent slapping,
persistent motion
reducing stones to sand
with which
the sea renews the land.