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A Few of My Poems

In 2021, fortunate to be awarded the Arts Council DYCP for developing the practice of writing eco-poetry I felt privileged to have the acclaimed poet Susan Richardson as my mentor. Her book Words the Turtle Taught Me is my favourite book of poetry.

Here are three of the poems written.

 

Owl Allure

 

dusk falls   i watch you quarter the field   wings spread wide                          

you glide soundless   pale cloud sweeping low   to and fro

 

flying solo   in the hush   your focus   the pursuit of prey  

hunter versus the hunted   feather shadowing fur  

 

ready to swoop with a flourish   quick kill the prize  

but not in that field   not on that quiet twilit night

 

you turn   i stand spellbound   silent   stare

hardly draw breath   as you pass   so close  

 

i feel a frisson   sense i could reach out  

my fingertips            touch your wingtips

 

 

Counting Sheep

 

I have never flown to New York on a shopping trip,

to procure the latest Mulberry bag, my fingers

clutching deluxe leather, as I inhale its scent.

 

I have rummaged through charity shops rails,

relished the purchase of what has become

my favourite summer skirt, three gathered tiers

of pastel cotton, which softly swirl as I twirl.

 

I have never cruised on a luxury liner, dressed up

every night for dinner with strangers, orchestra

playing, overload of onboard entertainment.

 

I have been on narrow boat holidays with friends,

ended up in the canal with the dog and laughed.

Woken by swans tapping the hull with their beaks,

hopeful of the humans supplying breakfast.

 

I have never been on a wildlife safari in Africa,

felt burning heat on my neck as I watched giraffes

through binoculars, from the back of a Range Rover.

 

I have been a volunteer shepherdess on a local

nature reserve, fingers numb with cold, counting sheep -

all present and well - exhilarated by the loudening whoosh

of wingbeats, as hundreds of Brent geese - our winter

migrants - fly overhead, and settle on the creek below,

the burble of their babble bubbling through the chill air.

 

 

Soul Music

Hope is the thing with feathers / That perches in the soul,

And sings the tune without the words / And never stops at all

                                                         Emily Dickinson

 

That first time I heard you, your melodies sashayed through my soul,

melted a part of me that had frozen. But you were bashful, stayed out of sight. 

Notes brushed my ears, recurring phrases, so pure, you sang them three times.

I gasped when I saw you the next day, freckled breast catching the sunlight. 

Perched high on a branch, your music drifted through the air. 

Songs without words, for what good would words do. A neighbour’s silver birch your stage, me the sole audience, solitary figure in my secluded garden. Three more days you came, your solo song my summer solace after months of sadness.

 

                                      Sylvan theatre              

                                      Throstle sonata

                                      Sound threads

                                      Therapy salve

                                      Soulful themes

 

 

And a poem in memory of the lovely Lola:

It wasn’t all about the food …

 

But when I slice an apple it seems wrong that you aren’t soon beside me

having stirred from your slumber. Was it the scent or the sound?

 

The same with raw carrots and red cabbage, making you a gourmand

amongst dogs according to one friend with sound judgement.

 

And you favoured the crunchy central stalk of iceberg lettuce, leaving

the leaves for me. As for cucumber, which became your bedtime treat

 

it will take me too long to eat a whole one. How long can it linger in the fridge

reminding me of you? And what about those small packets of mini cheddars?

 

An occasional evening treat, meant for sharing, me sitting on the sofa

You standing in front of me, patient, knowing I’d hold out a tiny piece

 

of each one, which you’d gently take from my fingers and quickly crunch.

I’ve just finished the last pack, they tasted dry. I won’t buy any more.

 

I’ll still buy cartons of low-fat Greek yogurt and hummus, but will miss

you licking the pot, long tongue searching, tail wagging with pleasure.

 

Out walking you’d speed ahead to satisfy your penchant for fresh rabbit

droppings, or to what I now call Lola’s gate, at the field where the longhorn

 

cattle had been, leaving behind their dried cow pats for your delectation.

You’d cleanse your palate with a grassy snack on the way back home.

 

Loveable reliable labradoodle. It wasn’t all about the food. Big brown eyes,

big feet, soft curly coat, no trouble, well not much trouble, undemanding,

 

gentle. Did I mention reliable? You trusted me and I trusted you. You never

let me down and I hope I never let you down. You became my shadow

 

at home the last few weeks, often came to my bedside in the middle of the night

silent, but I’d sense your presence, and I’d reach out my arm, stroke your chin,

 

and you’d lie down on the rug in my bedroom, comforted, rather than go

to your bed. The rug which now lies barren. And there’s a big empty space

 

on the kitchen floor where your bed was. But the essence of you lingers.

Your spirit and your fluff. When I sweep or vac the floor there are soft clusters

 

of grey-black hair lurking in corners, replacing those I cleared away days before.

It wasn’t all about the food. You were the finest most faithful companion

and I miss you.

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