Creation called me to worship this fine April morning with the clouds scudding And the sky patched and sun-spotted. This valley still surprises me and lifts my soul; For the blackthorn is white with fine blossom And the black-legged, black-eared ewes, long suffering and nervous, As my two mutts mooch then tug on their leads. Nettles and hogweed, dock leaves and fireweed Prepare to impede the path. This valley, with its river and mill rushes, Man-made lakes and commuter highway, Is bursting with life. (April run, Wellingborough to Earls Barton, along the Nene Way. 2015)
an alphabet in the Nene Valley
Buzzards soar, cuckoos call Egret, geese and goslings. Herons stand, kites search Swifts, swans and signets While over all the skylarks sing.
Bridges span, canoes drift, Cycles, ramblers and dogs. Gravel taken, lakes filled Locks, mill race and weirs While through it all the river meanders.
Badby rises, Barnwell mill Cogenhoe, Everdon and Flore. Islip's spire, Oundle's school Woodford, Weedon and Yarwell While in each place, a church proclaims.
Beneath the soles of trainers and boots, Under the rubber tyres and padded paws, The sand and gravel, stone and dust Is pressed and beaten, levelled flat. A walker's highway, a circuit for runners Where the beeps of fitbits join the mix Of blue tits and warblers and LBJs, And a returning cuckoo announces Spring.
Beneath the path, lie coal dust and cinder, Long rusted nails and chunks of wood, Where the iron rails lay and engines steamed East to West on the valley floor. The rhythm of the wheels over the track Approaching, deafening then receding from sight Combine with skylarks, thrushes and rooks, And a cuckoo returns to announce Spring.
Beneath the tracks, lie lost and forgotten, Signs of invaders become home makers, The Normans, Danes, Romans and Brits. Broken pots, coins and fragments of bone Litter the valley with its gentle slopes While standing tall as sentinels on watch Ancient monuments to the eternal Divine, And in the heavens a skylark sings
Under the pots and fragments of bone Lie the valley's wealth, its rich bedrock of sand, gravel, ironstone and lime Jurassic in time, sedimentary in nature, Layer upon layer Bivalves and tusks, Ditritus and "toe nails" Sank and Settled Under the melt water Before the first Spring.
I remember, I remember The garden at my grandma's house, Where honesty and nettles grew With ferns, rhubarb and the odd mouse!
I remember, I remember Goldenrod and Solomon seal; The nettles where my brother fell Then smeared with calamine, to heal.
My mum remembers the garden As a pleasant place to play Fish, newts and frogs swam in the pond, Her dad's shed as a hideaway.
She remembers, she remembers Rabbits and chickens roaming free, 'Til the potatoes were lifted Then skinned and eaten for tea!
She remembers, I remember London Pride, and a rambling rose; Marguerites with large white petals But no place set aside to doze.
I remember, I remember Kinloch's bakery was next door. The tall trees and meadow remain, But the shop and house are no more.
I took some plants, dug up some fern When the house granddad built was sold. They took root and each Spring emerge With treasured memories, like gold.
A Pantoun is a type of poem where the 2nd and 4th lines are echoed in the 1st and 3rd lines of the following stanza.
Hopes were dashed when He died, Betrayed mocked and crucified. Together, they stayed locked in Grieving, with nerves wearing thin.
Crucified, betrayed and mocked They waited for the soldier's knock. In lock down, the future dim, The way uncertain, without Him.
The soldier's knock never came. He arose, peace to proclaim And with Him the way was sure. God with us for evermore.
Proclaiming peace, allaying fear Is the message for all to hear. God is with us, see the sign Where selfless care and love combine.
Hopes were dashed when He died They stayed locked in, petrified; Til opening their minds, they let Him in So joy, peace and new life could begin.
Welcome, my darling Georgia Mae McCabe To a world in lock down and national crisis. You are precious and loved. Don’t be afraid. You have Isla, as a best friend and big Sis. Your lovely little face with peach soft skin, Button round nose and eyes dark blue; I wonder if you’ll have the Hacksley chin And your hair be auburn, as mine was, too. While grief and doubt and fear were felt Your Mummy protected you in her womb. You were born, kicking, and made our hearts melt Dispelling this world’s perpetual gloom. See, Springtime flowers in the March sunshine, And new life brings hope and all will be fine. VA 26/3/20
I’m laying still with my jaw clenched tight, Fear gripping my legs so I cannot move, While through the curtains the sun shines bright.
This nightmare will end and I'll be alright But a viral thought worms its way through, So I lay still with my jaw clenched tight.
Fear gnawing reason...I've passed the blight Til no one is left to grieve or blame And through the curtains the sun shines bright.
A diary that's full, now appears trite. The day ahead lies blank and unformed So still I lay with my jaw clenched tight.
Fear forces my mind to The Infinite Revolving thoughts stop and limbs relax Because the sun through the curtains, shines bright.
The Earth eases and nature sighs, Apple trees bud and birds own the skies. I'm laying still and my jaw's not tight For beyond the curtains, the sun shines bright. 22/3/20
Blue and green should never be seen, together
In the bruised face, punched-swollen,
In the crusty scab and oozing puss from a night-time brawl,
In the purple lips and sticky phlegm of death.
But Nature's palette seen, together
In the flash of the kingfisher skimming the river bank,
In the darting mayfly and green hair-streak,
In the meadow grass and everchanging sky,
In the merging hues of the rainbow's arc,
She was the honourable Margaret to the right,
But to the left, as Margaret Thatcher
Vilified and infamously renowned for
Being the primary school milk snatcher.
A humble grocer's daughter from Grantham
A tory in thought, words and deeds.
Rising through the ranks to become
Prime Minister with a strict capitalist creed.
For eleven years, this Iron Lady
Gagged the unions and trampled the poor,
Sold off the utilities, making shareholders rich,
Announcing "Society is no more."
The lady would not turn, so a bloody coup
Turfed her out and now thirty years on
Her legacy is still felt by the homeless needy
Cos the council houses were sold and the profits gone.
Society will exist as long as someone cares
About justice and peace, parity for all.
She may be sainted by those on the right,
But socialists cheer her downfall.
If you think you're too small to make a difference
You haven't spent the night with a mosquito;
Not the mossies that irritate and bite
Leaving swollen red spots in unlikely places
But their tropical blood sucking cousins
That arise from swamp and stagnant pools.
Not the mossies famed in the Scottish Isles
Arising in clouds and hovering above heads
But their nasty relatives arrive at night
To wheedle their way in carrying a gift.
Our soft pampered skins touched by a mossy
May itch and swell for a day.
But a nip in the tropics can signal death
To the child asleep and uncovered.