The Dawn Quartet

I was wakened by the rain
heard through open windows
pat patter pat beating
like a small tight drum,
then beyond the cloud water’s music
the winged ones began
their chirruping songs
to scores they only know
once the pattered drumming
slowed and ceased.

Head resting on my pillow,
cats eager to see if at
o four hundred I was awake
enough to heed their
presence and desire
to break their nightlong fast,
I heard the morning’s
emerging avian songs,
voices added one on one
the vocal ensemble reached
but four this morn,
no dawn chorus then for me.

Still, I was blessed,
and with a grateful heart
listened to the sweet refrains
of the dawn quartet
to begin my day,
the damp air perfumed,
the ground wet and leaves
bedecked in glistening droplets
after several dry weeks
under a cloud shrouded
breeze bearing sky.

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Haiku on a Stormy Day

Unable to flee
Trees bend in thrashing storm wind
Roots reach deep hold firm.

Birds wheeling sideways
Wind rushed wings onward fly
Difficult to land.

Pollarded treescape
Land floats on hidden waters
Somerset Levels.

Catkins dance waving
Pollen spreading far and wide
New generations.

Sun peaking from clouds
Clouds pushed on wind swiftly
Calm soon returning.

Wind unrelenting
Atmospheric songs wail
Silence forgotten.

Howling wind keening
Mournful song marking the day
Waiting for relief.

Autumnal Equinox

I have been away from here most of the summer. I have been reorienting myself. I have been realigning my soul. I have been clearing the clutter of my mind.

Now, on the day of balance before the slow slide to Winter and its deep darkness, I feel more whole than I have for some time.

I set my alarm so I would be awake by 0630 and could watch the sun rise as I sat in bed. Quiet. Contemplating. Reflecting. I not only felt part of the sunrise as an observer, I was aware of participating in it at a profound level. I observed, but I was more than an observer.

At first the whole horizon was awash with soft light, diffuse, gentle. Slowly clouds came into view. Gray like smoke, wispy and fragile. The last light of the night braved the growing light. Refused to be extinguished. Resisted the light that would make it disappear for the length of the day.

The corvids flew from their roosts crawing and scrawking across the sky. A wood pigeon flew, rising and falling in flight like a winged tide moving closer to me. Another called in the distance.

With the clock ticked towards 0700, the traffic on the road below my window increased. The commute began. People in metal boxes with wheels hurled themselves east and west. They did not notice the sky or the growing light of the day’s sun’s return. Now the smokey clouds turned to fire as the angle of the light changed. More clouds in streaks gathered to witness the moment with me. Incrementally, the previously diffuse light on the horizon shrank.

The light consolidated. Brighter and brighter the place where the sun would appear revealed itself.

I sat transfixed before the open window. The cool morning air filled my lungs.

The last few moment seemed to drag out like hours. Then, then from behind an oak tree the great light blazed. A fixed point of intense energy compacted from where before there had been only energy so thinly drawn that it could not possibly have come from our nearest star. Gossamer light transformed to pure energy, fierce and no longer friendly. From light like that of a gentle shower to light like what comes from the mouth of a water canon. Light easy on the eye to that which blinds.

The field of Maize Maidens directly across the road did not dance for this sunrise. They stood still. Reverent in anticipation.

Going down to the kitchen to feed the cats I was treated to the second sunrise over the field. The light glancing off the tops of the Maidens’ headdresses. A different kind of light again. At a different angle energy scattered as it spread over the field.

During all this I kept pondering who was doing the moving, for the first time aware of the spinning of the earth in space. Aware that though I was sitting on my bed I was moving, whirling on this rocky world swathed in cloud and wrapped in oceans. It was a profoundly humbling moment. I sat there aware of everything around me. Aware of my smallness in the vastness, not only of space, but in relation to the earth as well. Infinitesimally small, but member of a species which in aggregate has caused so much damage to each other and the planet we call home.

Joy. Exhilaration. Grief. Gratitude. Regret. Anger. Wonder. Hope. Love.

Each emotion in turn as a thread and woven together in a Celtic knot of awareness in the centre of my being. Simultaneous. Discrete. At once, as one.

The day of balance has called me back to my truest self. To why I am here. To what I have to do. To my call and my purpose. No excuses. No equivocation. Only being and doing. Wholeness for me being oneness with creation. Insights. Words. Images. Not mine to hold. Mine to share. The spiral of time on which I ride through life has come back to this place again of decision and dedication. Being and becoming one now. Merged. Healed enough to begin. Again. For the first time.

The day of balance. Autumn. Harvest. Reaping. Ingathering. Tipping towards winter. The darkness without which there can be no creation, no birth.

May the blessings of the Equinox be yours this day.

Darkness in Falls Summer

When darkness falls in summer
it tumbles quickly
as the gloaming recedes,
fading into star sprinkled night
of a sudden between
one breath indrawn
and soon released.

The clouds glow
in a phosphorescent white,
too bright too pure,
clinging to the last shimmering
rays of sunlight as we move away
spinning silently and at speed
opposite the day.

When the sky is clear
the stars blink on,
a thousand million suns
ignited as disordered beacons,
insistent points of brightness
cutting through the black,
where once the illusioned blue sky
spanned wide beyond our reaching.

The night so short in some places
it is never truly dark,
and for several months
stars disappear from view,
the sun barely tickling the horizon
giving no respite from the light,
testing the ability of most to cope
longer than a brief few weeks,
for we are made for light and dark
for day and night
for one sun to shine then many.

The darkness falls quickly
at the height of summer
knowing by some unimaginable wisdom
it must be swift to beat the day
before the single light emerges
inexorably setting the east ablaze,
rousing us from sleep
stealing our dreaming time,
teasing us up to work and play and be
whilst giving in return
a shorter interval of rest less time
for secret assignations with the self.

It is no accident then

It is no accident then
I’m sett down here
rose and honeysuckle twined
about my door and to the west
rise a ridge of pine and beech,
an avenue split between the two,
and badgers make their
homes in the root held earth.

It is not accident then
I’m sett down here
where the apple grows
in regimented profusion
offering sweet scented blossom
for delight in spring
and ripe fruit for pressing into cider
come autumn and the harvest tide.

It is no accident then
I’m sett down here
facing the wide sky before me
where morning suns
and evening moons
ascend above the far horizon
for my delight when obscuring clouds
dance in another’s view.

It is no accident then
I’m sett down here
and bat returns as when I was a child,
and no longer chased by anxious parent
believing the dangers in misbegotten tales,
free now to reveal the way to deeper Truths
holding future’s mystery close to the heart
as a mother holds her cub,
a batling under wing to fly into the future.

It is no accident then
I’m sett down here
to move renewed into tomorrow
shaking the gritty gloom of yesterdays
from the shoes of my soul
and in today assume the mantle
of living being all becoming.

Winter Arrived

Rain falls.
Mist rises.
Clouds glower.
Sun hides.

Winter.

The outside world contracts.
The inside world expands.
Darkness overtakes daylight.
Morning shortens.
Evening disappears.

There is day.
There is night.
Dawn shrinks.
Dusk vanishes.

Only two times now:
shortened day,
lengthened night.

Winter arrived
damp and dank,
cloud shrouded,
sun starved.

When the golden warmth
appears
suddenly,
an unexpected afternoon
of sunshine
fleeting glorious heartening,
before clouds once more overtake,
dropping temperature,
stealing our illusioned sky
turning vibrant blue to dull gray,
a new pattern
autumn well and truly gone,
replaced subsumed forgotten.

Horizontal rain
wind borne
lashes whips rages
reality tipped sideways longwise
playing with our minds
toying with our souls
dampening our spirits . . .
unless until
acceptance.

Welcome the time of retreat
when dark and chill
replace light and warmth,
preparation for regeneration;
face discomfort
to shatter complacency,
accept lessons
in softer seasons ignored,
embrace the work of winter,
learn not to fear darkness
but to cherish light.

Winter the harsh season.
Winter the winnowing season.
Winter when then and yet
hide forcing the now
into shard-sharp relief
focusing what is most important
no frills no embellishment no decorations
can hide us from ourselves.

Allow the trees’ austere forms
to show what we avoid —
that we too stand naked
before the cold truths unavoidable
we are vulnerable
we are fragile
we are capable of hope.

Clouds & Fire, Shadow & Smoke

On walk a week or so ago I was observing and pondering different phenomena of the world around me, letting myself try and understand forms of being, entities of energy that are alien in their expression of existence, but in their own ways alive . . .

I followed the clouds
scudding across the summer blue sky
chased the shapeshifters unsurpassed
moving clumsily in comparison
unable to glide
from field to pathway
to landscapes shorn of grass
to the road
though fields studded
with black wrapped
silage bales waiting
immobile
the grasses and flowers
unable to sway or bend
in the breezes
unable any longer to breathe.

The clouds moved ambushing the sun
turning day to dusk
and magicking away shadows,
those deceivers of form
who lengthen and shorten
from hour to hour,
who blinked out
and as soon winked back
into sight once more.

Clouds and shadows
playing
each with the sun
using greys and white
light and darkness
as pawns in a game
seeking and hiding
teasing the spirits
tempting me to follow,
irresistible
in variants of grey,
so many and only one word
to span the space
between white and black
mixtures of both in degrees
of intensity and neither
at the same time.

All the while
so many words for beige:
ecru and sand,
oatmeal and stone,
tan and taupe,
but only a single word
for the shades and subtly
of tone and concentration
for all those colours
strung in space
where white and black
mingle but do not meet
cannot connect in
absence and presence untinted.

I chased the clouds in wonder
and followed them amazed,
until I turned a corner
and found a fire,
dancing danger
in the orange shards
that have no form
but possess for an instant shape
melding and fracturing
in ceaseless motion,
reckless restless gestures,
flickering and twisting,
contorted flame throwing heat
producing waves of distortion
the hedge behind
shimmering into invisibility.

Rough pieces of flame
tearing from the firebase
like bits of fabric
carelessly tossed aside
the conflagration mesmerising
daring me to watch
taunting me lest I turn away,
transfixed I am unable
to move when a sudden shift
brings a moment of wind
that calls forth smoke
to join the fire in its
flirtatious dance
and as it seems to see me
it overtakes me
and I am wreathed
in the visible choking scent
dry wood and drier grass.

Then as suddenly as it joined
the dance the smoke cleared
leaving only the flames
visible to me,
rising high extending
breaking free the escape
gravity’s pull vanishing into
emptiness
not bound by the forces
holding me earthbound
keeping me together,
still the frenzied dervish
of red yellow blue
spins and twists
reaching forth as if
to grab the clouds above my head,
yet the fire cannot
for all its mad straining
span that space before
vanishing angry and unsubdued
until its food runs down
and only frustrated embers
remain when flame and raging
are only memories
and the clouds
have shifted shape
a thousand times
and shadows in their turn
receded.