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.

Farewells the Day

This poem was inspired by a reply I made on Twitter, to a photo posted of a blackbird singing as darkness fell.

Hear the blackbird’s song,
dancing through the leaves,
tripping over fences,
lilting in the hedges,
the herald announcing
summer’s ever briefer
darkness nearing,
as he farewells the day,
welcomes the night.

Sweet notes of the solo
sent forth into the sky
filled in the distance
with clouds perhaps,
or the lonely crescent moon
barely lifted from the horizon
a presence daring emptiness,
as he farewells the day,
welcomes the night.

Sending forth notes melodious
the chorister sings his
own evensong
an avian orison
announcing another interval of light
lived fading passing
into the tomorrow’s memories,
as he farewells the day
welcomes the night.

Time Variously Considered

Time variously considered
is all or nothing at all.,
is incident and accident,
serendipity and destiny –
or it isn’t.
All things happen in its
non-existent frame –
or they don’t.
It parameters life by seconds
as by tick tocking minutes,
hours stretch
weeks escape
months turn on calendar pages.

Slipping away
hourglass sands fall
through the constricting centre
between future and past,
the now unable to hold back
the yets as they escape into thens.

Only at the narrow squeezing place
are we able to experience
the rush of existence
whistling by us
coursing through us
never able to settle for long beside us.

Swiftly surging
tenuously treading
rapidly racing
there is no quiet quelling
of the hiss whisper echo
of fleeting time flying
fracturing assumptions
immortality and fate
always on a collision course.

Are we real in its taloned grasp,
or would be we be real
only when we
realised relaxed released?
Then how would we know
in any case suddenly beyond
the key reckoners of being
marks on sticks,
megalithic monuments,
the atomic clock
rendered meaningless
and perhaps us as well.

Instead we live enshackled,
time marching on and waiting for no man.
time passing slowly,
seeing what’s become of me,
for if we allow it
will beat us into submission
subverting our quest for meaning,
our very reason for being.

Time can extrude
like fine wire,
to bind the hands
to tie the feet
to strangle the voice,
and cut off the circulation
of the spirit or extinguish it
paralysed mute unable
to do
to move
to speak enbreathed.

Time can also blow
like a menacing wind
ruining days with boredom,
tossing aside hours in waiting,
wafting the years away in yearning,
threatening sanity,
destroying hope,
leaving a wrecked life,
unlived.

Whether real or not –
construct of the mind,
premise of quantum physics,
millstone about the necks
of our psyches –
reminding us of mortality,
ambitions unfulfilled,
dreams shattered,
loves lost,
time is neutral
neither good nor bad,
thus it can be friend or foe
help or hindrance,
as benign as we make it,
as tyrannical as we allow it to be.

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.

Frost Folk

Brown leaf 1

The nights dark on darker
cold on colder
shelter the growing of the Frost Folk,
who cannot live in the bright light
or warmth of the day.

The Frost Folk live in shadows,
short is their time the Mayflies of winter
rising up of an early morn
sinking into oblivion before day’s end,
yet they are musicians
making music in crunching thin ice
and the slow mournful drip of their death.

The Frost Folk grow over rock and heather,
altering the structure
of fragile flowers too late blooming,
reaching up from the edges of leaf
for a better view of a world
observed but briefly.

The Frost Folk are the denizens of winter
they are those who paint on glass
shiny textured undecipherable images
and who decorate the grasses
in white lace and bangles of crystal luminescense.

Pause and delight in the Frost Folk’s gifts
for even in winter
they are not always present
making music or leaving art
in the wake of their passage across
our landscapes from the mysterious
world from which the grow
and to which as droplets they return
weeping for a life too short
and a cold darkness not long enough.

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.