Meadow Browns & Bumblebees

The merry dance of meadow browns
continues unabated
rising in clouds of delicate wings
fluttering amidst the blossoms.

Foxgloves are the refuge
of the bumblebees who
can only sneak a sip of these nectars,
and claim the catmint,
for their usual haunts
of oxeye daisies, scabious and red campions
are full of other feeders.

The summer sun calls these
delicate creatures forth
in profusion this year
bringing a smile
and gladdening the heart.

Meadow Brown and Oxeye DaisyMeadow Brown and ScabiousBumblebee and FoxgloveBumblebee and Catmint

THE GIFT OF RAIN

The air is perfumed
with the gift of life-giving rain.

The earth is moist
with the gift of life-giving rain.

The plants are restored
with the gift of life-giving rain.

The evening’s feathered choristers
sing thanks for the gift of life-giving rain.

As the clouds separate
into clusters of golds and greys,
parting to allow the night blanket
to cover the land in its velvet
full moon softness,
the place I call home
goes into the hours of darkness and rest,
refreshed and renewed.

It was long in coming
and after the arid days,
I welcome the gifts and blessings
the rain bestows upon the land.

Tooting My Own Horn

This is a slightly different blog, because I’m sharing places to find my writings that others have published.

Recently, The Deep Music: Offerings for the Awen was published. This is an anthology containing three of my poems, previously unpublished, and a short essay. You can order it here.

The jacket blurb reads:

‘This anthology is a collection of the writings of contemporary awneyddion. Those who have have heard the deep music, followed its call to Annwn, where the awen is breathed into them by the gods, and returned with their own songs.’ The other contributors include: Greg Hill, Catriona McDonald, Angharad Lois, Bryan Hewitt, Lorna Smithers, Cat Heath, Rhyd Wildermuth, Charlotte Hussey, Kevin Manwaring, Hazel Loveridge, Sithearan NicLeoid, Lia Hunter, and Hilaire Wood.

Last week, a story of mine,’The Unexpected Bearer’, was published in the Spring 2020 issue of Shorts Magazine [it’s free]. Just click on the magazine and it opens.

These are the first of my writings published by others in a long time, and it’s been very gratifying see both the book and magazine.

My Twenty-One-Year-Old Self

My twenty-one-year-old self looks down on me,
watching from the wall across from my bed,
as I sleep and waken,
follows me around the room,
leaning out from her canvas home,
curious and enigmatic.



I wonder sometimes what she thinks
of the life I have made in the forty-six years
since she was painted,
a time and a life committed
by brush, oils and skill
to be a wedding present from my father,
when according to him at the time
I looked like everyone and no one,
too young with too little of life lived
to make my features have
the unique signature of self
only time can grant.
 
Sitting here with her looking down on me now,
on the anniversary of that marriage
which failed after a quarter century,
I wonder what will happen to her
when I am gone,
I who leave no descendants,
no one who would want a portrait of me;
but I shelve these musings
choosing instead to wonder
about the life I’d be living now
had I not changed my name,
not been divorced two times,
gone to university at eighteen
instead of thirty-five,
not answered the call to leave
the religion of my birth
as well at its country.
 
For I can see shadows of those other lives
lived surely in other places,
and perhaps on other planes,
from that which I inhabit now,
lives with descendants perhaps
to carry her forth along
with my genetics.
 
I look at her watching me
perceiving no judgement 
sensing no disappointment,
feeling no regret,
rather there is acceptance,
without resignation and the acknowledgement
life has its twists and turns,
that there are eddies and still pools
in the flow of time as well as
raging torrents pushing one onward,
for the trajectory of being is complex,
and the algebra of the heart
and the trigonometry of the soul
remain mysterious.
 
What I make of the life
I have created for myself
by the paths I have taken,
the doors I have either entered or closed,
the decisions and choices I have made,
whether with my heart or with my head,
whether wise or foolish,
each have led me here
to a place my twenty-one-year-old self
there and then could never have imagined,
where my sixty-seven-year-old self
here and now can have a silent conversation with her,
with that me, any time that I desire,
and in those moments find a sense
of continuity transcending there and then,
where place and time
no longer matter for in the flow
of being all are one.

My World Shrank

For the second time in my life
my world shrank.

The first time by expansion when,
volunteering as the assistant
to my then husband,
San Diego’s first port chaplain,
the world came to me
as I sat dishing out stamps and change
to the crew of various passenger ships
regularly calling at there.

In this way, I worked with people
from all over the world,
and though it was a big world
knowing someone from most continents
made it see much smaller,
places I would never dream of visiting,
and in many cases had no desire to do so,
were brought to me as letters to family
passed over my table with exotic,
often complicated addresses.

Indeed, my world shrank
to encompass the whole of it.
Since then I have relocated
to another country smaller than America,
but the memory of that larger
smaller world
lingered.

When lockdown began my world shrank again,
this time contracting instead of expanding
in some mysterious pandemic physics,
to be the acre, give or take,
the property on which I now live,
and it is a world-size that I can truly
get my head and heart,
soul and spirit around.

It is the house,
the front garden, drive and garage,
it is the back garden with its
ten raised beds and soon to be installed
water feature and potted trees planted,
it is the orchard with its new
and previously resident fruit trees.

This is now my world,
one I can easily circumnavigate,
not getting wet unless I run into the sprinkler,
one where I know the non-human residents,
listen in wonder at their various languages
in scolding or in song,
where the wind speaks its own words,
differently through every tree,
where I recognise and know where
the sun and moon and stars
will be each night.

For the second time my world
shrank and though I do not understand
what this smaller world will mean
in the long run,
it a world where I am content,
where I want to be,
where I know and am known,
where I am learning lessons unimagined.

For the second time in my life,
my world shrank,
and I am in no real hurry for it to expand.

So, it was you – Covid-19

I felt you coming,
months ago long before anyone
dared name you,
before anyone had a hint
of your existence,
but then I did not recognise you,
could not name you,
until now.

You slid here
on Brexit’s slipstream
unnoticed and undetected,
perhaps longer than
we will ever know,
until it was too late.

The threat of you,
or you kin,
is always with us,
waiting for the opportunity,
a careless or deliberate action,
not a few have issued warnings
over the years that fell
on deaf ears
and onto eyes blinded
by insensitivity and greed.

How do I know all this now?
I scrolled back in my memory
for experiences presaging occurrences,
major events or incidents
that caused radical alteration
on a large scale,
and going back nineteen years ago
I came to the summer before 9/11.

Here I struck paydirt,
for in reviewing the impressions
and feelings of those unsettling months,
I realised that event most closely
fitted a thing so big and world altering,
and the relief I felt in naming what I knew,
after the shock wore off.

It seems mistakenly,
I thought the dis-ease I had felt
since last autumn was all about
the scrambled energy
present here concerning
the island on which I live
severing ties with its largest neighbour,
about the effects of the
unaccountable arrogant and self-righteous
appeals to former greatness,
evoking by implication if not utterance
the time we ruled the seas
and much more land on every continent,
that we would be greater on our own.

As it turned out,
I was only partially right,
for though those ideas and energies
were surely present they were not enough,
because when the time of parting came
ever closer week by week,
the apprehension grew,
restless, anxious, fretful
energies swirled around me,
doom, fear, panic
for Brexit to be the only cause –
and how in all this I missed
the looming spectre of death
I do not know, except,
it was woven amongst the other
sensations carefully hidden.

All this changed a few days ago,
I knew then it was you,
a wraith stealing in under
the larger shadow
of our insular concerns;
perhaps, in part my confusion
came because the same issues prevail
in your wake as in the wake of Brexit:
food and border security,
international and institutional cooperation,
movement of goods and people,
loss of jobs and livelihoods –
though not the thousands of deaths,
no, they are yours alone.

Would it have helped
if I had known sooner it was you coming,
though there would have been nothing
I could do to stop you,
for was never in my power
to prevent you
breaking on these shores
any more that I could halt
the sealing of those same shores
from Europe and its misapprehended dangers,
which are nothing compared
to the dangers you brought here?

In all of this there are lessons
I have learned to apply in the future,
and there will be futures like these
for those of us who survived this time,
when individuals and governments
will make misguided choices and decisions,
for surely there will be other
pandemics, viruses and existential threats,
when other energies will crash over me,
portending death and danger,
when I trust I will remember from this time
I need to dig deeper and look farther,
to perhaps understand sooner,
what I know and thus find a way
to prepare myself and hope
I will not again be overwhelmed.

May the cures for Brexit and you
not be worse the dis-ease and disease
you both have already caused me and others,
stealing a half a year of my life,
though thankfully not ending it,
leaving me the rest of it to be
lived out in a world reshaped and unfamiliar.

Dancing with the Dryads

You arrived at last,
anticipated and prepared for
to join the few of your kin
already planted in our orchard.

We unpacked all twenty-five of you
from the transporting bag of straw,
bare rooted and mostly branchless
to await your planting.

The map was meticulously drawn,
the holes to be your home forever
carefully dug with stakes set
for your support.

You are in the ground now,
the earth that holds you close,
spun and mixed in precise proportions,
placed about you with gentle firmness.

The crossing braces are in place,
your names and root stock history
burned into wooden tags for tying on,
so we will always know you tree names.

Now it is up to me to introduce myself,
to play your dryads’ musics
to dance with your dryads as I have done
with the trees whose company you now keep.

I will sing with and to you,
I will dance with you in the breezy sunshine,
and over the Summer our connection
will strengthen as we move into Autumn.

Do not think that I will not sing you
a dryad’s lullaby to ease you
into your Winter’s slumber,
or never come to be with you until Spring.

It is the task I have set before me
to nurture and nourish you
so you may grow into strong and fruitful
apple, pear and plum trees.

Grow well and know the warding
of Pomona who resides in the orchards
round about us and will be a guardian
to you for the whole of your lives.

Expanded Orchard (2)

On the other side of Thursday

Galaxies whirl through space,
stars flow across the night dark sky
the cosmic dance goes on oblivious to us,
the earth rotates on her axis,
spring moves slowly on its course
flowers bloom and leaf buds swell,
birds sing their morning song to greet
the rising sun and the moon grows
toward fullness once again,
on the other side of Thursday.

Our stories merge,
blank pages interleaf
waiting for the living of our life
to become a story shared,
your story and my story
will become our story,
where we do not know the plot
for it will only be revealed as we live it
on the other side of Thursday.

There are new memories
that do not displace the old,
nor deny the lives and loves before
embracing the past
reaching to the future,
knowing what had been
in the mystery of being
opened the portal we walk through today
and what is yet will unfold before us,
on the other side of Thursday.

This day we celebrate
that we have found each other,
our hearts rejoice and souls dance,
a life to share awaits with
adventures and challenges,
explorations and learnings,
being and becoming,
for a new wide world opens up to us,
on the other side of Thursday.

I wrote this for my Griffin as his wedding present. We step together in to our new life filled with gratitude, wonder and delight, knowing in the deepest reaches of our beings that all we have together is a gift from a beneficence beyond our comprehending.

A Daughter and a Mother

The deep unknowing
from birth until adulthood
spans of winter years
stretched between you,
neither knowing the other,
always haunted by the absence
in an empty wistful wondering,
was I missed, was she loved,
questions spiralling out
into distances unimagined
bored into the core of the heart.

A daughter relinquished.
A mother bereft.
A time of reckoning outside
their ability to comprehend.
A mother bereft.
A daughter relinquished.

Light has now, though,
penetrated the deep unknowing
as spring has blossomed
in the landscape of the heart,
Persephone, a daughter freed
from the silenced mystery,
unuttered questions swinging
in the silent spaces
dawning between the present
and the fog shrouded past.

Light has now, as well,
shone into the deep well of loss,
the waters breaking forth
washing into the future,
Demeter, a mother consoled
in the mystery of knowing
she now has a chance
to learn and share from the wisdom
borne of separation,
answers flowing gently
through the silent spaces
filling the empty present
from the tear-filled past.

A daughter bewildered.
A mother relieved.
A time of reconnection within
their ability to create meaning.
A mother relieved.
A daughter bewildered.

I wrote this for a friend who is a real life Persephone

Winter’s Turning

The season turned some time ago,
slipping slowly since
into the hard cold grasp
of frost and ice,
now each morning
gilding the edges of the lawn’s
every blade with crystals
golden in the early sun.

Though the season turned some time ago,
only now does the
clinging cold clutch
at skin exposed however briefly
to the wind and marching vapour
rising from the fields
standing wet from recent soaking rain.

Since the season turned some time ago,
the days’ march onward
near the heart of Winter,
darkness’ descent dancing
from light into night swiftly
changing state as
Winter’s whimpers subtly alter to
melancholy whispers in the fading day.

The midseason approaches,
deepest velvet night
replaces shallow satin day,
but soon they swap their places
gradually longer days
for incrementally shorter nights,
as the wheel adjusts once more,
the pattern begins again,
the tottering and teetering
of light and dark
of day and night
of winter facing
the return of summer in its time.

For once more the seasons rocking
to their rhythms show
that to change and shift positions,
as does the sun hour by month
is the way of living, being, thriving
in Nature’s balanced grace.

Shortest day, I treasure you,
Longest might, I honour you.
Winter Solstice, I welcome you.