Closed for the Night

Recently, I have been allowing myself to open up more to the world around me. To the dancing of the wind scattering the long strands of my hair into wondrous tangles. To the patter of the rain on my back as I work in the garden. To the summer sun, with whom I have an uneasy truce. To the mad chuttering of the squirrels, impatient calling of the magpies and the sweet songs of the small birds who visit our feeders. I am able to do this from the time I get up in until the sun goes down.

From sunset to sunrise, I find that I have close myself off and down again, to anything beyond the safe walls of my home. I sense quite acutely now the creatures of my immediate and farther landscape. But for now I will not allow myself to extend, because I daren’t engage with the countryside in my county. The Badger Cull has returned.

I simply cannot bear to hear the silent cries of the dying or feel the agony of the wounded. I learned this last year. I am not strong enough to endure this once more. At sunset, I offer ‘prayers’ to the gods and spirits of the land that the Badgers do not suffer when they are exterminated. It is, I admit, the request of one who knows better, because there will only be suffering. No only for the Badgers killed, but for the members of setts decimated in the nightly carnage.

In the morning, I wake to the beauty of the sunrise, the bird song, the view of my yew and apple trees, but I am still haunted by the knowing that so may of my Badger kin will never know the feeling of the wind over their backs, the rain on their noses or the sun warming the entrance to their sett. I pause and as I give thanks for another day, I whisper farewell to those who have died during the night in a misguided attempt to control a disease that has by now in the land itself. harder still is that we will never know how many healthy Badgers died, and died in vain.

 

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.

Dryads Retreat

Dancing to unheard music
played deep
within their being,
Dryads toss branches
shake twigs
to shed their leafy mantles,
encouraging
the
earthward
tumble
as days shorten,
their time of retreat approaching.

They quiver preparing,
less and less turned outward,
their focus shifting,
until no longer sustaining
summer’s verdiditas
or autumn’s splendour,
replaced by subtle energy for winter,
releasing the past demanded.

A sharp gust of sudden wind
no reason to hold longer
freefalling
golden
rain
pirouetting on stems
last leaves languid
on the breeze
downward
delicate
drifting
death,
amassing in wind raked clusters.

Frolicking on curb sides
boot tossed shuffled through,
children gather them
attracted to the colours
red bronze copper yellow brown,
drawn by the shapes
oak birch beech poplar sycamore plane,
contorted as they shrivel,
diminishing,
retaining a different beauty
past feeding earth feeding future,
nourishing our souls,
granting needful lessons:
There is no permanence.
There is always change.
There are cycles to being.
Living comes in many forms
Dying is not only what it appears to be.

Samhaintide

Prepare now
for the Samhaintide
make ready
for the delicate dawns
the diaphanous dusks
are upon us.

They will not last long,
these daybreakings
these nightfallings,
before we realise
all will return to what
we know well
and cope with better.

As the light shrinks itself
making room for expanding darkness,
when the constellations
more brightly dance
singing across the star strewn sky,
we keep the Samhiantide.

Out the corner of the eye,
was that a shimmer,
a swiftly darting energy
manifested momentarily,
the shadow stealthily
moving as a cloud across sky?

Barely audible
almost beyond our hearing,
was that thrumming,
the muffled chanting of the ancestors,
just the comfortable side of discordant,
who no longer sing in our harmonies
whose melodies grate the senses?

Yet, yet the sight of them fills
us with wonder and reassurance,
their musics astonish offering us solace,
we do not know how
it is possible for us to understand.

Samhaintide,
prepare to encounter what
we do not expect and accept
what we embodied
do not now understand.

The mystery of death,
the other birth
shrouded until the last moments,
and let us not wait until death is upon us,
to embrace and be embraced by
the reality we are not alone
either in our living or our dying.

Open and let go,
prepare now
for the Samhaintide
make ready
for the delicate dawns
the diaphanous dusks
are upon us.

They will not last long,
these daybreakings
these nightfallings,
before we realise
all will return to what
we know well
and cope with better . . .
unless we choose
a different way of being.