Emerge

Emerge from the fog.
Merge with the mist.
Appear in dream.
Disappear at dawn.

Elusive,
secretive,
unsure
if the call has been heard,
if the presence will be heeded,
if the images can be held.

Waking from the wandering of sleep,
rising from the repose of night,
aware of the new day
away drift the words
given as the lights went out.

The head goes down,
the eyelids close,
the body refuses
to respond to the
desire, need, demand
to record the words,
capture the idea,
harness the images
before they drift away
slip beyond the gate of memory,
lost to the dark
of restless sleep,
fretful waking.

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Orion

I have seen you unexpectedly
in the sky over thin Iona,
leaning against a whispy cloud
in the light of a chill dawning.

I await your appearance
each Autumn dusk
for you are the harbinger
of long dark nights ahead.

I greet you by name
leaving or arriving home,
seek you out overhead
easily seen in a city sky.

Now you watch over me,
for you are visible
each night when
my head rests upon its pillow.

Through the uncurtained window
I know you track with me
the dreams of Winter,
and assist me in any successful hunt.

 

 

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.

 

Orion

I have searched for an image to go with this post, but none are as clear as the one I saw inspiring these words. I got up at 0300 to see the special eclipse not sure what to expect. In my pajamas, jumper and furry slippers I walked out of my little porch. Immediately in front of me was Orion. There were not lots of other stars confusing the view it was pretty much Orion standing tall above the Maize Mothers. There appeared ever so briefly a shooting star reminding me of the depth of space/time.

Although I got up to watch the moon slip into totality, and stood looking up in awe of her colour wreathed in darkness, but I was most taken by the view of Orion.

I made the acquaintance of Orion properly on Iona nearly 20 years ago. It was the first place he was close enough to touch. As I visited the island most often in October, it is not surprising that he was there to greet me. For me, his energy is quite powerful and mysterious. I look forward to my first sighting each Autumn and on such a special night this year, when the energies of the space/time were so evident made the moment even more powerful.

Orion 1

I revere your presence,
leader of the Sky hunt
through the wastes of Winter,
gathering your power
in the nights of Autumn.

I honour your authority,
caller of the Sky hunt
through the wilderness of galaxies,
focusing your strength
in the darkening of nights.

I respect your dignity,
master of the Sky hunt
through the mysteries of space/time,
holding your nerve
in the density of darkness.

Orion 2

I greet you, Orion,
this clear bright night,
ever deepening to the
cold harsh heart
of Winter.

I ask you, Orion,
to share your energy,
celestial light blazing
through the frozen sky
of Winter.

I thank you, Orion,
for offering your presence,
to sustain the fearful and weary
during every night
of Winter.

Orion 3

You are the Hunter
to my Gatherer.

The Hunter and the Gatherer paired
provision the larder,
enabling the tribe
to be sustained and healthy,
year on year
through every season,
moon and moment.

You are the Hunter
to my Gatherer.

No longer able
to partake the flesh Beasts,
for in these days
it is neither freely given
nor reverently taken,
I still require
this energy to survive.

You are the Hunter
to my Gatherer.

When I greet and reverence you,
with grace and gratitude
I am able to receive this energy,
these gifts the Beasts
can only provide if taken
with respect when given the dignity
of a freely surrendered death.

You are the Hunter
to my Gatherer.

* * * *

Even for me the third poem raises issues and paradoxes that are complex and not easily resolved. What I am able to do is articulate and then wrestle with them. And always, always eat with an open and grateful heart.

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.

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.