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Window by Mary Hodges

I gaze at the view as I sit by my window.
The snowdrops are over, the primrose in flower.
The riverside footpath is busy with walkers
Enjoying spring sunshine, dodging spring showers.

I pull up my scarf as I sit by my window
It’s dank and it’s chill and the rain’s beating down.
No-one is passing in this bleak November
The river is rising, a torrent of brown.

I watch the bright scene as I sit by my window.
The snow on the ground gleams white in the sun.
Children rush out to shout and throw snowballs
Sliding and sledging and snowmen are fun.

Once I could run and walk by the river
And climb all the hills and hear all the birds
Now all I can do is watch from my window
And treasure the memories I picture in words.

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Foulshaw Moss 2022 by Claire Burnett

The first time I visit, a volunteer from the Wildlife Trust nods to the drizzle, you’ve not chosen the best day for it. But I couldn’t have asked for better conditions. I’ve not come to enjoy the nest-cam of the returned osprey pair. I am here for the peace. I sit on one of four empty benches in the woodland hide, the feeders aflutter with life;
goldfinches, bluetits, willow tits and siskins. Starlings and wrens glean the spillage. I see my first redpoll. The boardwalk is a revelation that makes this pocket of semi-wilderness negotiable.

No steps, not one stile and best of all, rather than the tarmac hardness of an accessible trail, the gentle give of weathered wooden slats. The drizzle has kept people away, it’s just me, my crutches, their click of metal sticks. Sphagnum moss, moths, and budburst leaves soothe my eyes after too long in the city.
High in the arms of a birch, there is an ancient hand barrow with a wooden wheel, it must have travelled up with the growing sapling, when the peat cutting stopped.

I am crutch-free on my return. Three osprey chicks prepare to fledge their nest.
My first walk in my fifth leg brace in eighteen months. I won it in a postcode lottery. For the first time since January last year, I pick up both feet. Twenty small jogging steps. July is brewing a heatwave, dragonflies and damsels delight in the early afternoon sun. I watch a lizard basking. I’ve not seen a lizard in Britain since the seventies. I wouldn’t have seen it, had it heard the early warning of my sticks.

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ISSUES by Roger Allen

when told i was given an issue
i stayed in a hospital with pale green walls
plenty of conversation laced with cold coffee
between what was known as treatments

somewhere something or someone
kept knocking
but my private thinking
was only displayed when walking or watching

out there the eternal motorway
was sounding through the nearby woods

when getting over being so confused
for respite the nurse took me
to walk in the park across the road

there the landscape was pleasantly unchanged
since the time you and i walked together
as lovers when the sky was warm
when the bandstand sounded out a jolly tune
which i am sure we danced to

but now there is no future or returning
to our house to drink some wine
and giggle at ourselves

for when i am full of the issues
all the horizons are grey wrapped around drapes
things circle like may flies refusing to stop

that stuff is not me
it delivers what the world is doing at the time
settling as i sleep into the 4am curfew

now very little is said about that past
particularly when digging the soil
to plant sweetcorn and daisies on the allotment

there to face out the issue with a
pleasant madness that suits me fine

( i don’t blame you for not visiting
i don’t think I would visit simply because
i would not know what to say )