There’s a fork in the road, a hole in the hedge
This is the time when the path gets twisted
The choice is made, stick with it like a door with a wedge
“Don’t do it!” they’ll say
This is a mistake, you’ll make it again
You took a wrong turn today.
“Do it!” they’ll beam
Go for it, you’ll do it again
You were right, or so it seemed
The fork in the road, the hole it the hedge
You’ve turned down the twisted path
The choices you made…
Would you make them again?
For the leaves to fall or leaves to hold,
For the sky to set and again we behold,
The dawn of which the sun follows its fate,
Natures choice isnt ours to make.
For the river to flow and the salmon to leap,
For the snow capped mountains to be so steep,
The thundering clouds to take a break,
Nature choice isn’t ours to make.
For the many Different shades of green,
The bugs, the butterflys and the bees,
Flying through buttercup fields,
Their colourful happiness now revealed.
Our beautiful nature is not a mistake,
And has its own special choices to make.
In early November, I saw a drowsy wasp
on the upstairs bathroom windowsill.
I could have left it there.
Instead I nudged it on to some paper,
opened the window and shook it off.
And in an instant I was that wasp.
Adrift on a smooth, white-painted surface,
near the light but not too near.
Dreaming of summer sun,
pink fuchsias, blue lobelias.
Then flung out, into the cold air,
down, down, down,
through all the flowers and leaves of my life.
Standing at the pier head,
where the dirty pontoons grated on their moorings
and the river flowed fast
and furious enough to kill the unwary,
he thought of Uncle Charlie.
Charlie, told them all each year,
(with the help of Drambuie)
powerful memories of him and Gladys
dancing their way across the river
On the “Daffodil” with, sisters, brothers, soldiers
in the swirl of VE Day celebrations,
under a night of brilliant rockets,
and gallant promises,
to the blasting horns of convoy ships
linked up for miles.
When he was a boy, his mother said
you could cut the atmosphere at Charlie’s:
Neither gave an inch. One stubborn,
Charlie storming at the least thing out of place
slamming doors and grumbling.
Gladys killed her own affection
until they took her to the home in Crosby,
Then she cried a little.
By the Atlantic convoy memorial
he leant upon the balustrade
letting the iron chains give to his body:
gazing at the plastic bottles on the tide
bobbing in suspension,
always changing direction.
Where had it all gone wrong?
why should a man or woman
strike each other into shards?
He would choose wisely, if he chose at all.
Soft light gently filters into fleeting, hazy dreams
Slumber sways till wakefulness revives
Dawn’s crescendo calls to us euphorious and clear
Heralds of a new day in our lives
Come, tread paths where footsteps linger idly on the way
Eavesdrop dulcet breeze upon the branch
Contemplate the panorama, tarry awhile, stay
Imprint timeless memories to enhance
Rest now, let cool tranquil waters seep into our minds
Hear the unbound rhythm of the land
Drift amidst the hazy clouds, let the soul unwind
Alleviate, relinquish life’s demands
Twilight now diminishing, nightfall imminent
A velvet cloak enfolds the restful sky
Let’s ponder on our journey, reflect on moments spent
Appreciate the minutes passing by
Beneath pale moonlit shadows, immerse the lapping waves
Suspend concerns, embrace the ebb and flow
Surrender to the silence, release those wistful cares
Until the sunlight softly calls once more
A river is a hole where images enter
a nightingale is a set of dusty wings
and I am somewhere in between
working work and dreaming dreams.
My feet are dangling in the river
but my hands can’t let go the branch
because if I fall in, I’ll not be solid
and if I’m not solid, things will fall apart
and if things fall apart and I am not here to fix them
who knows what mayhem that will bring.
And worst of all
I’d never know
because I’d be in the river
and all the madness would be way above my head
and I don’t have a set of dusty wings,
I only have my feet
which dangle in the river
and my hands which clutch the branch.
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness
And shock-inducing spiders!
But the lucky Indian summer…
And aggravated wasps.
The pure joy of sunrise and sweet, crisp air.
The creeping cold in hands and feet.
And snuggly knitwear, mulled wine,
The melancholic fade of days.
The softness of the moon’s bright haze.
You know by now that nothing stays the same,
And who is to blame
if you choose to see only decline and pain?
Life is good!
And summer will come again.
Both thick and strong the ivy grows
along my garden wall for years
looking so lovely in the snows
but introducing several fears.
What if the tiny, dusty roots
pick at the mortar, cause the wall
to tremble as the ivy shoots –
to crumble, and collapse and fall?
The ivy’s thick, and deep within
are little creatures safe and dry –
a world of life the ivy’s sin
will shelter as the time goes by.
The ivy on the wall is deep
and looks so tender wreathed in snow,
where all the little creatures sleep,
so – should I chop it? I don’t know.
In the corner,
Cowering and quiet,
Not a bit like the others,
Tails wagging, floppy tongues,
Jumping up and down with glee,
Pick me! Pick me! Pick me!
In the corner,
Sitting on his own,
Big dark eyes look back at me,
So sad, forlorn and all alone,
Today’s your lucky day little man,
I’m going to take you home.
A bird flies out of the darkness towards the dawn.
The one long note of now becomes deep sweet song
and all our yesterdays dance into the distance.
We are standing on the edge of time,
On the edge of a bay lined with
We are opening up, we are opening up.
This endless journey, made
and made anew. A deeper rhythm; my heartbeat,
water washing on far shores,
the beat of the bird’s wings.
Every one of my cells is alight,
glowing in the shift from soft to
fierce sound. The discovery
of harmony; the found places
to land and be, to sound out, to dance
in the blending of our voices, in the
song of our making.
Around us the world is happening anew. Across the bay
the bird calls
and thousands join her.
I saught a peaceful green oasis
Away from traffic on some distant grey tarmac
To hear gentle humming bees in search of golden nectar
To see perfect symmetry of bruise purple spires
Glowing orange cone lights and rustling green leaves
Towers of budding pink foxgloves and pale yellow spiders of honeysuckle
Framing a weathered wooden resting place
The world is big and I am in it
I am, so
“I’ve got you’ says the sea”
“Okay” I whisper back.
“and you’ve got you too you know” she adds in her dandling song.
The world is big, and I am in it.
A rush of air and a squeal,
I am so
Lifted and lowered with a heave and lilt as gentle as sleep sleeping breaths.
All the while, I hold mine.
“You’re doing it” says the sea.
“It’s all you” she offers.
Her hands are cupped and full.
and with that I am breathing on my own in the world.
Released and travelling
Grasping skeins of sea, they drape my body and effervesce at my toes like lace.
Wrapped in the sea and the sky
Oh the sky!
Rapt in the sea and the sky
after a time I emerge, bouyant
gloating, gleaming, glowing red
Wrapped and well
Rapt and swell
The world is big and I am in it
I am so
Luxury: a journey in my personal car-bubble, but it’s not a lockdown drive of shame.
Raring to see wild, distanced, post-industrial, quirky places beyond that pandemic shell.
Edging away from past fortnight of commitments and computer time.
Tea stop: only my third café since March. Offered a lucky dip of iris rhizomes, a natural gift for Iris.
Weird mines, quarries, isolated rows of houses, square brushmarks of burned grouse moor patches.
Tying myself in knots finding the route, no mobile signal.
Cool green gorge below a warm stone bridge.
Almost there and lost again. An extra half an hour after not meeting each other for 134 days.
All aboard! Craster kippers? Bag of broad beans from Lindisfarne? Stottie cakes? All packed.
Coast view from the purple heather on Simonside.
Typical new normal as I get lost in the same place as a week ago.
Westward to the horizon on empty roads over row after row of moorland ridges.
Terrific radio quote on conducting: “somehow you get an orchestra’s sound from one place to another”.
Edge of Wild Boar Fell seen from 20 miles away at the same height as my road.
Radio 3 on loud: Schubert’s Death and the Maiden played by a quartet celebrating 50 years together.
Lucky to have the river for a swim on arrival home. Temperature is the same as the North Sea.