Friday, 9 March 2018

Bird Words #1

Starting a new series from my bimbling bird-watching around my local patch, to help remember different species id. Loosely based on Japanese Tanka poetry of five lines. Here's #1:

Sparrow-speckled back
Breast of gun-metal grey
A sweetly squeaking trolley
Wheeling away into the woods


Monday, 5 March 2018


A robin
round black eyes like berries
peering at me impassively
as I stand and stare back.
It blinks its grey lids
as I watch, and blinks again,
then suddenly shifts its weight
turning its back on me
but still looking at me
over a grey feathered shoulder.
I take a step backwards -
it hops a little forwards
keeping me close range
fixed in its gaze
as if I am a little tasty morsel
instead of a clumsy lumbering man;
perhaps I am.
And it’s a joy
a sweet stilling of time
to be
by a bird.

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Waes Hael

After the clutter of Christmas is cleared away 
And shops are shorn of lurid displays,
Now, outside, there’s a stirring in the trees
As merry music leads
Us along familiar ways
Into the old orchard, ablaze
With flickering torchlight
And a brazier of fire, burning bright.

Pots and pans are clanged
And shotguns banged:
Decluttering the trees of lingering malignants;
Replacing them with little lighted lanterns
And pieces of dunked and drunken toast
For Robin, the good-fellow, to make the most
As we raise our voices in joyful boasts:
‘Ere’s to thee - Old Apple Tree!

With wreaths of evergreen leaves
A Wassail King and Queen are crowned

And the Loving Cup is passed around
Overflowing with hot mulled cider
Bringing warmth and cheer inside as
We, outdoors, in the darkness of night
And the frosty grip of winter’s might,
Stand together to treasure and appease
The cold and naked apples trees
And wish good health to them:
In root and fruit, in branch and stem.

And so enjoining one another
To make merry in Midwinter
And celebrating the bond between bark and skin
We hope, once more, the trees will bring -
In autumn after summer after spring -
(As much as we give to them in our Wassailing)
So then, again, at Apple-Time we may all share
The wealth of the orchard: many an apple & many a pear!

Waes Hael!! Drinc Hael!!

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Midwinter's Morning

Night's shadows still hug the holloway
As a chorus robins and wrens
Greet the dawning grey light.
A clattering of jackdaws
A shattering of pigeons' wings
A sneeze and yawn from a battered tent
In the copse of tangled trees.
Molehill milestones mark the muddy track
As I climb the hill, until sea is seen,
Standing on a cairn of stones
At Midwinter's summit.

Monday, 30 October 2017

A little egret
Alifts from the riverside
Like an ancestral apparition
Bound by its being to the ever-flow of water
But released by the freedom of the moment
To rise and ride the wind -
Haunting the liminal land on wide, white wings.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Wednesday, 30 August 2017


Shadowy shade savoured
Walking through the old orchard
As fermenting fallen fruit
Infuses the warm, humid air
With sweet cidery smells