Monday, 30 January 2017

Late January Early Morning

After a seasonal cold snap
It's mild and moist again
Now in the old woods: new shoots
Tiny, tender and tentative
Amongst a morass of mulched detritus
Fox-musk scent lingers
Along dank, dripping banks
Deep in the hidden holloway
A little dribble of white
From russet-brown bottom
As pertly perched wren
Promptly evacuates...

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Waes Hael

After Christmas is cleared away
And shops are shorn of lurid displays,
Now, outside, on Old Twelfth Night,
There’s a stirring in the trees
As merry music leads us
Along the Old Ways
Into the orchard,
Flickering with torchlight,
And log fire burning bright.

With wreaths of evergreen leaves
A new king and queen are crowned
And the ‘loving cup’ is passed around
Filled with mulled cider, or lambswool beer,
Bringing both warmth and good cheer…
In the cold of winter
And the darkness of night
We wassail and carouse
To waken and arouse
The naked apples trees
And wish good health to them,
In root and branch, fruit and stem.

Then: pots and pans are clanged
And shotguns banged
Uncluttering the branches
Of lingering malingering elements,
Replacing them with shining lanterns
And pieces of dunked, 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!

And so enjoining one another
To make merry in midwinter
And joining together both 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 that next year, we may all share
The abundant health and wealth of the orchard
Many an apple, many a pear

Waes Hael!! Drinc Hael!!

Monday, 2 January 2017

A Haiku Through The Seasons

January to December 2016, Martin Maudsley


Dark path
Beneath bright night sky;
Stumbling amongst stars.

New moon of the New Year
Brings new inspiration;
Following the old ways...

Pale-yellow primroses
Fluorescent, florescent will-o-the-wisps
Leading deeper into the woods.

Walking through the night
Pale ghosts of snowdrops
Luminous in the moonliness...

Garden bonfire,
The embers of a brimming day,
Blackbird sings-in the gloaming

Morning walk
Littered with gold
Celandines coruscating in the sunshine

Blackcaps' bubbling singing,
Effortless rushes and gushes,
In praise of the greening of trees.

Lying amongst bosky bluebells
Dreaming of green dragons
On the feast of St George

Old railway line
Hunting butterflies -
Caught by a cuckoo 

First scream of swifts
Rising cream of summer
Bringing warm air on welcome wings

Delicate bramble blossom
The sweetness of sunshine
Nourishing flourishing wings

Hogweed high as my head
Nettles up to my nipples
Summer's profusion scented with elderflower

Swimming in summer's secrets
A watery world seen
Through dragonflies' eyes.

Iridescent green
Beetle on barley
Bronzed by the sun

Summer's colours
Seeping away;
Spiders creeping in.

Picking blackberries with my daughter
Harvesting my own childhood memories;
A profusion of ripeness

No more soaring wings:
First bite of autumn
Leaves me un-swallowed

Morning after Michaelmas
Still picking blackberries
Defying the Devil...

Autumn-tinged hedges
Along the old Roman road
Moonbow glimmering in the mist.

Standing still in the dark woods,
Storm-tossed and lost;
Suddenly showered with falling gold

Soaken oaks
Dripping in the darkness
Amongst sodden, trodden leaves

Old sycamore
Craggy-limbed and shaggy-skinned
Last leaves rattling in the wind

Hoar-frosted morning:
Sprawling hawthorn,
Calling wren defends her tree.

Full Moon before Yule
Sinking slowly into
The rising morning.