Reading the Stars

Oh what cruel irony that star gazer wrought
When tracing lines with his eye and caught
That side way scuttling creature of the sea
And a homemaker of the sandy shore.
Born under those stars, astrologers agree
Means family first and bonds restore.
If then a nurturer and intuitively blessed,
How cruel to name this star pattern thus.
A fearful name, one that makes us test
The breast, cervix and prostate discuss.
Oh, if only that star gazer had given
A healing name to that part of heaven.


Based on Gerard Manley Hopkins poem – Pied Beauty

Glory be to God for small things,
Peanut butter spread thick and taking a bite;
For furry friends that pull on a three mile run;
Awake at dawn as the blackbird sings;
For the white feathered egret lifting off in flight;
Awaiting the first smile from a tiny one.
For guffaws of laughter following a joke;
For silence and stillness when all is done.
Trust in his goodness, his sustaining grace
Then praise him for big things of which he spoke.
Hope, faith and joy; peace and love embrace;
Praise Him.

Everything Changed

One year on from writing this poem, about the birth of my first grandchild
Into the water
warm as blood
she stepped,
she lay,
she crouched
on hands and knees.
Belly full and tight
stretched around 
the life within.
This precious life
created from love.
A piece of her
soon to be
apart from her.
Deep breaths,
muffled groans,
bearing down,
a cloud of gore
Everything changed
at her nativity.
The cord that bound,
sinewy and blue,
throbbed with life.
lungs inflating,
oxygen circulating.
She breathed out a cry
of separation,
of liberation.

High Street Pantoum

Wellingborough High Street
Is a cultural hotch-pot
Where west and east meet
In a plethora of small shops.
First in the pot, the take away
Indian bargees and vindaloo.
A glut of shops shut in the day
Opening later for the nightclub queue.
Hot Indian curries and shish kebab
Rub shoulders with a sleek nail bar.
The night club windows looking drab
Next to the European Spar.
The nail bar, a place of fusion;
Latvian, Polish and English blend.
The Spar next door is owned by a Russian
And "We're European," the locals pretend.
Latvians and Poles in the Turkish barbers
Promised hot flannels and a cut throat shave.
The Euro Hotel now a homeless harbour
With bed, kettle and microwave.
In the cut-throat world of commerce
The bustling market is no more
But the High Street world is a microcosm
with cultures, and languages galore. 

Swimming not drowning.

Confidently I pull on my suit
That tucks in my tum
Smooths the lines
While holding up my bum.
This time I won't be beat
By fears of drowning.
I'll swim the length
Smiling not frowning.

Into the water I step,
Down the ladder and stand.
Then my confidence seeps, til,
I clutch the side with a shaking hand.
I submerge my shoulders, not my hair
And standing with hands just so,
Take a deep breath and...
Push off with one foot, one toe.
Fighting back the child inside,
Who stood hiding in the shower
While the teacher taught and mum thought
I was perfecting breaststroke that hour!
In eight strokes I reach the line
Beyond which my strength will go,
Then breathless I'll flail and splash
And sink into the depths below.
Drowning out the child within
And parting the water, on I glide
Til the deep end is reached and
A childish grin spreads from deep inside.

January Blues

Sunlight sneaking through curtains
Promises a fine day - you liar.
By mid-morning
Grey clouds cover the sky,
Blown in on angry winds
That toss the dry leaves this way
Then that - shut up.
Fine drizzle wets my face,
Unexpected, unwanted - piss off -
Becomes a deluge, drenching the path,
While the icy air makes me flinch.
The wind that brought the rain
Now parts the clouds;
Sunlight peeps through,
Blue sky appears in patches.
Smiles carried on squall and breeze
Lighten the day  - all is well.

The Foal

In the middle of the rain soaked field
Surrounded by hoof printed mud,
Away from the bushes that shield
Him from the storm clouds that scud,
Stands a young foal; is he depressed?
His tail made heavy with burr
Is unable to flick the flies that infest
His matted, mud splattered fur.
His close cropped mane he once shook, 
Is now short and stubby down his head.
Passers-by stop, tut and look
Past him to swans waiting for bread. 
Neglected and forgotten, this young horse,
Who is in plain sight but rarely seen,
Knows no other life because
He’s ignorant of pleasure and meadows green. 

An invitation

Out of bed before this January dawn
I scattered food on the frost covered lawn.
The stale crusts from week old bread
And yesterday's dumplings, heavy as lead.
Onto the table the last of the log,
Chocolaty rich; no good for the dog.
Pouring fresh water in the concrete bowl
While in the house, stirred not a soul.
A fat ball with seeds, the final touch.
Standing back, I wondered if there was too much.
As the sky lightened to a milky grey
I heard the visitors on their way.
First to arrive were the great tits
Flitting from the buddlehia for their favourite bits.
Next came tits, coal, long tailed and blue
To and from the bushes they flew.
Suddenly these visitors all took fright
For the resident blackbird claimed his birthright.
With shiny black feathers and neat yellow beak,
He came to the table and started to eat
While his beady gold eye scanned the ground
Ensuring no competitors were around. 
He didn't see the pert tailed wren
Dart from the herbs and back again.
I stood at the window for a whole hour
And counted the visitors as they devoured
The party food and tasty bites,
Magpies, sparrows and then to my delight
There came a pigeon, grey and plump,
Who landed gracefully on one foot and a stump.
Scaring the others, who had flown,
This war zone bird stood all alone.
For sixty minutes I had stood and numbered
The birds in the garden, while others slumbered.
Sixty minutes of peace and quiet
While birds shared the feast without a riot. 
Sixty minutes of inner joy
And inspiration from that tough old boy
With one tired foot and one sore stump,
Hopping, then slapping and finally a jump.