Wilderness Wood

P1000240 There’s a little death in the vale

At the foot of Wilderness Wood,

Beyond the bluebell corms

Nestling deep beneath the rotting

Leaf mulch of long sleeping years,

Over the path’s rising wind from

Lake bottom and stream’s trickle

And out over the hedgerow stile

into the pasture’s curving caress,

to the oak where the memories

were planted shallow in spring sin.

Where dog walkers pass in the sun

Traversing the vale’s worn foot

With whistling sticks for company,

Ignoring the cows contemplating

Thriving stinging nettle clumps,

And striding, wandering, thinking

Absently of anything but the import

Of that triptych of English trees

Standing, forgiving, absorbing transient

backs, kisses, whispers, snores

As meadow rooted as any oak.

Rising woodland beyond the stile

Takes the breathlessness of steps,

Records them in indelible bluebell juice

Laying them out for posterity

In the darkroom of fertile memory,

While the knowing benches seat

Only oblivious passers-by, pausing

To glance at Sunday lunch watches,

And the arches of stone lined paths

Detail in mossy braille, the little death

At the foot of Wilderness Wood.

The Hill

DSC00346Heavy booted, trudging through thick clarts,

He bends against the weight of every step

Watching, concerned, each thick churned rut

The slime of thick feet heavily slow, unsure.

The onward path deepens

Held in sycamore’s swift growing arms

An arc of afternoon denying caresses.

The silence here’s as thick as the mud

As he reaches the path’s forked foot

Pausing momentarily to heft his baggage

Glancing back to the void of his descent

Before turning feet against the slippery clag

Reaching for thick bank jutting roots,

Rough gnarled and moist against reaching hands,

Holding sliding hob-nailed boots firm.

Bowed in the thick green twilight

The weight of wet clay claws at his legs

Ascent slow against the downward drag

He will reach the pasture before dusk.


The path’s been slow, tentative,
Long halfway moments spent skirting
Proudly erected barbed-wire defences
Retracing tussocked ground that falls
With the wind, deviating unexpectedly,
Thrusts valleys of vetch and blushing clover,
Bending the path longways
Through and beyond the barring bramble
Snatching at ankle clawing slacks…
And as the five barred gate’s unclasped,
Swinging open beneath drizzled sun,
Feet again graze the spreading pasture
Arching into the turf thick with memory
And a smile spreads once more
Wide as the dipping wagtail sky
Richly deep-rooted, ballet delicate,
The grace of days swells the hilltop breeze.

Autumn’s Beach

n636540009_1870046_714 Yearning for the sun to rise

Warming the pebbles of the past –

The ones tucked away in pockets

Of tide smoothed memory.

Searching for recollection amongst

The rocks pools and whelk cases,

Wriggling toe-deep into wet sand

For a whisper of footsteps long gone.

Wandering along solitary shingle

Glistening wet with memory’s chill

As ears burn with the wind silence’s

Ceaseless symphony of solitude.

Gazing along the line of crumbling cliffs

Hammocks of grass clinging on

In tussock rooted defiance

To halcyon pastured days.

Yearning, searching, wandering, gazing

Traversing this beach’s ceaseless modernity

Finding echoes in the permanence of clouds

Yet, not a single pebble’s worth collecting.