First Frost of Winter

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The earth is sugar coated here this morning,
Everywhere I look is sheer delight!
Every blade of grass is candy-coated,
Every leaf is fringed in crispy white.

The earth is cold, my breath before me rising.
An artist came last night to recreate.
The scene before my eyes is mesmerising,
His work an art of joy to celebrate.

Nature always brings the unexpected,
Its beauty constantly is a surprise,
You’d think by now that we would be quite used to it,
But each year its wonder fills our eyes.

The sun warms up the earth – his work is fading!
Slowly it is vanishing from sight.
The joy it gave will not be taken from me
His palate redressed to charm another night.

*****

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On a November Morning

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 Mist hangs like a bride’s veil over the field,

I rub my eyes to rid them of sleep and clear my view.

Trees; some standing like statues, stiff, dark and bare,

Others, reluctant to let go their golden tresses

Enjoy their annual moment of fiery beauty!

They are looked at and admired as they pose

Like models displaying their autumn colours.

Human tracks zig-zag across the dew-soaked grass,

Like a child scribbling across a new page.

I look behind to see my own tracks criss-crossing the others

Adding confusion to the busy rush-hour tram lines!

My boots squelch under my feet.

Patterns from the soles of unknown boots

Create new pictures on the muddy canvas.

Once crisp and golden, leaves now lie sodden and blackened,

Ready to be taken down to their final resting place to nourish the earth,

So nature’s cycle may begin again.

*****

The Two Sides of Jonathan Apple

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The sun shines bright on Jonathan,
His red cheeks glow with health.
Round and glossy, golden skin,
Fragrant aroma and deep brown eyes,
Sweet tempered to the core.
Born to please,
Born to give pleasure,
Born to be savoured!
BUT …………………….
Jonathan can be crabby too,
He can be sour when life treats him badly.
He can feel hurt, his pride bruised,
He needs to be treated with care.
Because Jonathan, like us all has two sides.
His bruised side shows a new light – a new life,
So very different from his sweet and easy going one!
This Jonathan has sparkle.
This Jonathan has drive!
This Jonathan makes all that he meets feel good.
This Jonathan is fizzing with life.
This is his fun side – er.

*****

Mourning Sky

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She dances in her silken dress of brilliant blue and smiles …..
Sometimes she adds an overskirt of intricate patterned, whitest lace.
Different shades, mottled and confused, as tears fill her eyes and gently fall.
Dark, grey, rough fabric, course to touch and stiff to wear are soon replaced –
By black! No patterns. Just darkness that is dragged around,
Its hem caked in mud, as she mourns her gown of blue.
Gradually, tiny lights, shy at first, begin to twinkle
Decorating her gown with a thousand jewels!
Slowly her back begins to straighten and her dress begins to change –
Into gold, orange and yellow – mourning lights begin to brighten –
Until once more she wears her gown of blue.

*****

Behind the Market Place

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(Memories of a market scene in Tunisia)

Vegetables laid out in mosaic patterns on colourful stalls,

Like a myriad of the brightest jewels.

Stall-holders chatter, selling their wares in foreign tongue.

Exotic spices fill the air with pungent smells filling my nostrils.

The sun beats down relentlessly.

******

Excitement fills the market place, as holiday-makers pause to wonder,

To soak up the atmosphere of this new found culture.

The sound of many flip-flops clip-clopping along the walkways.

Shorts clad, tee-shirted people adding their own holiday colour to the hustle and bustle.

‘Let’s go down here!’

******

Behind the vibrant scene all is quiet.

The sun-baked earth is brown and dusty.

The stalls colourful life has come to an end.

Here live chickens packed into crates are waiting to be taken home to have their heads chopped off.

Horses, used to bring produce to market

Stand in full sun, with Belsen-like bodies,

Rib cages like musical instruments waiting to be played.

No grass to graze,

No water to drink

Before again being loaded for their staggering walk back home.

They wait, with clouded eyes and withered limbs,

Fear long passed, awaiting their fate.

******

I wish now I hadn’t taken the detour,

My lasting memory should be the bustling market place.

Instead, each time my mind returns to that country

I am filled with sorrow …..  and I wonder ……..

Why didn’t I do something instead of just walking away?

******

Symphony of the Hudson Valley

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11th August 2016

Distant rumbles echo round the hillside.
Clouds hang on the horizon, blue and black.
Slowly, oh, so slowly they slither forward
Like mighty dragons hunting for their prey.
The sky lights up as tongues of fire flash,
Flooding the valley with temporary morning light.
Cicadas begin their strident call –
Louder than usual and more plentiful!
Woken by the sudden sound
Deep-throated frogs join in the overture,
Filling the air with panic stricken song!
Percussion begins as rain shushes through trees,
Drumming on roof-top!
With the orchestration now complete
Fireflies offer up their dance to the night-time music
Writhing, zig-zagging, frantically darting,
Writing their fluorescent score upon the air,
Their evening ritual becoming manic and more desperate!
Natures wonder mesmerising – filling the senses,
Leaving it embedded in the memory forever.

*****

The Lowsenford Sentinel

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 (I was inspired to write this poem after seeing Antony Gormley’s sculpture by the locks on the Stratford-upon-Avon canal)

The Lowsenford Sentinel

Standing sentinel starboard side

Surveying passing boats.

Precariously peering port side

Boldly guarding the barrel cottage.

Watching the weary watermen

Granting them right of passage.

*****

Spawned from an angel,

His iron form juts and muscles.

Strength exudes for all to see.

Power, a gentle giant, offering protection

From the pulsating water raging far below.

*****