Thursday, 28 February 2013

end of winter...

The first yellow crocus and dark purple irises
huddle together precariously in the
still-arctic breeze

Above them the delicate creamy-white hellebores
dance bravely

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

into tree-flight,
the chattering green woodpecker
yaffles to its neighbours
a warning of our arrival

Tuesday, 26 February 2013


Silver-white birch stems
ghostly against the blue-grey
February canvas

Sunday, 24 February 2013

eleven words

I love the eleven-word structure of the 'elfje', but I'm aware I play fast and loose with the classic concept. So if I'm causing any headaches, happy to call it by any other name!

As suggested, a smallstone for my son:

by grace
beneath my heart,
child of my soul -

Friday, 22 February 2013

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Cambridge haiku

The drunken bike leers
wolfishly at me from the
post it's leaning on

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

elfje for the 21st century

a rumour
a little humour
will save the day


Fingers of sunlight
questing through the frosty branches
and the voice of the turtle-
dove replying

Monday, 18 February 2013

elfje 4

Dream escape
on my mind
Liminality, new life beckons -

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Elfje 3

Crescent moon
Lies supine, laughing
So what's so funny

Elfje 2

sparkling strands
against deep azure -
the down-dappling, weeping-

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

'Elfje' 1

coriander adorns
our curry tonight -
Fragrance lifts the spirits

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

encounters 8

Already harassed and running late
I stop at the gym
for a quick blast -

Ahead of me in the queue
two young guys who have just parked
in the disabled space.

At my turn I mention this to the freckled receptionist
and ask that management
 deal with it -
(Predictably, behind me,
the disabled minibus
has parked elsewhere)

In the gym
they are disporting themselves
like young cocks
and I return to reception
a red mist before my eyes
 and ask to speak to a manager

Who eventually, grudgingly
sends out a call...

Fearful of reprisals
I hide in the car
to change my shoes and

 drive home carefully
angry with the arrogance of those young men,
with the indifference of the management
and most of all with myself...


Oh yes, for no longer having the courage
 to face them down myself -
for they were each
twice my size
and half my age

When the red mist dissolves
and I am walking the dog
I muse that today I understand
Yesterday's papal decision
'no longer up to the battle'

(Though I admit I am no wiser about his battles...)


In the bleak february park
treetops -
a tap-hammering woodpecker,
the rasping laugh
of a crow
and something else,
whose name I do not know
and whose song I cannot describe

Monday, 11 February 2013

encounters 7

Why I don't like the supermarket -

In the village shop tonight:

The greengrocer ('I only deal in cash')
who leaves home at 3am every day
for the London markets,

The lady vicar, as round as she is tall
jewish-american academic
in tweed skirt, striped socks
and walking boots,

Romany-Richard, black, beetling brows fierce, who
'doesn't agree' - with anything as far
as I can tell...

And me, tired from a day's work,
trying to negotiate the conversation
and buy my apples

We discuss the pope
before parting

Sunday, 10 February 2013

encounters 6

His clothes had seen
better days, as they say -

Grimy green jacket,
frayed at the cuff and
 hole cobble-mended,

suspicious shirt-collar
around his turkey-neck and

 tired, spattered
pin-striped trousers

and slippers.

His body had failed
him too, you might say -

Hearing aids whistled
 tunelessly, canaries longing to fly free,

Tufts sprouted from
strange places and there was
something in his hair,

mottled hands palsied
as he searched the old book
for the words he wanted.

But ah his voice was rich and beautiful,
clear and strong,
his smile wise and warm,  and his mind
as an eagle soared

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Friday, 8 February 2013

encounters 5

Feeling not-so-sparkly and
with depression lapping bleakly at the edges of my mind,
I call on the guys( with gingerbread-men) because
They'd pranged the van...

He's feeling blue-black too
Tired, frustrated and ranting
 about this
and that.

(The milk is sour -
He makes me black tea and we shut the door
on the colleague drilling shelves
in my brain)

I sympathise but find
we are arguing
about this
and that

(I swear he argues a full
circle) We are not really cross
with each other -
just the way of things

And we part with a hug,
a glance of blue-white sky,
and both feeling

Thursday, 7 February 2013

encounters 4

She arrives late,
White-blond hair awry
Mascara streaked with her distress

'I'm so sorry'
There was a smash..
Oh it was horrible,
The little car was mashed
in the ditch!'
Tears follow each other down her young face

I comfort and calm
And we turn to the day.
As we load up, I point out goldfinches,
 bright and unheeding,
in the tree She smiles..

Then back along the same road
to crawl, police-directed
past the concertinaed wreckage.
I shudder to think it could have been
her young, untried life
wasted in the ditch.

And later, the song from how-long back
runs through my head
'Goodbye my friends, it's hard to die
when all the birds are singing in the sky...'

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

encounters 3

Young, fit and always with a smile,
 she encourages our endeavours -

'Now look down and make
sure your feet are
on the end of your legs'

 - and Pilates dissolves into helpless gales of
equally theraputic laughter

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

encounters 2

They occupy the bench out of the wind
in the ice-blue sunshine of the park this morning
and we pass the time of day

'Tinnies' in hand they are warm and philosophical,
gnarled, chapped fingers scrunch my terrier's fur
as we touch upon the weather, the newly-planted saplings,
the litter and the passing of time...

Their concerns are much the same as mine

Monday, 4 February 2013

encounters 1

She paused in the sunshiny-yellow park
We touched the chocolatey sticky-buds
and reminisced about childhood

She greeted my returning terrier
And introduced me to her trusty bicycle
Ah 'my my my Delilah!'

Hours later I'm still smiling and humming Tom Jones

Sunday, 3 February 2013

smallstone for Filipa - unpolished

Curled like a cat on the hearth in the dusk
beneath the trees
Brown eyes gleaming and hair
reflecting the firelight -

'I have a pocketful of meetings'
she laughed
'but no appointment with myself'

So from what deep well do you draw
 your refreshment
 of creativity, beauty, lightness and dance,
to grace us all?

Friday, 1 February 2013

smallstone 1 February

A new month, spring MUST be on its way...

She chooses "Here come
the Sun", I dance homage
throughout the kitchen
and glance outside
in anticipation

For Aung San Suu Kyi