Tag: poetry

Y IS FOR ‘A YEAR ON THE MANSFIELD ROAD: SPRING’

Up through the rubbish the new grass is growing.

Green hawthorn, yellow gorse and whitethorn blowing.

In the year’s slippage when we were asleep –

Corporate Solutions, Bowring, OHeap –

The field has gone, the earth’s laid bare.

New homes are ready that last year weren’t there.

Developers’ banners wave on the hill:

Larwood Park, Fairfields and Berry Mill.

New fences. Spring rain. Thinking time.

Read the road. Make the rhyme.

Hunting the hedgerows, a hawk hovers high.

Wind turbines turning in the blustering sky.

Y IS FOR ‘A YEAR ON THE MANSFIELD ROAD: WINTER’

Smell of Vicks. Smear of sleet.

Tedium of wheels. Turn up heat.

Roadworks. Standstill. A38.

Belper, Coxbench, Brackley Gate.

Black road blurring through the rain.

Red rear lights on northbound lane.

Southbound, white headlights streaming.

Wipers beat, wet road gleaming.

Southbound white, northbound red.

Thousands of cars. The road ahead.

Due caution. Speed cameras. Give way to the right.

Bantering school kids wait for the light.

The lights turn green, the lights turn red.

Mansfield, Newark, Ravenshead.

Come away mum, he was too young to die.

Wind turbines turning in the wintry sky.

Hands on the wheel. Eyes on the road.

Eddie Stobart, Knights of Old,

James Wilby Deliveries, Lynx, Great Bear.

Exhaust fumes rise in the clear air.

Tossed on the wind, the seagulls flying.

Blue light flashing, siren crying.

Fling down the flowers. He was too young to die.

Wind turbines turning in the fog-bound sky.

Y IS FOR ‘A YEAR ON THE MANSFIELD ROAD: AUTUMN’

A38 down Abbey Hill.

Ripley, Heanor, Langley Mill.

Frosty trees. The morning star.

Fly-tip sofa. Abandoned car.

Blue lights flashing, siren’s wail.

UPS, Hermes, Royal Mail.

Flowers on that lamp post. He was too young to die.

Wind turbines turning in the cloudy sky.

Rose hip, red hawthorn, bramble, pine.

Sutton in Ashfield, A619.

Too young to die but now he’s dead.

Hands on the wheel. Eyes ahead.

Merge in turn. Give way to right.

Young mums with pushchairs wait for the light.

The lights turn green, the lights turn red.

Hucknall, Newark, Ravenshead.

High above, the storm gulls fly.

Wind turbines turning in the autumn sky.

Y IS FOR ‘A YEAR ON MANSFIELD ROAD: SUMMER’

Horsley Woodhouse, Heage and Shipley

Alfreton, Somercotes and Ripley.

Pinxton cranes gleam in the sun.

Mansfield, Chesterfield, A61.

Flowers on that lamp post. Cars go by.

Wind turbines turning in the blue sky.

Soft summer verges, hot and hazy.

Red poppy, blue cornflower, oxeye daisy.

Windows open, engines roar.

Skegby, Holllinwell, B6014.

In among the teasels, the finches fly.

Wind turbines turning in the summer sky.

G IS FOR GREEN FINGER’D VIRGIL

Here’s a poem written  over 2000 years old,  by Publius Virgilius Maro, otherwise known as the roman poet Virgil who was born 70 BC and died 19 BC.  It’s freely translated by M. E. Rose in ‘Green Finger’d Virgil’ from the Pickpocket Books series No. 9 ISBN 1873422105.

AN OLD MAN AND HIS GARDEN

I remember once, under the towers of Tarentum,

Between two yellow fields,

I saw an old man with a few acres of soil,

Unfit for ploughing, or vinyards,

Or even for grazing cattle,

Yet among the scrub he had planted a real garden.

Even when ice held fast robust little brooks, and broke the teeth of rocks,

Under his sheltering walls he had hyacinths blooming.

His the first roses in spring, the first apples in autumn.

He could transplant grown trees and have them fruiting.

There were pear trees, plum trees, lime trees, laurestines

And guarding them all a sheltering column of elms.

What a gardener – and what a bee-keeper too!

But I must get back to farming

And leave other poets to tell this kind of story.

 

 

O IS FOR OCTOBER AND ODE TO AUTUMN

The Wheel has tilted, and it is Autumn, my favourite  time of year.  In my garden, looking ragged yet rather lovely,  is Michaelmas Daisy, best appreciated on frosty mornings beneath the scarlet rowan berries,  papery seed heads of alium and lingering roses.

Aster Frikatii 'Monch' aka Michaelmas Daisy
Aster Frikatii ‘Monch’ is a particularly good varity of Michaelmas Daisy

October reminds me of Mr Wright.  He was the head teacher at Western School, my first primary school,  and much loved by children, staff and parents alike.  This was in the days of the West Riding County Council and long before the National Curriculum.  The freedom of those Far Off Times gave him the leeway to regale the whole school in Assembly with tales of his early days as a young teacher.    We sat cross legged on the parquet floor in the school hall, all 350 of us, shivering with delicious horror, as he told us about the Old Days: the red wiggly things in the drinking water before the school had mains water; the little girl whose finger got jammed in the heavy door to the Infants playground, and hung down attached by only a scrap of skin; the delights of bread and dripping – especially the crunchy bits – on a cold winters’ afternoon.  At this point, Mrs Pratt would look pointedly at her watch, annoyed, because he was eating into her maths lesson.  Crafty members of the ‘top’ class knew how to manipulate Mr Wright with the cunning request:  “Please sir, will you do ‘Ode to Autumn’?”  He didn’t need asking twice. He had this poem by heart, and I still remember his broad Yorkshire accent reciting Keats’ wonderful verse, oblivious of the irritated Mrs Pratt.  Mr Wright: we will not see your like again.

So in his memory, here is Ode to Autumn by John Keats.

Ode to Autumn

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness!
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;
To bend with apples the mossed cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’erbrimmed their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reaped furrow sound asleep,
Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers;
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cider-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too, –
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing, and now with treble soft
The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

B IS FOR BUTTERMILK MOON

BUTTERMILK MOON

Over the car park she catches my eye,

Buttermilk moon in an apricot sky.

Clearing the woods as she passes me by,

Buttermilk moon in a lavender sky.

Above the house tops she rises so high,

Buttermilk moon in an indigo sky.