I watched in wonder – lines for 55 years

I celebrated my 55th birthday recently….there is a lot of horror and awfulness in the world. I don’t necessarily want to avoid contemplating it, but sometimes it is good – if you are fortunate enough to do so – to stand back and simply drink in the magic. That, for me, is life really – as the late, great Lou Reed would have it “Magic and Loss”.

 

I WATCHED IN WONDER,  AS……

 

The clear blue sky was split by green leafed tree

I looked at the painting of the Cornish Belle that hangs in my office

We watched 2 crested grebe dipping,  and a swan on the nest, from the sanctuary of our hotel balcony

We flew down into Treorchy, apparently arriving by runway, the car a magic carpet, splitting the mildly misted darkness of a November night

Eric Bibb, troubadour extraordinaire, cool hatted and sharply suited, took to the stage where his godfather once sang, for the delight of miners abounding

Lowri Evans and her band set down tunes in the Land of Song

And Leonard Cohen “danced Cardiff to the end of love” on and on

Prior to that,  Bruce Springsteen rocked and swayed and sang, apparently never ending

I devoured my new Norman Rockwell birthday gift book and donned a brand new shirt, homage to the station wagon

The smoke rose frail and fronded above the Port Talbot factory smokestacks, curling upward, skylined cloud

Rainstorms sweetly savaged the still spring air

The dogs and I discovered a new path, abundant with bluebell and nettles, and a new bridge – uncrossable as yet, and “Fern Hill not accessible”, but the apology surely not necessary

The three of us were knocked out, side split by the Love Punch

And tonight it is the turn of Godzilla

I passed by London Bridge, Moorgate, Bank and Old Street, bento box lunch and a stroll in the sunshine

Not doing the Lambeth Walk, but been there now, Roots and Shoots and all

I watched Debbie Harry and Blondie – 40 years on

And saw the last ever episode of M.A.S.H. bleary eyed, watching Hawkeye

I went West once more

I drank coffee, black, sweet and strong – no palpitations

I made a bow to Sir John Betjeman’s statue

I took lunch in the Pleasure Garden, Bonnington Square,

Greece, Turkey, England, Wales – all duly represented there

We walked the woods, wreathed in wild garlic, lilac and columbine pinks

Saw a peacock – it’s tail fully fanned and luminescent – no cameras, but I am graced with a memory

I got a shy smile from a man begging

and earned a gap toothed grimace from a gypsy musician

I stayed at the new home of old friends and found fresh features in previously unexplored and ageing streets

Heard new music from Brazil and Canvey Island – smokey jazz and the dynamite explosion of rhythm and blues

The lime trees were resplendent and green gorged in the morning light

A smouldering sunset topped Dinas Head

My niece, still new and unexpected, gurgled and chimed over the Facetime pages and gave her newly homed father a smile, that unfolded in delighted stages

I began the journey through ‘Americanah’ already relishing these recommended pages

Derren Brown amazed, perplexed and transfixed us – maybe even sent us away mildly hypnotised

A new car growled and spat and bore us southwards

Sussex and Kent span by

I learned that maybe I liked Rudyard Kipling after all – Just So

A nuthatch joined our café table

Earlier a tortoise had blown in my ear  and then raced off, as much as that is possible

Work went on and I was lucky to love it

I read the emerging story, the fourth instalment unfolding, the characters captivating, the humour intact

A first rate novelist burnishing her form, died in the wool talent, as a matter of fact

Today I watched my breath unfurl in the mid May morning air

Some time ago we were transfixed by the 2 horses in the field behind, wildly, joyfully galloping, ground breaking and tail streaming bannered

The cawl was good, the craick too

As 55 years gone by were remarked, cards, presents and abundant good wishes

A life graced by good fortune, great friendships, by hugs and by kisses

I have lived these last years, silver ringed and golden gated

Enriched and involved, connected , sated

I celebrated, oh, how I celebrated.

 


May day morning (2009) for Carol Ann Duffy

May Day Morning – for Carol Ann Duffy

 

May Day morning, and a new laureate springs into being.

 

I walk in the woods, with the dogs, wind tailed and mischievous.

The leaf moulded track is

giddy with wild garlic, fat with bluebells, littered by birdsong.

 

As I walk, I think of poets, old and new,

and, of course, of you.

 

The dogs are frantic now, madly squirrel chasing, hunting imagined foes.

My mind turns to May Day,

the pagan carousel,

whirling around the Maypole,dizzily celebrating spring.

 

So much, so many, danced before.

And my mantra, my spring song

shifts to a chant of honour

for those I have loved, who

gather the cherry blossom

eternally, and elsewhere.

For them, this, a May Day prayer.

 

Back to the bursting, bubbling stream, Welsh water leaping and twisting

over moss topped rock,

The dogs, boldly swimming.

A dipper bobs a greeting, a woodland, May Day meeting.

 

2 old cottages lichened and retreating.

Slate cutters, shepherds.

Who might have danced there,

footsteps fleeting

Canopied in the cavelike greenwood?

I hope there were revels then,

As now, and hopefully will be, again.

 

The dogs, dragging now, homeward bound.

Not necessarily, their favourite command.

But I need to spring to you,

Leave behind the drifting bluebells,

the pink flushed forest carpet.

Home to you, intoxicated beyond all reason.

Home to you, my May Day Queen,

cherished, ever adored.

Across

beyond, this fabled season.