To all friends who are generous enough to follow this blog, THANK YOU.
I have created a few (though nothing like as many as in previous times) poems during 2020, but, being honest, the creative impulse has been subdued, and what I have written is, well, just too dark for now at least. But, awake at 4 a.m. today (the shortest day of the year) these thoughts, this offering, came to mind. As with all my poetry, I don’t lay great claims to it, but…it’s from the heart, and it is my gift for you.
Take care out there, stay safe and well. And here’s to better days ahead, for our world, for us all, in 2021.
Greetings and good fortune. Yours Aye!
A young writer sits at home
The first novel just a glimpse in the mind’s eye
The pen, flourished.
The paper, anticipating
A Jane Austen for today
Ready and waiting.
Elsewhere, a teenager moodily lifts the guitar,
Strums newly acquired chords,
Maps out phrases, tinkers with words
And a new ‘Blue’ emerges
Blowing the critics away.
As scales are lifted from blinkered eyes
Fresh minted, eager new leaders
(they’ve life experience of climate change)
No longer question
No longer deny
And radical policies
In a home some place
A 100 year old man
Father, grandfather and much more besides
Breathes out, smiles, gently sighs
Reviewing a long life
Well lived, hard won
And, despite great age,
Not yet done.
In a laboratory far away
A new graduate scientist explores
The microbe kaleidoscoped,
Micro-scoped miracles of life,
Her imagination slides, breaks free
Then, a pause
Before the new formula,
The world beating solution
In one country
A child reels and spins a home-made hoop
Around a sand dusted yard.
One young man, cocooned
Navigating his kayaked world,
With snow, ice, cold cracking floes
Seal whirled and polar beared
Life is fun
Though life is hard.
In my dreamed of world
Zealots lay down the gun, the sword
Share faith, philosophy, thought
With believer and non-believer alike
Accepting that seeing life differently
Ought not be seen
As something unacceptable
In a year gone by
We all shared
So much sadness
Such awful pain
Who really cared?
How does one cope?
In a room
A sometime poet
Somewhere there’s hope
(PHOTOS by Marc Mordey – the Penrallt Eagle, created by the blacksmiths
at Dinas, Pembrokeshire)
(The music, like the bird itself
Above the Dyfi Estuary,
and over the mangroves
fumbling their way to the
Isle de Palétuviere
as the pirogues drift down glassy water
and a pelican dominates the jetty)
a red kite
eddying the cloudless sky
imperious above our crop dusted fields
siskin, finch, wood pigeon
a thrush, jack hammering a snail
between two stone dogs
keeping their green mossed vigil
A young jackdaw
striking a cormorant pose
bewitched by the chimney
beating time on the ridge tiles
(It’s hot, this year)
There are swallows skimming
and Amazons at sail in the bay
muted blue below
(and the harp still swoons
and the kora
flying fingered fishing line
rocks a gentle rhythm
whilst I am at sea
in a pyjama striped hammock)
Blue tits, dipping for water
in the stone bird bath
that celebrates a golden grand-parented wedding
of 50 years ago
There are lilies blooming
amidst the dying embers of foxglove
and jasmine perfume teasing
romping in a green gaged balloon of bush
St John’s Wort in full throttle
And pink flushed, sunset resplendent
oliander, a whisper of Greece
and the road to Milapotamos
that we took
so long ago
(and the opsrey, Dinas, fledges
takes fleeting, freewheeling flight
and feels Wales on its wings
instinct, deep chested and hidden
fat flowing river
sea hawk’s delight)
The honeysuckle is draped
whilst the weather vane is stilled
the umbrella stifled with gaffer tape mends
blowing the wind southerly
to lighten the atmosphere.
(but, no fear
for the music still plays,
swaying, stirring, evoking
and the Land of Song beyond
This poem came on the 5th May 2017. It is in honour of, and with high regard for, the lives of Ingrid Beazley, Rosemary Beazley and Brenda Joughin.
May they rest well. Deservedly so.
The Three Women.
Maisie and I tumbled and blew up the mountain.
Carningli, grumbling in the wind blown heat.
And I laid three bunches of posies from Penrallt
At the cairn, where others too are remembered,
A horse shoe, soil from Sicily and the USA,
A small plastic goat,
Set the flowers down amidst the small rocks
As crows swept across, in shrouded flight
Jinxing their way towards Morfa Head,
the sea below them
indigo saltwater blue,
silver trailed, swirling,
dancing ever towards the Westerling night.
today, your lives we celebrated.
You are resting, sleeping, beyond age and now,
by life’s sometime trials,
But you were :
Workers, mothers, sometimes warriors,
Creators, comforters, wives and wise,
lynch pins of this vexing world,
in your own,
The flowers are flags, splashes of colour to lighten our darkened world,
Honouring you lives, your loves,
the canvasses on which you so vividly painted,
across the years, the months,
We turn away now.
This May afternoon is muted, hushed.
Thrift, gorse, bracken splashed.
Splintered with sunlight.
Quietened by your passing
and by our loss of choices.
We, your family,
And yet, perhaps,
now and then,
we will hear your voices,
catch your cries of delight.
on the hot breathed breeze.
(the view from Carningli. Newport Bay Pembrokeshire. photo by MM)
My angels were singing : a poem for St David’s Day
This poem was conceived over a a few spring like days, during February 2008 – out walking the dogs, watching the birds, and thinking of those who have died, who do – I believe – watch over us.
Nearly 10 years on, I am still fortunate indeed to live and love in a most beautiful part of Wales, and, in my opinion, one of the loveliest places in the world. This is, I reckon, my ‘go to’ poem!
I stood near the house
where Grace once lived,
My angels were singing.
I watched as birds
and daffodils dived.
My angels were singing.
It’s spring and the sun
bursts fat and alive.
And my angels were singing.
Old crow, silhouetted against Carningli rock,
purple shadowed on blackened burnt bracken,
gorse and heather reeling :
the after shock.
But my angels were singing, still.
As seagulls wheeled across the bay,
catching sea breezes,
tumbling at will.
The Irish Sea lies beneath
becalmed and silvered blue,
and my angels were singing.
Wales’ favourite saint remembered
the new season breaks forth, springing,
flowers dancing, church bells – ringing.
His angels – singing.
Seasons, people, live and die,
here and now is for the living.
But remember those you love or loved –
And let your angels be singing.
Let your angels be singing.
Dydd Gŵyl Dewi hapus
Phoebe, the dog star.
(i) The joy of running.
A bolt from the blue,
A golden arrow streaking , skirting Newport bay
Effortlessly matching sand sail and surf.
A pimple, possibly canine, on the farthest horizon
was enough to take you away,
bullet running, wide pawed dancing.
Find the fiercest dog you could – and make it chase you!
You and Maisie rising and falling like dolphins
in the meadow sweet, long grass of summer.
In Wiltshire woods the intoxicating frustration of putting up deer,
glad running into the copses,
thundering through bramble and bracken,
off, into the dim distance.
Leaving us with the panicky emptiness of the long wait.
half an hour, maybe more,
then you would appear, purple tongue, seemingly a mile long,
hawking for breath, flat out on the green downs.
(ii) A wolf god.
Eyes, soul pooled,
Anput, Egyptian dog princess,
Pharaoh dog, friend to Anubis.
strong willed and sublime.
(iii) The ghost dog.
Nothing here of your decline,
just the final, dreadful, sting.
Hot teared night, tumbling on your velvet snout.
Earth drenched, she sleeps, soft blanketed.
A grave peppered with violas and first daffodils.
Now, a ghost dog walking with us.
Through Pengelly woods, wintered, mulched and mudded.
Teifi Lakes spiced with snow.
The estuary, silvered, flat calm and kind.
The pine forest near Lampeter, muffled.
Is that you?
A shivering movement amidst the trees.
A backwards glance, somehow you fill the space.
A muted howl of greeting, a murmur on the breeze?
We too will be scattered skywards,
dark skies and moonbeams,
And, out there,
awaits our Sirius,
our dog star.
Phoebe was a lurcher, saluki, greyhound cross. A Battersea Cats and Dogs rescue hound. A huge character, acknowledged as a beauty by pretty much everyone she met. She was really quite regal, did not offer her affection lightly, and had a wicked sense of humour and mischief. A dog, yes, but so very much more. She lifted and lightened our lives for some 15 years or so, and we miss her terribly.
This poem is the best I can do. 7/2/17.
It has been said, “time heals all wounds.” I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone.
Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy.
Phoebe and Maisie, Pengelly Woods, Pembrokeshire.
A buzzard floats,
a feather dusted flight,
mottled by the, ever sweet surprise,
the first fingered, soft whispered flush
of Pembrokeshire sunrise.
Dinas Head, capped in mid morning,
nettle nectared light,
green field and wind worsened hedgerows,
apparently lanced by purple tongued shadows.
Later, Berry Hill cows
cotton wool and soot splashed skins
soaked in castle bound, church wardened
gravestone greyed, flagstone mossed
autumn crazed sunshine.
a late blackberry,bruised and fat
falls, a tiny world of globes,
fruitful, untroubled as
motes of dust sparkle
amidst the faltering strobes,
the cautioning, duskling cackle
of Canadian Geese,
gradually muted, as the sky fades,
souped and stilled,
Starlight sponged on the ink blacked,
split by Strumble headed
lighthouse telescoped beams.
As we sleep, kaleidoscoped and vivid,
in the land of Westerly illuminated dreams.
lovely photos and a nice piece from Diana – we had a brilliant evening, a richness and diversity of poets , wonderful music from Lowri Evans and Lee Mason, delicious crepes provided by Beatrice of Ffwrn (and served – with great aplomb – by Helen Carey) ….think we will return!!
The Christmas Gift : with thanks and holiday greetings to everyone who has done me the honour of following this blog.Posted: December 20, 2013
The season of storms is upon us,
but a recent, magical day,
gave us the gift of
the estuary, stilled and low sunlight warmed,
the plumped, moss banked waters, becalmed.
I look up at our house
the farm nestling on the hill, where
your window is soft lit
and the fire burns within,
and I am so very fortunate to be
glad homed and hearthed,
Yet in Syria the snow is falling,
refugees flee, no journey’s end,
troubled children cry in the Philipinnes
desolation and ruin beckon in South Sudan,
here, our homeless shiver as sleet descends
no comfort at fireside,
no family, few friends.
On the estuary, the oyster catchers carol and trill,
as the sanderlings stuttered seaside run
the breeze unfettered, unzipped, undone,
whilst the cry of the gulls, mourns and chides
and the white lipped tide tumbles, salt water sprayed and spun,
open mouthed for the gathering chill.
And in the early hours,
by now, rain and wind maddened,
on my radio as I lie
enveloped in the duveted darkness
as the World is Served by the BBC
I learn that, in Yemen
young girls find themselves sold as child brides
no gifts to share,
precious little charity?
But I am loved, cosseted and cared for
neither cavalier nor complacent, this much I know
but grateful, sometimes almost guilty
that life, the world should spare me so.
And so, a few days before Christmas,
I turned for home,
such a very precious phrase.
And, if I had a wish for these
and future days,
and could share it with the mountain’s Saint,
Brynnach, lingering – perhaps – above.
I would ask this Christmas Gift,
for the world, love,
there must be love.
This was written 6 years ago now, but I think ( and hope) it still has resonance. Greetings and good fortune ahead.
Crowns the bay
As I stare hard
On this perfect summer’s day
At the blue-green world
Yawning beneath me.
Gasping to the top
I clasp at stone
And lay a new gift –
A blessing, ordered to complement
My bent –pin wishing well thoughts –
Atop the gathering cairn.
My legs construed
To return me to you
And your melon scented kisses.
You – the jewel
In my Carningli crown.
Italy is – or, Carpe (enjoy) Capena – a poem reflecting our recent holiday in Capena,near Rome (www.casacapena.com) Helen researched for her upcoming WW2 novel and I, well I tried to capture the spirit of the visit, including the huge contrast of ancient and modern. Hope you like it.Posted: April 15, 2013
Sunlight slicing the morning apartment
Gracing the piazza too,
Streaming over the crimson and cream banners.
Caressing cappuccino coffee cups,
And lighting the way for the young baristas to be
Who are hawking cups of rosemary water,
Whilst bric a brac trembles in the spring wind.
It’s Antonella’s pasta with fennel
And basking in her salted, amber glowing cellar,
Graced by Roberto’s gentle, courteous conversation
It’s Crodino, Americano, cat motifs, cornettos,
And Enrica’s charming welcome.
It is you and I dozing alongside the Tiber
As it flows greenly by,
A chestnut cob rolling in a dust bath
Amidst the sylvan spring countryside.
Smoke whisping through the olive groves,
And a farmer raking fresh mown grass.
It is forcing ourselves up vertical cobbled streets.
Sipping lemon soda on a tiny terrace.
Being amazed at the crazed musings and meandering
Of medieval planning.
A Moroccan lamp catching the sunlight
Above a dusty wood bandaged and padlocked door.
Madonnas and St Francis sitting serenely in relief
Above ancient archways.
And it is pistachios purchased in the lee of history.
Italy is lakes and splendour
Fettuccine and ravioli consumed
High above the water,
Local white wine honeyed and soft.
The Italian Airforce museum, and
Planes hurled aloft.
It is gambling with hectic traffic in Tivoli.
The mossed water delights of the Villa d’Este,
Intense, green chiselled pleasure gardens.
A bride, beside the Cypress pencilled skyline.
Wild cyclamen, purple flag irises,
Gargoyles, monumental architecture,
Dwarfing statues and confusing the gods.
It is Hadrian’s Villa
The insistent clamour of modernity,
The silenced weight of the ages,
Muffling the shadow stained ruins.
Pierced by the delight of children, untroubled by time,
Yet to become their own slight slice of history.
The might of erstwhile empire
Captured by omnipresent electronic aids.
A terrapin floating serenely in the great pool
No carping about the past there.
Italy is an ice cream diet.
Being woken by words at 5 in the morning,
Grappa fuelled brain stumbling.
An early evening promenade,
A carousel in the park,
Evening’s silky silence, punctuated by footballing children
The gossip and smoke of their elders.
The riot of oranges, artichokes, tomatoes
Pastries, flatbreads, pizza slices and olives.
Wine stained plastic bottles
Peroni filled shelves.
Hustling bustling restaurants,
And a woman gently selling Chinese novelties.
The curling call of the hoopoe,
Pining in Farnese woodland.
The sonorous symphony of church bells,
And the threading road
That laces up to the Palazzo Farnese,
Cluttered and steeped with mourners,
Gathered, sombre coated and 10 rows thick
Though not for that, once great family,
Who left us frescoes and blue gold maps of the world –
The impressions of exploration –
The vulgarity of GPS yet to be discovered.
It’s you in new Ray Bans,
Gracing my movie,
As only you know how,
La Dolce Vita.
It’s life, vigour, the weight of history
For this one week
It’s the street where we live
Pot planted and balconied,
Lamplit and almond blossomed,
Monastic, mosaiced and modern.
It’s the joy of today,
Of spring and of sunshine
Balanced, cushioned and unclouded.
Italy is – a holiday.
Find out more about the wonderful novels of Helen Carey – http://www.helencareybooks.co.uk