Rewarded by dolphins (the song of the 39 year old). Dedicated to Ida Heywood.

rewarded by dolphins coverI recently rediscovered a booklet/pamphlet of poems collated for me by great friends at ROCC, a charity I worked for in the 1990’s. Having had a read through there are some here that I like – maybe some revisions to be made, and some, all, resonate with the past….but I fancied sharing a few of them. Hope that you will like them. And here’s to us all – past, present and future.

This poem is dedicated to the memory of a dear friend of my mum and I, the inimitable Ida. I was returning from Ireland, having spent a few days with them both, when this was written.

Rewarded by dolphins – written on my 38th birthday, on the ferry from Rosslaire to Fishguard.

 

And what does a birthday bring?

A child being sick, before we leave the harbour,

making my breakfast, somewhat uneasy!

A memory of Ireland,

old places, old faces,

ice cream and cold Guinness,

and a beach, thick with shells,

and drummed by racing horses  –

beyond the house where Jacky stayed,

after they stole her Jack away.

 

And what does a birthday bring?

Cold hands in a strong wind,

and seabirds coasting the waves.

And I’ve a new, navy colour hat.

And five, yes five dolphins breaking out of the blue,

leaping, skimming, arching

and spelling out something new to come.

 

And I?

I am rewarded by dolphins.


The Three Women

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,

Fragments, incomplete.

 

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.

 

Three women,

today, your lives we celebrated.

You are resting, sleeping, beyond age and now,

by life’s sometime trials,

untainted.

 

But you were :

Workers, mothers, sometimes warriors,

Creators, comforters, wives and wise,

lynch pins of this vexing world,

in your own,

differing ways.

 

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,

the  weeks

the days.

 

We turn away now.

Homewards bound.

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,

your friends,

your devotees.

 

And yet, perhaps,

now and then,

we will hear your voices,

enraptured, kaleidoscoped,

catch your cries of delight.

Lingering still

on the hot breathed breeze.

 

 

 

 


My angels were singing

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(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 –

do try.

And let your angels be singing.

Let your angels be singing.

Dydd Gŵyl Dewi hapus


The Dog Star

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For

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,

kohl lined.

Anput, Egyptian dog princess,

Pharaoh dog, friend to Anubis.

Easy humoured,

curious,

strong willed and sublime.

Inscrutable, imperious,

Ready beauty,

indisputable.

 

(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?

 

(iv) Someday.

 

We too will be scattered skywards,

dark skies and moonbeams,

flung afar.

And, out there,

somewhere,

awaits our Sirius,

burning bright.

Phoebe,

ever

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. 

 

Post Script.

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.

Dogs in woods

 


Remembrance Sunday

2015-flowers-family-friends-018Remembrance Sunday.

What would you have had us remember?

As you mustered in the trenches,

Around the gun emplacements.

As you hopped into the cockpit

And flung yourself skywards,

Or plumbed the depths

Submerged and submarined?

Should we remember your bravery?

Your mockery? Your cynicism in the face of duty?

Your gut wrenching anxiety,

Your fear, your mortal pain,

As you were killed and wounded,

Again and again and again?

 

Do the flags, the parades,

The preachers, the cavalcades,

Act as sufficient homage?

Or would peace, justice, equality

Be more deserving of your patronage?

 

But whichever,

It is true.

We must continue,

To remember you.


The whispering telephone (of Japan)

 

 

A ‘Messages poem’ – for UK National Poetry Day 7th October 2016

I recently listened to a brilliant and very moving radio documentary on the (ever fantastic) ‘This American Life’ (the link is below) about a Japanese man who has set up a defunct telephone booth, complete with disconnected telephone, in his garden. Because? He wanted to talk with his deceased cousin.

Over the last 5 years, since the tsunami of March 2011, many people have come to use his telephone booth to ‘call up’ their dead loved ones. The programme referred to relates some of the conversations and it is very beautiful if harrowing, to hear them. The second part of the show records the meeting between two, estranged, brothers – both in their 80’s. If you have an hour to spare, this is recommended radio delight!

I guess the programme is all about our need to talk with those we cherish – and yet, all too often, we are unable or unwilling to do so.

So….

The whispering telephone (of Japan)

My cousin left me, drifted away.

A black hearted wave, towering 30 feet and more above

smashed, gorged, demolished

those we love.

The telephone booth rests

goose green in a flowered meadow.

People come.

Brothers, lovers, wives and sons

grandparents, daughters.

families, groups,

sometimes, one by one.

The messages are often short,

seemingly mundane,

occasionally, they could be misconstrued

as curt.

Some are breathless, others weep,

a few try to explain

what was it that

the ink souled deep

stole away – and what now remains?

Messages of love :

” Are you eating well?”

“Come home – I will build you a house.”

“I’m in seventh grade now grandfather.”

“Why did you die?”

“Will this sadness ever stop?”

Calling….

The fingers tremble, hover, hesitate

before the ratcheted dial is turned,

an old fashioned sound

troubles the ether.

There is love here, bravery too.

And, in Japan,

the world over

we talk, we whisper, into lineless depths.

“Please.

Please.

Pick up.”

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Here is the link to ‘This American Life’ http://audio.thisamericanlife.org/widget/widget.min.js

 


In the Quaker Garden

For H B-C-M!

 

In the Quaker Garden

A heron takes stately flight.

A moorhen ducks in bobbing fright.

A helicopter overhead does not,

Excite

 

 

There’s a Chinese garden,

Red fenced

And a rufous tiled boat house to peer in.

Abundant hostas, and

A swing.

Grassland walks and woodland piles.

Meadowsweet, a watering can waterfall.

Holly green groves.

Flowers to thrill.

A cooling compost overspill.

And today,

The clouds frown and the sun,

Smiles.

And I’m enjoying the intermittent silent sweeps

And the bolting blue of a kingfishers

Electric light.

 

 

But here’s the thing.

The Quaker planting is a joy

Yet you are ever,

My garden of

Delight

 

to celebrate 4/8/2016 – ten glorious years!