In Kythera 2019. For Helen Carey.

We met on the Greek island of Kythera ( pictured above) in June 2000, and returned, for the first time in 14 years, this June. It was magical when we met, and it (all) still is. On the same trip we met Hera, but that’s another story, maybe another poem. But for now, this is for Helen, who has my heart.

How did two decades

All but a year,

Slip by?

Filio laughed and hugged us, even cried,

The bamboo drifted in the soft breezed warmth

You and I, beside.

The taverna table laid up for two

Where once I waited

And the taxi ( thankfully)

never arrived, instead,

There was you.

As the wild thyme keened the air,

The kestrel plummeted

Geese hissed in a dust bowled olive grove

and the first cicadas of the summer began to drum.

Bees, drunk hummed on myrtle sipped nectar

Seawards spiralled

The blue and yellow collided

Over Kapsali mountainside.

Near Mitata, the church tower split, stricken,

We walked a new path

Crunched ancient shells underfoot

Stressed from the strains of bygone volcanoes

Tiny flowers grasped life from thin soil

A goat danced, windwarded.

How graceful you were

As we spanned the unknown

Having walked the Englishman’s Bridge

Revisited a love story

Writ large.

On the island where love erupted,

Bloomed, prospered, sun soaked

No longer alone.

Mediterranean delight,

Grecian pleasure.

We wrapped it tight,

Flew north,

Made it home.

Now, needs must

That I guard the treasure.


Strumble Head

At Strumble Head

 

A half hour stolen from the day, so

I came to Strumble Head.

The sea, blue grey rolling hillocks.

An oyster catchers cry splitting the bay.

Foxgloves, daisies, sky blue candy tufts,

and a cormorant, jet streaming the billows.

 

The intermittent mirrored wink of the lighthouse

gleaming, sun streaming.

Always, the inner gasp as a breaking wave

behoves a porpoise – or impossibly not.

Simply in my dolphin dreams?

Ever, the reverberating of the gulls,

persistent squalls, mews, occasional screams.

 

Outside this bubble, a world becalmed

The noise, the mighty chaos and upheaval,

and the smaller fuss, went on.

In Germany, a man, armed

Took a fatal spree, a cinema shooting run.

A composer died, aged one hundred.

Refugees lay, exposed in 50 degrees of heat,

unhindered by aid, a blanket between seven,

no tents, no water, no food.

As the waves primped and plumed,

I wondered

how it is that,

across this planet of ours

the odds remained:

Uneven.

 

As people on our islands voted

Again, again, again…

My mind was tumbling, Strumble bound

To past walks with you, picnics and dogs.

A curious seal, whiskered and severe

Head bobbed brightly in a cove we know.

The coast path meandered, stumbled.

Lost, then found.

 

Then, returned to my small reality,

albeit cage dragged and reluctantly.

My heart and soul ablaze, it’s true.

For Strumble, Penrallt and so much else besides.

Gifted, treasured,enormity

this sea bound, cliff scaped endless beauty.

The odds are stacked,

my card marked…

My reward:

From, my ever treasured you.

 

This poem was written on the day of the UK Referendum (aka Independence Day – ha, the irony!) I shall continue to seek refuge in the beauty of landscape, environment and the unconquerable nature of Nature itself. And, am grateful to all – most especially HB, for this was written expressly for you – who have spoiled me with love and affection. 

I am indeed, a most fortunate man.

 

 

 

 

 


For HB – a small poem about harvest ( Don’t ever doubt it)

I see you, in my mind’s eye,

as the rail skimming miles slide by.

You are peeling apples

in our kitchen,

two ageing, worsted cook books,

flour dusted, unflustered

by your side.

Chunking, slicing, chutney dicing.

Slooshing, whooshing, liquid reducing.

And that, which cannot be denied?

You’re the jam, the jelly roll, adoration preserved.

The unadulterated, unreserved,

honeyed, sugar coated,

butter bested.

The core – I’m sure,

and yet, by me : surely undeserved?

The bowl of cherries and more.

Ever the apple of my eye.May and June 2015 020


Always Rosemary – a poem for my mother in law

This poem is written for and dedicated to my mother in law, Rosemary, who died in early May of 2015. Rosemary had Alzheimer’s, and the purpose of this poem is to celebrate and to admire the person – I have been taught (by example) ; see the person, not the age or this illness. Rosemary was a beautiful woman and I am glad to have known her.

Always  Rosemary

Sleeping now.

May your blanket be woven of spring time threads,

and flamespun from the azalea outside your window,

wild garlic fattening the woodland paths,

your fields, bested by bluebells,

Welsh oak, wild cherry, the rising sound

of saplings, keening in the breeze.

The crushed camelia heads that cushion the verge

below the trees

that you loved to see

as we were Fishguard, ferry bound.

Red petals gracing too, the secret garden,

where, a few snatched weeks ago,

we picked for you

Derek’s daffodils,

lingering strong and plump,

golden on your windowsill.

Sea thrift and campion binding the two Heads,

Dinas and Morfa dipping Westwards,

unwittingly majestic and yet, now, forlorn.

No longer held in your view.

Yet you loved to look out over these landmarks,

contemplating, ruminating,

reflecting perhaps,

on kinder, gentler days,

as you stared across the Bay

sometime sea shimmered,

at others, murk misted

and

“Can’t see Dinas Head’, you’d say.

But cliffs and headlands prevail,

rock steady,

as you well knew,

through older age and illness,

stoically surviving,

cup of tea reviving,

discomfort, trauma,

bravely borne.

Ages slipped by, unwittingly,

as such they do,

and gradually,

and I am sure,

unwillingly

you gathered your very self in,

breathed deep,

withdrew.

Harder to distinguish then

your hopes, your fears,

the altered state

the change of mind.

Some things are, it seems,

beyond the ken

of us, the ones to remain behind.

Left, bereft,

to nurse your memory,

there must be laughter,

there will be tears.

But for all that changed,

across these widowed years,

you remained

a smile,

a crossword clue determined

a flash of will.

And of this I am,

ever certain,

always Rosemary,

somewhere,

it might seem to be

adrift,

yet fixed,

blossoming still.

Resting now,

sure enough and

ready to greet us

from

behind the ethereal, floating curtain.

Marc Mordey

May 2015anniversary pictures 022


Pembrokeshire – the first few days of February 2015

Hush!

The moon, a fat yellow cheese,

gobbles the duskling skyline above Morfa Head.

Later, silver tongued and stealthy

it lights the path for a night time wander

as three dogs and I

ghost along the lanes

badgered, foxed, rabbit worn, and,

turning for home and the deep bliss of the warm bed,

far out on the horizon

a ships light splits sea from sky

and hangs, suspended and watchful.

Yesterday

grey rocks grinned upon the hillsides

spiked, toothsome,

scarring the mountain, snow bleached and soft pillowed.

Today, we walked below Carningli

warmed by thin winter sun

though the wind, when able,

did not hesitate to cut a cruel song,

the grass frost blasted and resentful.

Hush!

A horse nickered,

dogs cavorted and capered,

occasionally raising a sceptical ear to the distant cries of long lost cousins.

Jet planes droned above

buzzing the sea shadowed sky.

Across the valley,

a ragged stone wall crooked a finger,

beckoning, cajoling

“walk on, follow me”.

The hills, plumped and greened,

sun plumed, farm groomed,

sweet air steamed,

all, carelessly platformed

nature framed,

snapshot and scattered

Pembrokeshire, adrift,

ship shaped and sand blasted,

ever kind

to my mind’s eye.

5/2/15


How I wish – A London, Christmas love song.

Dedicated to Jules and Bea (Beazley) for their wedding, 6th December, 2014. May all your wishes come true.

How I wish

You were with me now,

On this west bound train.

Your head nestled on my scarf shrouded shoulder, 

As hills, estuary and city-scapes slide by.

Seeing occasional bouldered tops, and

Winter scarred fields, with 

Cows and sheep reddened in December, shadow sharpened sunlight.

The train roars by, and 

Crows scatter, shocked but unruffled.

And the tinnyness  of maddening music

Moleing in someone’s headphones

Is suddenly stifled.

 

How I wish I was with you 

In Oxford Circus sunshine.

Salvation Army songed,

Santa thronged

Peacock motif light strung 

And subdued Swiss shopped.

Walking wok wards 

Or sipping our piping hot coffee 

In the Photographers Gallery. 

After viewing wind chilled,

Snowbound and desolate Finnished landscapes. 

The portraiture of Martina Lindqvist,

Startling and sublime;

Living and loving, on

best borrowed, London time. 

 

How I wish I was with you in an Uber car,

Being teased and cosseted all in one go.

The South Circular,

Wedding party bound and perilous slow.

The paper lights 

Small globes in a sun boundaried marquee.

The confetti, floating ghost petalled toward the uneven floor.

The rusted statues gaping at a glitter of guests,

Speeches, stumbles, extracts and jests,

Celebrating this days marriage –

And other such states of union. 

Past, present, the family bond,

Wherein New Zealand Eritrea, South Africa

Wales and well beyond,

Played their part, 

In sumptuously stated affairs of the heart.

I’m here, and the glass raised is in genuine spirit, but 

In my mind I’m on a Lizard Mountain

Eagle crested 

Canadian roof topped once more.

And then 

As now,

My word is forged, feather breathed,

To cherish, to adore. 

 

How I wish I could be with you,

Now

And evermore. 

  

 


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.

CAPENA 2013 034CAPENA 2013 029

Italy is:

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,
Kingfishers calling,
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,
Juxtaposing
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
Twisting, tumbling.
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.

Italy is:

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,
Now extinct,
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,
Dreaming downstairs.
Giving me,
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
Carpe Capena
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