The Seasons

Winter’s cloak is thick and heavy, lined
with fur and folds like a duvet.

Winter is an old man, bent
in two, an aching back and creaking knees,

a white beard laced with ice
skin that wrinkles around his eyes.

Spring’s cloak is lighter, the material
skipping and flowing it drips over the ground

like a gentle stream, she slips
and jumps, light on the ground, fingers

soft and delicate. Her hair is silver
and her laugh gentle and kind.

Summer is a slippery being, her cloak
nearly invisible as she slips

it on, it reflects the light
shimmering as it glides over the ground.

She is hard to catch and impossible
to see, she does not hang around long,

and so autumn is glad to pull his cloak
back on and walk out into the world

a smile on his face. His cloak
is not heavy but it is warm,

and secure on his shoulders
as he strides out into the world.

I go [meditations #11]

I go to the mountains
to rivers and the sea
to the lonely moors
and the marshes

I go to the hills
to be alone
to find something
although I don’t know
what I’m looking for

I go to the water
to see myself
a reflection
looking back

to tell myself
that I am free
and that the world
is vaster than I

will ever know
and I feel alive
dwarfed by the light
of the land

I go to find.

we fly [meditations #10]

We long to be free, to be the masters
of our doing, to beat our own wings
against the blue skies
and the stormy ones too.

Trapped, imprisoned by these four
walls, we rage and wait, wait
although we don’t know what for
And when it’s granted we hesitate

wings outstretched against the sun
reluctant to claim something
longed for and dreamed of.
But we will fly again

we will soar against the blue
skies and fall too, as if
our wings never stopped moving
And our feet never touched the ground.

the places we go [meditations #8]

There are places that I visit
in my mind, places that aren’t
even there anymore, but still I
go there, when I can.

In the memories, I am a child
again, running through the grass
my feet bare, my hair a tangled
mess and the sun warm on my face.

It is a carefree place to be,
and if I could turn and walk
back there now, perhaps I would
so that I could put the world

on pause for a little longer
and tread where the grass
never goes brown, where cross
words are never spoken,

and where I can savour
the freedom of a child
with nowhere to go,
free from worries and fears.

while we’ve been gone [meditations #7]

The sight of the silage bales
makes me stop in my tracks.
I’m startled to see them,
and unbidden, my eyes well.

Time marches on, nature
continues to walk it’s well
trodden course even if we are
forced to stand still for

a little while, something
that we’re not used to doing.
The seasons have changed
while we’ve been stood still,

waiting for something to pass
that we can’t understand
or control, like we can’t control
the rise and fall of the ocean

or the cooling and warming
of the days, which have grown
longer, the sun setting later,
while we’ve been gone.

While we’ve been away, something
continues regardless of how
we feel, a reminder that we are
only passing through this place a while.

fantasy meal [meditations #6]

For starters, we’ll have freshly
sliced tomatoes, picked straight
from the vines in the greenhouse,
that homegrown smell lingering on
their skin. We’ll mix them with
basil and oil, a hint of garlic
on lightly toasted bread.

For mains, we’ll have it outside,
under the parasol, a warm summer,
our feet bare, towels wrapped around
our shoulders, as we eat piping hot
lasagne, garlic butter dripping down
our fingers and the adults talking.

Pudding will be bowls of the freshest
strawberries, laced with sugar,
dolloped with cream, which we’ll inhale
as if it’s barely there. Then we’ll disperse
from the table, our bellies full, our hunger
satisfied, longing to get on and play.

Later, perhaps, in years to come,
we’ll wish that we lingered a little longer.
But then, perhaps, the best memories
are the ones that it’s hard to see.

longing [meditations #5]

I miss the feel of the sand
underneath my feet, the sound
of the waves gently nudging
the shoreline, the repetitive
motion, going in and out,
soothing to my soul.

I long to leave my footprints
fading in the sand, abandon
my shoes far away from shore
and forget about the outside
world. To feel the power of
the ocean as it tugs at my skin

and pulls me along, as I float
in the water, free and whole again.
For salt to dry on my skin
and hair, leaving traces
behind so that it can always be found.

bird watching [meditations #4]

I am watching the birds from my bedroom window,
trying to learn the names of the ones that keep
landing in the garden. There is a symphony of noise,
a nest under the roof, just above the window.

They sing in the morning, and in the evening sun,
I sit and listen, their joy cheering me too.
I learn their names – house sparrows, distinctive
with their grey and brown and black markings.

They begin to feel like family and I glare at
the crow who has begun to land on the fence,
edging closer, his eye on the nest, and the ginger
cat too who appears on my window ledge.

There’s the blackbirds too, and the wrens, who
appear after the rain searching in the wet grass
for food and who pilfer twigs from the flower beds
and carry them away, business as usual while we slow.

I spot the starlings too, their feathers sparkling
in the sunlight, and later I see them swoop and rise
again, a mighty formation glittering against the pale
blue skies, appearing day after day like clockwork.

I see a goldfinch, with red on it’s face, yellow
on it’s tail, perching on a washing line,
and when it’s gone I wonder if I imagined it
as I don’t see it again just remember the flash of gold.

There’s the gulls and the crows, the magpies, one for sorrow,
two for joy, who seem to skid about the roof, as if they
can’t find their balance, like young lambs learning
to walk. They sit watch, on roof tops, overseers of the world.

The house sparrows swoop past my window, and dive
into their nest and I am comforted by the sound
of their chirping through the open window, reminding
me that life carries on even when everything has stopped.

a walk through memory [meditations #3]

I leave the car park and walk inland,
through a farmyard where life never
stops and across fields, where I spy
dog walkers in the distance. I enter
the woods and wind down steep, curling
paths, fallen leaves and twigs underfoot.

The woods are my favourite place
to be when the floor is carpeted
with bluebells, and the air filled
with wild garlic. I wish that I
could bottle the smell and save it
for when I need it most.

I leave the woods and stand
on the cliffs, the path winding away
along the coast, watching the sea breaking
on the exposed and unforgiving rocks below.
wind licks my face and I close my eyes,
feeling free. This is where I belong.

The path takes me up and down along
crumbling cliffs, across worn paths
until I emerge at my final destination,
a tiny cove, where shingle and sand
cover the beach, mixed with seaweed
and stones that I pick up to skim.

I roll up my trousers, leave shoes and socks
on rocks and walk down to the water’s edge
where the clear, gentle water laps
over my feet. It sends a shiver of delight
through me. It’s still cold, but I don’t mind.
Eventually, feet red, I extract them and dry
off, the spring sunshine warm on my bare skin.

I return from my reminiscences, startled to find
that I am still sat in my chair, the same four
walls around me. I long to return, although I am
not sure when that will be. Instead, I must hold
tight to my memory, dreaming of the day when I
will feel sand underfoot again and see the ocean.