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.

what I know about grief [meditations #2]

I have grieved before
threaded it through my life
a blunt needle
that is pulled through
slowly slowly
so I know
that this is
a grief beyond any
most will have known;
for a way of life
uncertainty
fear
a world that has changed
and will emerge scarred,
for there will be a before
and an after.
I know too that grief
grows and swells like a balloon
before deflating unexpectedly
and shrinking lodged
against my ribcage
forever beating there
the tick-tock
of a clock
that will not be silenced.

morning meditation [meditations #1]

alone. The world
feels like a secret
private place
just me
and the thud of feet
on deserted roads
stumbling over uneven
paths, watching
as the sun
appears rising
over the hills
and abandoned clay pits.
I run through farms
still asleep
the cows in the field
tending their young
and think how lucky
I am to be alive.

And So Summer

and so summer has come and gone, and it feels like we barely
dipped our toes in before it is snatched away again as evenings

darken, a chill in the air and all the things we meant to
do, the adventures, the late evenings, the early mornings,
are all gone before we can say –

blackberries appear on hedgerows, plenty
Of crumble and back to school blues
new pencil case and pens, sharpened leads

as barefoot days, sea dips, fields of hay bales, neat in rows
freshly mown grass, sunshine laughter, reading lying on the grass
in dapple sunlight

dissolve

into memories

Offerings

you bring white
and blue, green
and red, orange
and pink
lids and straws
containers, rope
coffee cups
action figures
that I dump
on the shore
before retreating.

I return
for them hours later,
emptying the shoreline
swallowing them whole

offerings you do not want.

Nor do I.

The Way Back

I don’t long to go back, not really
for I know that I will not find
the footprints of childhood
still residing there
but only a ghost of what
was once, a faint thread
leading me back
to somewhere that no longer exists
and cannot be any more
for the world has kept spinning
and I have kept moving
through this life and it no longer
waits for me in the shadowy
wings but has been wiped away
and all that is left
is the ripples, ghost
of a place and time and people
that once was
and no longer is.

Crossing

here, the sand is soft underfoot, a far cry
from the pebbles of my childhood beaches,
where the shingle is stacked tall, a rocky bank to run down,
the stones hard, feet sinking,
wincing
squealing
from car to water, standing at the water’s edge, watching the waves
roll in and out.

here, the golden sand

stretches for miles, the water

blue and green, a world away from the grey, muddy water where once
we floated on our backs like starfish, the sun still warm at gone seven
and it felt like another place –

I am home now, here,
where I have crossed the bridge between two worlds
and where my wings are set free and the weight of the past has flown.

here, the sand is soft underfoot.

my feet sink down, rooting me here.

land meets sea meets river

land meets sea meets river
narrows to a thin snake,
penned in by sandbanks and creeks,
wriggling to the side, becoming
a pinpoint, nothing
quay quay jetty quay
docks jetties quay quay
in the mouth
a dance.

Names strange
to the tongue:
Polkerris, Polglaze, Polpey
pond, lake or well
Tregaminion, Trezare, Tregear
settlement or homestead
Penhale, Penpol, Penleath
hill or headland
Washing, Blackbottle, Killyvarder,
the sailors warning.

The Saint’s Way
meets the Coast Path
wriggling
along the changing coastline
disappearing
over the crease
of the folded page.

Sit With Me

Sit with me by the water’s edge
watch the world floating by
let the waves wash away
all those troubles and worries
talk to me about nothing much
just life and the colour
of the sky and sand
but please, just sit
with me, for a little while.