AUTUMN DARKNESS

 

Peeling away flames of a summer

sun. Falling to the ground

where light refuses to spend

any more time.

 

Darkness is sticking to the sky

pendulous stars hang echoes

of sunlight. The trees are thinning

 

waxing away until their words

that have been spoken return

speechless and forgotten winds

 

 

NUTTY

 

Blue and orange jumper, sunset and sky

nut breaking beak, anvil edged

you catapult back and too

 

collecting brown nuggets of gold.

The cannon shot out of the ivy

scaring away the red breasts and

 

tits and finches. That bandit stripe across

your eyes, a thief of the highway.

Scaling a tree downwards, released from flight.

 

You look free but know you’re not.

The boundaries of life affect us all.

Nut-thief! Nut-snatch! Nut-catch!

 

Are on a rung higher than most

finches and tits trail in your feathered strokes.

You are able to put your name down first.

 

That pebble grey back and watered down

flame chest. Lightens my morning when the

feeders are full and you prangle your mouth.

 

 

GOLDENEYE

 

There was nothing to be seen

as the torchlight scratched

at the darkness. I was rubbing

away the night as best I could.

 

The trees had melted and an owl,

like a squeaky hinge, called into

the black pit. I walked with the world

being felt.

 

Then in the distance a glow

like a cigarette in the hand of a walker.

My torch had picked it up, found

it in the well of night. It watched me

get closer.

 

But then moved away.

My torch wanted to expose,

but the eye soaked deeper into the skin,

leaving me to wonder, wander, sigh.

 

 

THE JACKDAWS SETTLE

 

I stand nearby watching

wondering what they’re meant to be.

 

The jackdaws are settling

into the trees. Their black

 

feathers glove branches.

A freight of grey cloud

 

moves in squashing away

the sunlight. The day melts

 

away like it hadn’t even been

here. The jackdaws gather

 

their flock and sit like Bishop’s

Mitres on the tips of branches.

 

I stand nearby watching wondering

what they’re meant to be.

 

The freight of grey cloud

ushers the light until the stars

 

star the sky. And jackdaws settle

like feet in slippers.

 

I stand nearby watching wondering

what they’re meant to be.

A WOODLAND WALK

 

When the trees branch away

the sky. Leaving us two

alone on the leaf dust path.

 

Where time has flaked itself

to the ground. A time we have

known, now walk over.

 

Oak and beech, lime and elm

pier our feet, pillar the sunlight.

We never know the wood,

only paths that have been made

 

by feet unknown. A corridor

of wood, holding us together.

Our hands pass each other

 

with different strides, two

pendulums tick-tocking

our breaths. Mouth tunnels

 

releasing the words, we have

sown. And roots beneath us,

share what’s grown.

 

THE WOOD THIS MORNING

 

The tumbled bluebells

a lost wave from a sea

that once shed itself

in these parts.

 

There is noise from

the tractor but melody

inside the timber.

The trees nest you in,

 

cuddle you with their bark.

It is a wooden womb.

I am vacant of myself

stripped to the bone

 

where I can become a branch.

There is no height, no sphere.

A skeleton growing skin.

I am reborn, re-earthed.

 

THE RETURNING OWL

 

In the upside down yard brush of trees,

a ghost hoot down a chimney

riddles across the field.

 

The stars start to appear like ideas

but he seems to want to blow them away.

The acne sky shimmers like a snake's

back slithering under wet dew.

 

I wait for the return, the noise

of key in lock, latch on gate,

but there is nothing.

 

The winter been and gone

spring dangles its awakening.

He has returned, his hoot echoes

as a lost voice in a cave.

 

His throat a windsock, shaking out

collected gusts and blasts of winter.

But then, shooting across like a

falling star, her return, I smile

 

under moonlight, Orion's belt.

 

THE WREN

`

I am the smallest of hunters

walking along the balance beam of

a tree. Parachuting to brambles below

 

mining for scurrying insects. Searching

for leafhoppers and springtails. My Allegro

tone trickles and flows as water off a

 

ledge. My throat bounces as the stream hits

the rocks at the mouth. Salt to fresh,

sea to river. Collected from the ocean of life.

 

I am the smallest of hunters, snapping earwigs

crunching spiders. Popping like a bottle cork

between shrubs, you will rarely catch me.

 

The weight of a leaf, silent as snow

barreling up all the noise of the wood

before letting it oscillate into the sun's light.

 

WHERE THE WIND BEGINS

 

When the wind waits,

trees grow the wood,

stream shows no lulling.

 

The foehn is born here.

Hatched by something unknown,

lies underneath the leaf-mould,

 

gathers in the darkness.

Hangs around the brambles,

rests in the throats of birds.

 

When the wind stirs it hurls

a backlog, of collared time,

garnered light, song and rain.

 

Where the wind begins

it has no end, unravels until it

downs, to set another trap.

 

 

SPARROWHAWK

 

I am the splitter of clouds that hang too low

slicing the air with each beak thrust

sending out a tone with every wing drum.

 

Quaking the hearts of tits and finches.

I ignore buzzards and owls of the night

I am above them, faster,  flesh eater of time.

 

An owl will eat in one shot, a buzzard will

chew and rip. But I gorge and spit, blood drips

from me like sweat off the brow.

 

The sky is me, the field is me, flicker of

trees is me. I am a storm, a drop of thunder.

Birds that mingle, daydream, doze their way

 

through life are mine. I am a sparrowhawk

crashing through life, released by the palm of

my creator. I see no end, no remorse, I feel

 

no sorrow. The dainty flight of a new born,

the courtship dance, are mine to devour.

I am the pursuer, just like you.

THE EXPANDING TREE LINE

 

The trees fire out green flames

try to hide their brownness.

The wood fills out of the wood

bursts with sun gatherers.

 

The branches squeeze themselves

into the view, like an oversized

plant in a border. Birds sing

from camouflaged places.

 

Letting us know the wood

is still there somewhere and

will be back once this visitor

has had its fill.

 

 

 

 

FALLEN CONKER TREE

 

The sky is now stretched

from cloud to cloud.

 

A gap has appeared

bringing unknown light.

 

Her limbs felled by an invisible

breath before the emotion

 

surging through later on

pulled and bashed away her bones

 

that hid beneath nerve-riddled

skin. She eventually sighed

 

as the years caught her up.

She brought us light

 

then left a huge piece in the sky

for us to see if she is still there

 

but we know she is gone

 

she is gone

 

gone.

 

 

 

TREE OF TRUST

 

The bird boxes are down

brought to a normal height

by my hand. The nails

nose from the bark, now

a perch for singing beaks.

In time they will rust, flake

away with autumn leaves.

And my fingertips will remember

those winter days when

I tapped into the tree.

And placed a box of hope,

a portal opening, where

trust was settled inside.

But today it has been emptied

out, by a letter of notice.  

 

 

 

PONTFADOG TREE

 

 

A home for the winds, branches

microphones for the whispers,

The murmurings of the hills.

 

A thousand winters waiting

A thousand springs growth

A thousand summers light

A thousand autumns death.

 

The shadows that circled, during

the passing time. Showing the

earth spinning around the sun.

 

All the voices that were in the bark

wrinkling its skin. Roots sewed into

the soil drank a million clouds.

 

Finally fallen one windy night

where it showed us its final lesson

that no man can evade the blowing wind

that comes from this spinning earth.

 

 

 

 

THEY HAVE NOWHERE TO GO ANYMORE

 

Falling leaves, falling leaves

dropped from willing trees

 

willing trees

 

the trees have no names,

just hold their palms to the sun

 

willing trees, I say

 

but the leaves lost on kerb sides

thrown down alleyways

 

brushed away like a disease

trodden on by millions of feet

 

as the trees watch their summer

shine to nothing.

 

willing trees, willing trees

 

is there any point in growing anymore?

when we are just

 

killing trees, killing trees

 

 

 

 

WHAT HAD HAPPENED THE DAY BEFORE

 

I once had an argument with the day before

in the wood behind our house. At the time

the trees were naked and scythe-like winds

cheese grated my face. Inside I was hurting

and told the trees as I walked on by.

They never replied, neither did the wind.

Though I suspect the wind was the day before,

such as its venom on my skin.

I walked in a puzzle of words as if I was lost

in a crossword. I’m sure the birds sang, though

I never heard them. Light crept in, but it was too

fragile and struggled to show me a way out.

A voice raged inside me, about what had happened

the day before. Similar to a sea reenacting

a storm that had pulled it up and smashed it back

down. The trees never said a word to me,

and the wood didn’t even acknowledge the tongue

that swept out words, I should have said the day

before. When I was about to leave the wood, I turned

back and saw everything was still the same.

When I left, I had forgotten why I was in there.

 

 

 

 

TWO FIELDS AWAY

 

Two fields away starlings sit.

They gather after rain, in the rain,

before rain, after rain.

 

Sometimes they will fly together

a swarm of bees. Each bird

attached to the next one

 

as if on a string. The field

stays still as it raises its eyebrows

to watch the flock bounce

 

on a mystery. They become

a bubble, and soon a sparrowhawk

will pop the lot.

 

I watch them flying around, taking

themselves to the trees, then fall away

as if the tree has shrugged them off.

 

 

 

SUMMER'S END

 

We have reached the

mid-life. The zenith

of our light.

 

The sun is starting

to lower like eyelids

on a dying man.

 

Swallows lasso the gnats,

sweep them up, fuelling

their bodies for the journey.

 

Leaves chatter into the

wind, talking of the year

that has been and gone.

 

Trees in a few weeks

will weep, then mirror the

roots that burrow underneath.

 

Autumn may bring its fusion

of gold, red, orange glow.

But nothing can replace

 

the letterbox opening

of summers hymn

 

 

 

RAKING LEAVES

 

Leaves were scattered, let go from trees

their dead selves clumped.

roofing the floor from light.

 

I came to drag as much as possible,

allow forgotten seeds to prosper,

instead of being left to dwell.

 

The rake skewered, scratched, heaped

as sweat leaked from sin.

I needed to rake the leaves

 

allow some light to finally get in

allow some life to finally get in.

 

 

ALL IS WELL, SO WE THINK

 

He walks with his hands in his pockets

teacher presence across the lawn

hoping for a wriggle or scamper.

 

His days are yearning for something

longing to be free of the chains we

have put upon him. The nuts and

 

stale bread, scraps, broken bits

biscuits, crackers, browning apples

that I hand grenade onto the shed roof:

 

He depends on us, nests in old chimney pots.

Barks on road edges, lay-by's, empty car parks

in early morning. He is the cloak wearer

 

the forgotten stars of the night. He is just

a peasant, a scavenger, that once roamed

wild fruit bushes and trees.

 

 

The black death is hopping amongst us.

Standing on our guttering and streets.

But still we carry on, thinking all is well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

 

 

 

 

 

BIRDS IN BLACK FEATHERS

 

In the trees behind the wall

bundles of twigs are shaped

like nests. The branches cross-stitch

the sky so it doesn’t float away.

 

Birds in black feathers hang

around the canopies, mingling

like humans in a beer garden.

Their smokers burp catches

 

my ears and I watch from below.

Birds in black feathers with lead

beaks. They open up the wood

again after the mercurial winter.

 

The birds in black feathers

tell the trees to bring out the leaves.

As themselves pull up the sun

to make the day stay longer.

 

And I thank them from below.

 

 

 

THE WOOD HAS GONE

 

The wood has left

the trees

behind.

 

It has gone without

a whisper,

leaving their limbs

 

to grow further away

from the soil.

 

The wood has left

the trees

behind.

 

Taking her life elsewhere,

now they wait

with rings

 

that count their words

that she never

stayed

 

to listen to.

 

 

THE FADING LIGHT IN THE WOOD

 

There’s condensation in the sky

as it becomes wet with stars.

I walk through the wood, trees

are now elephant legs standing

in common finger grass.

I have no direction, and I walk

into the black chasm that has

nothing except silence.

I turn on my torch and see two

distant eyes, they’re like distant

fires on a hill. I stop, watch.

Its head moves as a sabre

sword in fencing before a strike.

I know this as the eyes bob, weave,

led by a nose that knows I’m here.

The sky fills with sea smoke,

and the stars take themselves away.

The light I shine is dimming,

it needs something new to see.

But for now, the wood is giving me

an amber glow in the distance.

 

 

 

THEY ARE SHOWING ME A WAY

 

The sky has gone and left a layer

of grey not far above the trees.

The rookery is unbroken in the effort.

 

A pair of goldfinches ping around

on the stone wall and a blackbird

shuffles across the coping stones.

 

I sit in a slumped manner, dropped

from the hours of sleep. Work

is an hour away, via train and feet.

 

The goldfinches ping about stand

on phone wires, go with the breeze.

They are lit by the sun, straight to it

 

like a herd of sheep in a field

no time to waste or sit around, search

for what is needed, make the most

 

of each day. It makes me see I

am trapped in this human zoo.

 

 

HE WAS FED BY THE WOOD

 

Remember that day when I fed you

on the fence post by the trees with your

rubbed apple chest and pearl eyes.

 

The wood stood long after the gate

as if it wanted to say something.

You waited each morning for me,

 

and I waited each night for you.

I sprinkled seeds in a mountain shape

then watched you ping from a branch.

 

Once when I came from walking

the dogs you jumped up in front of me

triggered your wings to flap.

 

We looked at each other through

a hole in the world. For a moment

I thought you were asking me to join,

 

but then I knew mother was still here

and you were telling me to keep my chin up.

 

 

 

A WALK OF FREEDOM

 

We walked around the signed path.

The lagoon was necked by the human

hand. Birds didn’t care as they pinged

back and too. Trees were allowed

to reach out like arms during a yawn.

 

We had the sky to ourselves for a while,

you clicked a button on a camera

trying to fix the world into your mind.

I held binoculars to see what lay ahead

or beyond, thinking of where our steps

 

may lead. Swans kept the white

to themselves, ducks changed colours

behind reed beds. Bird hides looked

like biker helmets. We let our tongues

talk for a change, and our feet ignored

 

the tandem of food shopping

 

 

A WALK IN THE NIGHT

 

The trees stand against a blue haze

slabs of the night have been laid all over

the fields. A hedgerow can be seen

as a line of hedgehogs.

I walk in the ocean of no time

a couple of cars rummage through

showing me that life exists somewhere.

The birds have been sucked up,

all I have now is the sound of my shoes

tapping the back of the inside

of this beast. Up ahead a village

glows like the embers of a dying fire.

There’s no direction out here

my eyes can only see the memories

of what I have seen in the day.

A blast of a gun shakes my cochlea.

I think of a fox blown out of its orange

fur. Or maybe a burglar being thrown

out of the mouth of the beast.

 

 

THE WOOD IS SILENT

 

The wood is silent.

Her tree legs stand

like soil punched fingers

of the dead.

 

Branches skeleton

the sky. Leaves shrug

in the wind, wrinkle

into the earth.

 

Two cottages break the

silence. Their stone notes

sing in the rain, glass panes

show daffodil yellow light.

 

The wood stands tall

somewhere, wishing the

smoke grey light turns

to orange peel horizon.

 

Then she will grow

paddles of green leaves

to help her swim through

the heat of summer.

 

BLUE TITS

 

They meander around the trees

cork screwing and springing up

and away.  It is a chase, a flirt,

kids playing tick in the schoolyard.

 

One skirting the other

teasing, smiling, giggling.

They go so fast the sun has no

time to create a shadow.

 

There is no end to the following,

he has no real time, just a short

window before someone else comes

along.

 

He's tied to a string that is wrapped

around her body. She pulls him

to wherever she wants like a kite

being flown by a kid on a beach.

 

MY PARENTS LIVED IN A WOOD

 

The height of summer in a wood

is only noise.

 

The rain has silked the leaves.

Umbellifers try to hold up

the woodland floor.

 

Hover flies swap positions

like they are manning my memories.

 

Fledglings nail their tones

to trees, outside, the fields

 

bronze.

 

I am in the middle of the turn back

to the end of summer.

 

I see their faces turn to crinkled leaves.

I listen to their diluted words.

 

Their shadows start to linger.

I want the leaves to go so they have some

light.

 

But they are migrating, leaving me alone

in this wooden living room.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Some poems from my first collection, The Miner. Which can be bought from my shop....thanks for reading.

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