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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
It has gone without
leaving their limbs
to grow further away
from the soil.
The wood has left
Taking her life elsewhere,
now they wait
that count their words
that she never
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.
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.
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
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
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
But they are migrating, leaving me alone
in this wooden living room.