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Mother’s Day 2020

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Coronavirus seeps through thoughts
and plans; and on this sunny day, she’s
wearing a halo of daisies. Another

bulletin: social distance, pub closures,
empty food aisles, more hand washing.
So she cycles the towpath, a yellow

scarf unfurling in her wake. Allow space –
yearning for a hug, a handshake, a joke
shared on the same breath. Later, Apps

work their magic and images spring up,
bring us closer around this worrying
world. Sun warms forsythia, draws May

blossom and a blur of fresh green on the
weeping willow. Further on, swans are
canoodling, making neck hearts, teasing

us with their proximity. Mothers Skype
for all we’re worth, exchanging long-distance
love and childhood stories. Present in the

same time; space-walking. Tulips arrive,
messages to spread a picnic glow, al fresco
blessings: safe and well, have sons to miss,

grand children to wonder with, and music
to move to. Abundance in everything that
matters. And when we flick the switch to

normal (if we do), will we remember
the real treasure – and hug it close?

Branscombe Blue

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Pebbles make it hard going; grind, chink
and chime beneath our feet. It’s blazing;
our shoulders bare to this late summer

gift of a day. Drawn to the furthest stack,
we trudge on, eyes alive to gulls and buttery
cliffs. We bear trickles of sweat, marbled,

long for sight of a seal, or dolphin; a rare
sea-bird. Yet after all, we’re not disappointed
to draw a blank, and sink onto this shingle

bed. We’ll sky gaze, wallow in warm stones,
and curve our eyes to a bare-faced sky.

Boomerang

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In quickest ink they boomerang the sky
their darting letters signing winter’s end.
We bounce between two counties on the fly;

a back and forth encounter – months slip by.
Our seasoned eyes look up and apprehend
– in quickest ink they boomerang the sky!

Returning year on year, we scan and sigh,
attuned by early May, our hopes ascend.
We bounce between two counties on the fly,

from yours to mine – hello, you’re here, goodbye.
The wheels are turning, can’t at all pretend –
in quickest ink they boomerang the sky.

Above the trees and eves, they scissor, cry;
then disappear, along with our weekend.
(We bounce between two counties on the fly.)

I’m dizzy now with here and there – let’s tie
or cut the ribbon, gifting journey’s end.
In quickest ink they boomerang the sky;
we bounce between two counties – on the fly.

Made

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You made me –

stitched summer cotton, edged
with scarlet bias binding – every
inch a love song.

Baked strawberry plate-cake,
sugar-sprinkled, oozing
July sweetness.

Bought my first red shoes,
shared the skipping joy
of standing out.

After bed-time, sewed tiny
cushions, curtains – secret
Christmas stash. Home.

Wrapped me round with
belief that, yes, all would
again be well, despite

transgressions. Shouted
wings for my feet the year
I found I could hurdle, run,

jump, win. You knew.
Showed me paper patterns –
Style and Butterick –

to fashion colours, cuts
and flair to raise the roof.
Composed a laughing

score for childhood, teens
and dreams beyond those
level fenland fields.

You blew the air I breathed
big, widened skies, hope and
futures. Set my sails.

You also made me buckle one
stark morning. Lost without you.

You’d made me rise, complete
the pattern, taste each gorgeous
mouthful, sweet, sharp, warm.

You made me
live.

 

Two buzzards and a primrose

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Early in the New Year, we walk out
above Torre Abbey, crossing fields
of green corduroy. We follow the

ribbed curve towards the copse – young
oaks, bare beneath the winter blue,
inviting light-limbed climbers. Beyond

the witches’ pond, our first buzzard
watches – for rabbits perhaps? We
amble on, skirting the field’s western

edge, stopping only to look up. An aircraft
buzz – more high summer than winter
and the only sound we hear. Until, wide

wings crack open on a slow glide behind
the hill. Turning, we climb left, scanning
for another. Instead, a pheasant sits frozen

mid field. For minutes, it’s motionless
and we wonder. Your dog dodges left, but
to the right a second buzzard swoops our

path – silent, mud brown, leading the way.
Climbing the double stile, we circle back,
glimpse at our feet the first primrose,

its face pale in the gloaming.

Futures

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Silent rain washes the near view –
even swans have put their heads
to bed. White questions marks on

the tea-brown Exe. November’s fall,
sodden beneath baring branches
is quietly lifeless; seeping futures into

sparkling grass. Yesterday, amber,
bronze and burnished woodlands
rattled their canopies, showering

leaves. Sycamore, oak, birch and
willow – scents of the year darkening
underfoot. Closer to home, a flash of

Cyclamen, and overhead, blue chinks.
Our fingers touch. Another ladybird
crawls up the pane; and the rain stops.

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Fulsome, this final summer
moon, setting at sunrise.

Silver platter – cool as sliced
cucumber in a picnic Pimms.

Nostalgia wells with September
mists, sculling down the Exe –

Keatsian, mellow, with a pinch
of frost on promise. Turning

circles is cosmic; and daily.

Orange

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I’m calling them home.
Orange flowers – crocosmia,
forced roses, wild poppies.

They signal all will be well,
arcing origami shadows
on my white wall. Tangerine

runes – permission slips to make
it great. Like pressing promises.

Next day’s glory – a bouquet
wafting every room orchid.
White lilies, berries, green foliage.

Every petal ivory, magnolia,
cream damask. Orange?
In absentia.

I’ll take that.

Terroir

 

 

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All day it’s lingered, luminous;
a ghosting thermal to circle.

Dry earth, sun lifting back-lit
leaves, Pinot shaking on

the vine. This surprise, richer
than Christmas, still giving

as I lean in, savouring
Sauvignon at mid summer.

Mellow bricks, crisp thatch,
reflections flash no-filter blue

and swifts – fletching above
these sunny rows. Lavendar

rustles, dreaming of Provence
while stretching roots into

red Devon loam.

I’m home.

Skylarking

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Leaping seasons, I’m scrabbling for cool
cottons in this cavernous drawer. Shedding
cashmere, boots and woolly hats. Lighter.

Last month, eyes were dazzled by glacier
glints – the eastern beast smothered lawns,
crushed new-bloom daffodils. Freezing us

in hush. It’s a kind of ecstasy – climbing the
skylark’s spurting notes through deepest blue.
Flickering bliss. If April is the cruellest month –

I’m in. Cut grass. Hot skin. Rub sunscreen into
winter limbs. Searching for swallows to prove it,
we’re high on sudden summer. Skylarking now.

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