Thursday, 10 August 2017

Robin and Leaf

Seen at 8.30 am on Monday 5 May 2014.

A day of rocking wind
   Beneath a May-blue sky;
A loud-voiced robin dinned
   The copse, haughtily high
On a maple’s green crown,
Its song, droplets thrown down.

Flung like a cork on seas
   The robin frankly shrilled,
The tree without surcease
   Quivered and the leaves thrilled
In shivers, flashing pale
Like flags thrashed in a gale.

At once, a leaf, wind-thrown,
   Enfurled that flame-chest rowd;
Unfussed it hurled its moan
   Like a corpse in a shroud
Stubborn to have its shout
Against the grave’s long drought.

Ah redbreast, shrilly brave,
   Would that your hothead song,
Warming the air’s cold nave
   Summer and autumn long,
Might soften winter snow
That the aconite glow.

© May 2014

A Tree Stump

Four little poems which simply record what I saw.



A lime tree felled, its three-foot stump
For days continued drawing sap
From blind-eyed roots which like a pump
Spread liquor on the stump’s blond lap.

Fermenting in the sun’s May heat
It bulked with sawdust like a gruel,
For sipping ants and spiders, meat,
Though flashing like a prism’d jewel.

Such doggedness and will to live!
May I, now dropping hair and teeth,
When lopped by time no less contrive
To dazzle with my final breath!

May 2014

ii. A Tree Stump (Afterthought)

Now weeks have passed that stump has set
Into a shelf of leather brown
Hardened by summer’s grin or frown
And the day’s whim, now parched, now wet.

The grain is glossy, crosscut by
A pattern from the chainsaw’s blades;
All’s polished into hard-gleam shades
As by the weather’s husbandry.

Tanned and toughened like a dried corse,
Aglint in noonday’s heavy sun,
Senseless it sleeps as the weeks run
Dumb to memory or remorse.

June 2014

iii. A Tree Stump (Again)

Two months later, passing that way
In the chill morn of a damp day,
Bemused I saw the stump had sprung
A whorl of leaves, all freshly slung:

Dew-dropped and dimpled as a hand,
Through the grey-walled bark, rough like sand,
Sea-water green they squeezed to life,
Toothsome as vegetables for the knife.

Truly, from the first Big Bang leap
A force in nature does not sleep;
So these frail leaves in the bark’s grist
Struggle to life and will not desist.

August 2014

iv. A Tree Stump (Final)

But in one month the tale was done,
The stump was grubbed; a shallow hole
Of dowdy chippings, shrunk in sun,
Is all that’s left, where cats now roll.

September 2014

© May-September 2014