Shadow in the Corner

It’s an old stone house with a tall stone tower

It’s bent and battered but it still holds power

And the priests keep blessing but the dark’s still calling

So the cattle’s brought in soon as night starts falling

We’re the edge of the kingdom so we don’t pay taxes

And the only human sounds are the woodcutter’s axes

So the lords don’t bother and we like it that way

Though few who come to work here have the heart to stay

There’s a new girl in the kitchens and we have to warn her

Of the stain that hides in the shadow in the corner.

Photo by George Hiles on Unsplash

Sparrow

Flit through the branches, bounded by brambles, nimble witted

Squabble and scatter, chatter and chase, dawn clatter and dust-baths

Tiny not timid, tenaciously territorial, quicksilver to the seed heads

Singing from gutters, pattering on pavements, defying the traffic

Unruly urchin birds, diminutive, darting and dashing

Yet cousins to swans

Photo by Nastya Kvokka on Unsplash

Not Death

So slowly creeps the lichen in the sun

And slowly the trees stretch their arches

Spreading shade over the green acres

Where the snails leave their silver paths

 

Slow too is the slow rise of the hedges

But beating quicker is the grass,

Which is pinned by the spring daisies

Lest it rise to the clouds

 

Beating quicker are the green shoots

Twining at the base of the hedges

In the corners of the dim shade

At the base of the stones

 

And the spring bulbs are bursting

And leaves push out and up to sunshine

As the first bees harvest the dying grave flowers

Warmed by the growing sun

 

Birds flit, their shadows racing

Across wood and stone and grass

As the fledglings call and cry

Daily getting nearer to their own flight

 

And underneath, the shy voles

Scamper and search among the offerings

Tiptoeing through last year’s leaves

Slipping down the root tangle

 

And in a corner, busy ants

Harvest the crumbs and keep their march

As their nest warms in the mild sun

And the petals are dropping.

 

This is no place of death

This is a place where the dead remember

The rushing, pushing, pulse of spring

And celebrate their life.

Image from the Swedish National Heritage Board and used under the Creative Commons Agreement

October Frights: The Bells of St Brigit’s

The bells of St. Brigit’s are calling tonight,

The moonlight is sparkling over the sea,

The stars are shedding their magical light,

And my lover’s dead soul is calling to me.

 

The roses are breathing their passion filled scent,

The soft waves are hissing onto the sand,

The bells chimes are ringing an empty lament,

I feel the blessed touch of my lover’s cold hand.

 

Down the stone staircase and out to the sand,

Across the storm wreckage to the now quiet sea,

My lover steps slowly away from the land,

A final farewell and he’s now lost to me.

Starting off my contribution to October Frights Blog Hop with The Bells of St Brigit’s.  Check out what else is happening elsewhere!    http://www.inlinkz.com/new/view.php?id=797504

First and Third Saturday

The first and third Saturday are set in stone

And nothing may disturb them.

It is inviolable that she goes, through wind and weather

No let or hindrance permitted

 

First the train ride, then the bus,

Then the long walk up the wooded hill.

Dragging the flowers and the cleaning kit

Into the murmuring cemetery.

 

It is a ritual, disposing of the old flowers from the grave

The browned leaves and petals on the heap,

The washing of the neat urn on the grave

The snipping of the stems

 

The flowers renewed, she wipes the headstone,

Trims the edges, picks up the gravel

Waters the tiny alpines in the cracks

Brushes off the dead leaves.

 

Nothing stops the pilgrimage.

And once the grave is neatened, then she sits and reads

Perhaps in the shelter near the church

Perhaps on the stone seat near the tree

 

The first and third Saturday are hers, defended

And who could argue against tending to a grave.

Who’s grave?  She doesn’t know but cares

Because they gave the gift

Of the first and third Saturday, unassailable.

Meet for Lunch

I know the step I have to take,

I know the choice I have to make.

I smile and try to take a bite,

My mouth is dry, my throat is tight.

I take a sip of lukewarm tea,

Look up and see you watching me.

I hoped that we would share a meal

Before I tell you how I feel.

Aware of hurt and furtive looks

I blurt out, ‘your new sandwich sucks.’

The Bells of St Brigit

The bells of St. Brigit’s are calling tonight,

The moonlight is sparkling over the sea,

The stars are shedding their magical light,

And my lover’s dead soul is calling to me.

 

The roses are breathing their passion filled scent,

The soft waves are hissing onto the sand,

The bells chimes are ringing an empty lament,

I feel the blessed touch of my lover’s cold hand.

 

Down the stone staircase and out to the sand,

Across the storm wreckage to the now quiet sea,

My lover steps slowly away from the land,

A final farewell and he’s now lost to me.

Feeling the Tension

Your monuments, what do they mean?

Build your stone high and shout your deity.

Hope that the stone outlasts the age

Hold tight to written, lawful piety

 

And when the old roots wrack your faith

When the cold moon bites and rags your mind

How do you hold on to the bitter dregs?

How do you slip into your role assigned?

 

Old shadows creep and stretch before your feet

Old lanes and lines cross across your path

You’re happy to bask in summer’s generous warmth

Are you willing to take the lash of winter’s wrath?

 

Look at the stone path, that’s where you tread,

Turning away to turfed green paths that roam.

Is it because your faith outlasts the stone?

Or do you listen when your soul hears home?

Originally posted April 4th 2018

Perspective

I look around, my mind is filled

With pots and cloths and clothes and things

The clutter that comes in bags from school

The scattered stuff the postman brings

 

A sock hangs off the angled chair

A cup is perched right on the edge

Fingerprints on walls abound

Cat fur lines the window ledge

 

But if you walk across the park

And head towards the underpass

Ignore the coloured painted tags

Step round the routine broken glass

 

Look up, a square of pristine sky,

Windwashed leaves are dancing free,

Nothing besides, that’s all I want

The sky, the leaves and, down here, me.

Originally posted February 8th 2018

As It Should Be

 

Tell me again, about the fight

And how you fought it to the damnation

See me writing how you fought the fight

And I look on and nod in admiration.

Hey, look at you, I lean in closer

You fought the fight and here I am admiring

You are the destiny, I just cook the meals

You come home to a hero’s welcome

And as I scurry round to find the feast

And wonder whether the wine will last the night

Tell me again about the fight

And I’ll make sure an audience awaits.

I do a thousand thousand tiny works,

I find your shield and shirt and sword

And lay in preparations for your feast

And wonder if I’ve done enough

So here you are, hero and warrior wild

And I am grateful that you stoop to me.

You are the centre of the bardic tales

And I, peripheral, will worship thee

 

Originally posted February 2nd 2018