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

There Should be Storms

 

There should be storms, not the calm, still sky.

There should be storms, and dark castle walls.

This faded coffee shop, half empty, in the shade,

Is not the place to watch your life crash down.

 

I wait for you, and you are late again.

In the corner, reading a cheap magazine,

A woman droops and, trying not to yawn,

Turns the page to new adulteries.

 

I check my phone, there’s nothing new from you,

Just half an hour wait and waiting still.

I wonder if you know what waits here, crouching,

In this faded, shaded, tired coffee shop

 

Two girls behind the counter, talking low

Of boys and school and last week’s hair.

They bend the paper clip from next week’s hours

To try and free the block in the machine

 

They sound so young and earnest, taking care

Warning each other about the burning pipes

Promising to be there at the club

And one will lend the other their new dress

 

The woman yawns again and leaves the place

Out into the bright and shining mall

Past the old rabbi playing careful chess

Facetiming with his friend in Tel Aviv

 

The two old men talk with kindness, they are kind

And measure the words they use across the miles

What words can I use to you so close

When I stare across the table at your face.

 

The old rabbi taps his hearing aid and shouts

A gentle, kind goodbye across the miles.

Packs up his chess and leaves into the mall.

I am reading the left magazine

 

The coffee shop is shutting with the mall,

The sun is draining down the peaceful sky

There should be storms.  I text you, ‘It is over

Do not contact me again.  Goodbye.’

Originally published April 23rd 2016

The Craft Kit

This is a prompt from the Trifecta Challenge, to write between 33 and 333 words on the third definition of the word ‘Quaint’.  

 

The Craft Kit

Finally, the new kit’s here

I’ve waited for the post all day.

The door is shut, the table’s clear

The furniture is pushed away!

Okay, I put the screw in here

And tighten up the bracket there

And slot the tab into the rear

And push it in, hard as I dare.

I sand it here, and rub it there,

I add the paint and wax and buff,

The fumes are stuffing up the air,

I wonder if I’ve buffed enough.

The picture’s blurred, is this quite right?

I’m sure I got the stencil straight.

Is this quite the shade of white?

And will it really hold the weight?

Oh no!  No visitors today!

I shove the thing across the floor,

Push a chair to bar the way,

And rush towards the knocking door.

The mother of my husband’s here.

She doesn’t like the kitchen blind

She doesn’t like the new veneer

She doesn’t like the box I’ve lined.

She checks how full my cupboards are,

And is my laundry all inside,

She lifts the cushions, now ajar,

And spots the kit I’ve tried to hide.

She picks it up and turns it round

And touches the still-drying lace

An opportunity she’s found

To put me firmly in my place.

She sneers with praise that’s damning faint

“A painted footstool, oh how quaint!”

Originally posted January 20 2014