The ancient bricks

 The ancient bricks are crumbling   making space
For living creatures humble, self effaced 
The  wallflowers waver on the topmost ledge
Leaning out to watch the hurried pass

The sun shines from the East in blinding glare
Shadows shorten .trees bud ,Spring is near
My baseball cap protects my eyes and skin
Even the  most strong  will never win

We take the humus ,grow our crops and flowers
When our time is  done,   we will not cower
Gratefully we love  our neighbours,friends
Right until we reach the very  end 

Then with the  bones of innocence we lie
Deep the soil  and deeper still the Eye

She ain’t won no prizes yet

           There was a letter in Writing magazine,
As it happens it ‘s an issue I’ve already seen.
One,asked if it is true that poetry with rhymes
Is not the fashion in our times.

Sacramental trees

tree in sun

 Maybe you didn’t know

When you touched me so.

Maybe you never knew

What your words would do.

I float across that space

Where lovers once embraced

And thus you bring torment

To me to  whom  love you sent.

When I close my eyes

My daytime face then dies.

I look across dark seas

To sacramental trees.

My dreams are full of loss.

Is night or day the worse?

When we return  next  here

Will  love outstrip our  fear?

I gaze upon your face,

Forbidden  to embrace.

My arms ache deep inside,

As if in agony tied.

Torn apart by  grief

Love is now a thief.

Where has God’s face gone

As brightly shines the sun?

The pains of life  are sharp,

Cutting through the heart

But still we turn towards love,

With all the  strength we have.

Trusting in the dark

And emptiness beside

I step into the  void

Love can’t be denied

Were you not soldiers too,fighting for the right to breathe?

The protesting world

cries out like a trumpet

playing “The last post.”

The eyes of the lost ask me to tell

what is unspeakable,

but I have nothing

except to ask why bugles are not played for you

at Remembrance Ceremonies.

Were you not soldiers too,

fighting for the right to breathe?

The “right to life,”

As you dragged yourself off the truck

Not quite believing but

Yet,yes,believing,paradoxically that

Soon you would be silent amd still.

Your teeth carefully taken for gold”

Yes,they were green alright

Recycling was very important to the Nazi..

One might almost say they were the pioneers here of what we do today

So was hygiene. They practised so well

How to wash their hands clean from guilt,

So much soap they needed

So they could play Mozart

and tenderly touch their children

Then sleep on clean linen enjoying such dreams.

Soon the world would be perfect.

all in order,all tidied away,

Unique,complete, orderly ,dead..

Yes, death of everything w as the real final solution.

All packed away in boxes,

Waiting for the Resurrrection.

How far is it to heaven from where we started?

Would Jesus like to meet you now,to greet you,

So pure,clean and perfect?

You have cut out your own heart with the breadknife

Because it troubled you so,beating like that.

When you were only doing your duty.

Doing what men have to do.

A dove flew up as the agnostic man comforted the

frightened boy

And hand in hand they died right there

At the foot of the Cross.

Which you revered,I believe.

But it was God’s son hanging there

And you all knew.

Hands outstretched across the world

I can’t love you without loving the whole world too.
I can’t open my heart unless everyone can be part.

Wait for me.
I’m not afraid.
Wait for me.
I may be delayed.

I see you in my mind
Smiling, sad and kind.
I can’t love you
Unless I love the lost too.

Give me your hands
Outstretched across the world.
We’re all one
Love has begun

Elegance lies bare

Apple tree and sunshine

In summer time when sun do shine

I’m happy on my own

I gaze up through red maple leaves

All transparent in the sun.

But when winter comes I’m lonely

Sitting here beside my fire.

So I want a  winter lover

To keep my spirits higher.

Oh,my winter love come to me

And I’ll gaze deep into your eyes

The light that shines in there

Is so much warmer than my fire.

We’ll go through wintry woodlands,

Where elegance lies bare.

The branches struck by sun

Now feel the frosty grasp of air.

I’ll love you all the winter time.

I’ll love you  in the dark.

I’d like to rest within your arms,

And have a peaceful talk

When summer comes I’ll disappear

To roam across the dales

I’ll sleep on heather moorlands

And send you loving mail.

I can’t be tied in summertime

I must be roaming free.

But ,if you accept this  need of mine,

To you I’ll faithful be.

The windhover

 A window is the wind’s eye.

This article is by Carol Rumens

Poem of the week: The Windhover by Gerard Manley Hopkins

This time, Hopkins’s astonishing control of his wildly experimental form is as awe-inspiring as its subject matter

A kestrel

A kestrel in flight. Photograph: Shay Connolly/PA

Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote “The Windhover” in May, 1877. He had been a student at St Bueno’s Theological College for three years, and this was a productive period: the year of “God’s Grandeur”, “Spring” and “The Starlight Night”, among others. “The Windhover” is the most startlingly experimental of this gorgeous tranche of sonnets. Hopkins seems at ease, fully in control of the energies of his sprung rhythm and effortlessly folding the extra-metrical feet he called outrides (see line two, for example) into the conventional sonnet form. He recognised his own achievement, and, sending a revised copy to his friend Robert Bridges, declared that this was the best poem he’d ever written.

Much discussed and interpreted, “The Windhover” plainly begins with, and takes its rhythmic expansiveness from, a vividly observed kestrel. That the bird is also a symbol of Christ, the poem’s dedicatee, is equally certain. Perhaps too, its ecstatic flight unconsciously represents for Hopkins his own creative energy. When he exclaims “How he rung upon the rein…” his image might extend to the restraints and liberations of composition. The phrase means to lead a horse in a circle on the end of a long rein held by its trainer, and it certainly makes a neat poetic metaphor.

What a marvellous sentence Hopkins sets soaring across the first seven lines of the octet: I particularly like those cliff-hanger adjectives summoned “in the riding/ Of the rolling level underneath him steady air”. The diction throughout is rich and strange: “wimpling” (rippling and pleating), “sillion” (a strip of land between two furrows), “the hurl”, “the achieve”. There are resonant ambiguities: “buckle” for example could be imperative or indicative, and it could mean any of three things: to prepare for action (an archaic meaning), to fasten together, or to bend, crumple and nearly break (“buckled like a bicycle wheel” as William Empson remarked when analysing the poem in Seven Types of Ambiguity).

The metaphysics may be complex but the imagery of riding and skating are plain enough. The wheeling skate brilliantly inscapes the bird’s flight-path. It’s important to our sensation of sheer, untrammelled energy that we see only the heel of the skate, and not the skater. Empson wrote that he supposed Hopkins would have been angered by the bicycle-wheel comparison, but I am not at all sure he would have been: the poem welcomes ordinary physical activity, and a cyclist has his heroic energies and painful accidents like any other athlete.

Christ’s Passion is central to the poem, the core from which everything else spirals and to which everything returns. The plunge of the windhover onto its prey suggests not simply the Fall of man and nature, but the descent of a redemptive Christ into the abyss of human misery and cruelty. References to equestrian and military valour (the dauphin, the chevalier) evoke the Soldier Christ, a figure to be found in the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius of Loyola which Hopkins devotedly practised. The swoop of this hawk-like dove is essentially spiritual, of course. But the poem doesn’t forget or devalue the “sheer plod” of the farm-labourer – another alter ego, I suspect.

It’s remarkable how the sestet slows down without losing energy. Instead of flight there is fire: is this a reference to Christ’s post-mortem descent into Hell? The adoring “O my Chevalier” softens to a Herbert-like, tender “Ah my dear”. And now the great impressionist painter, having so far resisted any colour beyond that suggestive “dapple-dawn”, splashes out liberally with the “blue-bleak” embers and the “gold-vermilion” produced by their “gall” and “gash” (both words, of course, associated with the Crucifixion). Again, there is terra firma as well as metaphysics. The earth is broken by the plough in order to flare gloriously again, and the warm colours suggest crops as well as Christ’s redemptive blood. Beyond that, we glimpse some other-worldly shining, a richness not of earth alone. As always in Hopkins’s theology, Grace in the religious sense is not to be divorced from athletic, natural, often homoerotic, grace. In fact, it is fuelled by it.

The Windhover
To Christ Our Lord

I caught this morning morning’s minion, king-
dom of daylight’s dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding
Of the rolling level underneath him steady air, and striding
High there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing
In his ecstasy! then off, off forth on swing,
As a skate’s heel sweeps smooth on a bow-bend: the hurl and gliding
Rebuffed the big wind. My heart in hiding
Stirred for a bird, – the achieve of, the mastery of the thing.

Brute beauty and valour and act, oh, air, pride, plume, here
Buckle! AND the fire that breaks from thee then, a billion
Times told lovelier, more dangerous, O my chevalier!

No wonder of it: shéer plód makes plough down sillion
Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear,
Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermilion.

Acumen in verse

I never had acumen as such;

I trusted in people too much

An innocent   with a  heart

Till  it bled from your dart.

Now I’m cynical and hate  most  men from the start.

Is acumen innate in anyone?

If so my parents passed none on

I don’t like investing

And finance  is testing.

But I love and am loved so I’ve won.

I am finding acumen hard to use

Its  three syllables  make me confused

How to pronounce it

Is too hard,so denounce it.

As we don’t want to feel self bemused.

Fortunately I am not self employed

As accounting  and tax me annoy..

I am a voice in the forest

Humorous and  honest.

But of acumen I am supremely devoid

Love is simple,love is plain


Love is simple,love is plain.

Will love ever come again?

Life is joy and life is woe.

Through its pains all humans go.

Love enlightens and discloses

Thoughts as sweet as summer roses.

Take me back to Northern hills

Where my fraught soul with honey’s filled.

All I want is to be there,

With you ,my love,now grown so dear.

Oh,love is kind and love is rare.

We’ll not discover better fare.

Feed me with such love again,

And I shall be a most blessed one

For dreams can work in harmony with will

Autumn 2013 008

I only began to write sonnets a few months ago.I was afraid to try as I imagined it was very hard,but eventually I wanted to try.I sometimes do find it difficult but I am enjoying it now.I was reading a book by Leslie Farber called,The Ways of the Will.In this he says that anxiety neurosis is caused by, “trying to will what cannot be willed.”I found that idea fascinating.

We can make ourselves lie down,but we cannot sleep by will power.

We can sit at a desk all day but cannot will ourselves to get inspiration.

I am sure you can think of many examples yourselves.So we need will sometimes but also we need to allow things to happen;we are not always in control.. we cannot be but we wish to be.

Think of our brains and bodies… it’s all outside our control…as is most of the Universe,God and all… despite our technology and science.

IMG_20130820_072103 (2)

The daydream is despised by many folk
who feel that willpower is the better way.
Yet daydreams often bring creative thoughts
and teach us what to do and what to say.

I fear it is the modern curse to will,
When will cannot achieve the wanted end.
And trying too hard is effort and may kill,
where reverie and dream can make us mend

The emptiness of mind is too much feared
As if we do not trust in God nor man.
Yes,take the tiller, and with perception steer…
We do the little that we should and can.

For dreams can work in harmony with will,
As long as we can make our minds quite still.

From the News

Whatever evil  humankind may do,

The sun will rise and shine  on  one and all.

Mercy ,grace and love are spread  anew

As apples ripen and the  sweet birds call.

What is the mystery of the world we know;

That God looks with dispassion on us all?

And what his  wondrous virtues are to show

When  wolves attack and murder does appall.

Will heaven compensate the refugees

Who starve in camps  when money is withheld.

From those who gave us prophets and great seers

We see  confusion,fear  then ethics felled.

 So often we are blind to wider views

And  get mere  entertainment from  the News

The heart of darkness

Indifference tolls the knell of  humankind

So easy just to turn our eyes  away

We often self deceive   or  mimic  blind;

So Hitler goosestepped  while  foolish Pope  but prayed

How bright the candlelight on Christmas trees

And  tender children  widen  joyous eyes

Yet for  the other,we will hear no pleas.

At every heartbeat  “foreign” babies die..

Can we love any but those with our same ?

what sense the story in which  Arab aiding Jew?

Is the underlying truth not seen

As Jesus said the chosen are but few

We  split the world into a double view

The good, the bad,the  heart of darkness slew.

Than the song of birds,he had the words

He ‘d held me in his arms and said,
what I had a never read,
That life is more than learned discourse.
So as he spoke, I watched his face
And his rich dark eyes;of course
His eyes gave out such  natural force
More strong and subtle than the song of birds.
Yes,almost like a poet’s words
In how he moved me like no other man;
No matter how they think they can,
They lose the step and do not dance
And never ever chance
A leap when they might lift me high
Above their head. I’d want to fly.
Yes,the form and feeling give an extra note
To express those feelings more remote…..
We do not need to speak or write
We have both touch and  our  eye sight.
And yet our human discourse is a need
An anchor,lest the current’s speed
Should crash us down on Coniston,
And we’d be gone.
Just write it down
A verb ,a noun..
A string of sighs,our mouths,our eyes.
A paragraph that never dies,
within your finger tips and cries
For pen and paper and my wish to save
Some part of you,some heart some art

far beyond your grave.

Your gaze.

My days

Durham owl

short-eared durham owl
meditating over the dale's edge,
shadows the fields and folds
in elegant diurnal flight.

on windside,careful sight
may swoop to prey
and away.

your yellow broad-eyed look,
at once both sharp and distant,
holds me.
oh ,wind on green,
oh. earth,

immense your held vision,
sphere without centre,
pied geometer of flight,
sketch your descent and ascent.
trees bunched by dry stone wall
call heart home.

Days for losing


Some days are days for losing
Some days are days for losing

Some days are days for finding
Mobile phones and patience.
Some days are days for finding
New friends and old relations.

Some days I feel at sea for hours,
Some days I feel so lost.
Some days I know that life’s worthwhile
Whatever the emotional cost.

Days are special units
In the journey we call life.
Days are short so don’t waste time
In needless haste or strife.

Different points of view

The old red wall is dressed in stems of wood

In wintertime, we see the ancient bricks.

But in the springtime come the flower buds.

We see no more of  Jack Frost and his tricks.

Which vision is the true one, we may ask

Just as with the faces we each show.

But is there any virtue in that task

Reality is impossible to know.

Each perspective gives a vision new.

The more we see , the more we realize.

Other cultures have a different view.

The argument is futile and unwise.

As when and where we stand gives us our view.

l perceive life differently than you

Another way,a place,another mind

From   time and place  and  season I am  lost,

Disorientated ,missing  tracks well worn

Do not suppose I’m unaware of cost

Nor label me with epithets of scorn

For usual paths lead to the  usual place

The safest way to live and perhaps to die

But wandering through the woods  I find new space

and in the  wild flowers  with the fox I lie.

Through  dark trees, i see a way to go

as narrow as a slit in pallid stone

This is my destined way, I seem to know

and courage rises even as I moan.

Remember when we’re lost ,we  may then find

Another way,a place,another mind


The Way Through the Woods by Rudyard Kipling

 lighter tree

They shut the road through the woods
Seventy years ago.
Weather and rain have undone it again,
And now you would never know
There was once a road through the woods
Before they planted the trees.
It is underneath the coppice and heath
And the thin anemones.
Only the keeper sees
That, where the ring-dove broods,
And the badgers roll at ease,
There was once a road through the woods.

Yet, if you enter the woods
Of a summer evening late,
When the night-air cools on the trout-ringed pools
Where the otter whistles his mate,
(They fear not men in the woods,
Because they see so few.)
You will hear the beat of a horse’s feet,
And the swish of a skirt in the dew,
Steadily cantering through
The misty solitudes,
As though they perfectly knew
The old lost road through the woods …
But there is no road through the woods.

That sweet embrace

Though love is welcome when at first it dawns

And even when it ripens in the sun

Soon  may  come sensations  all forlorn

A dread that asks us what  love might become.

For yearning as we do for hope and care

Yet also don’t we fear to lose our self?

And so to wonder fearful how we’ll fare

Blighting both our spirits and our health.

The risks of loss and gain are  not yet known

A judgement must be made on partial facts

To be at once too  trapped  and  too alone

To treat the other with  both truth and ttact

With faith and trust we show  our human face

And hope we each survive that sweet embrace


The comfort of another’s kindly glance

The solace of a writer”s l voice.

These may arrive as if    by chance.

To be responsive   is in part our  choice.

Some days our shell is closed,  and all rebuts.

Not even  loving arms   or lips are felt.

So little on this earth will bring comfort

Until  this hardness wants itself to melt.

Be wary as  it may not  yet be  time

Far better hide until right days are born.

To let our soul reject the dagger fine.

We  needs respect a fear of  ruinous scorn.

Though  isolated,lost, uncertain we  may feel,

These  dream wrought symbols make the soul to heal

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