Summer came quickly


Summer came quickly

Summer came quickly this year,

Scarce a breath between

Daffodils and blooming may;

Blackthorn and whitethorn

Overlapped in flowering bliss.

Leaf buds unfurled so fast

I could not map their progress,

Leaping from tight knots

To silken green in moments.

The general rumble of rooks

Minding their business in treetops

Passed to the chaotic conversation

Of growing families in days.

The scent of new-mown grass

Hangs on the evening air

Like celestial incense burned

To honour the return of the Sun.

Summer came so quickly

Now I must mourn the Spring.


Queen Bee

Yesterday was the first meeting for our beekeeping group and it was about opening the hive for the first time in the spring. We’re doing that with our hive later today but I shall post pics of ours later. The bigger bee with the red dot is the queen bee.

This is me in full beekeeping regalia!

more later….

The Great Forest

This is the Major Oak; thought to be well over 900 years old. It needs a little help these days.... 


The Great Forest
The Great Forest begins
Where my garden ends.
I dare not go there
Except by deepest night
When I take to the skies
Amid the hunting owls.
By day, I see nothing
But the odd glimpse
Of miles of woodland,
Dense and secret
Beyond the wooden fence.
If I approach, come close
And look beyond the barrier,
It's only another garden,
Wild for suburbia
But tamed nonetheless.
The Great Forest haunts me,
Living in snapshot moments
When I sense it's there,
Unseen by others,
Invisible by daylight,
Waiting for nightfall
And those who leave behind
Both bodies and bedrooms
To enter its borders,
Trembling with fear
And the sense of coming home.
The Great Forest lingers,
Hidden in scrubby thickets,
And litter-strewn copses,
In untended gardens
Reverting rapidly to wildness,
And in the ancient memory
Of huge and silent trees,
Of sun-filled clearings
Paved with wildflowers,
In prison-colony plantations,
With larch and pine
Chained in dead-straight rows.
The Great Forest lives on
In the green-scented breeze
On a summer's evening,
Blown from far away,
Bringing scents of woodland,
Musk of deer and boar
And the forgotten bear and wolf,
Making us shiver as we sit
In tended gardens by candlelight,
Clutching glasses of foreign wine,
And struggle to remember something
That is lost in these moments.
The Great Forest still stands
In every persistent sapling
That cracks walls to grow,
In every clipped and shaped yew
Bent in ornamental servitude.
It lives on in the waste-ground,
In forgotten corners of gardens
And in ancient churchyards
Guarded by yews of such age
That they seem like living stone.
I stand at my window
And seek the Great Forest
Beyond my garden fence.
In every green breath I draw,
I smell the heart of the forest,
And beyond it, the Sea. 


I wrote this poem some years ago when we lived not too far away from the great Sherwood Forest…Our garden was an acre corner of the original eight acre rectory garden and on a summer day, looking from an upstairs window the trees melded and blended till you could imagine it went on forever.

Sherwood Forest is a tiny remnant of old growth forest that once covered much of the English midlands up into south Yorskhire. You can still get lost there if you try hard enough…

Pennines Passing

I wrote this poem back in April while in the car going to Scotland for a family wedding; I’d not crossed the Pennines in a very long time and it struck me how wild they are. There was still snow here and there. I forgot to transcribe the poem until today.

Pennines Passing

April 2nd 09


Clear skies the whole way

Distant wisps of cloud

Over heather-honey hills

Wreathed in mist and unborn bracken

Dry-stone walls snake and slither

Along hidden boundaries and farms

The bones of the land protrude

Like ribs of a starved dog

Laid over with a thin coat

Of burgeoning springtime grass

Sheep and lambs like clouds laid low

Huddle in hollows

From biting winds and bright sun

Trees still winter nude

Stand sentinel on high points

Strong against the gales

Along the road, notched poles

To mark the road when snow drifts

Too deep to find your way alone

A splash of daffs to prove the spring

And snow like cream atop a pie

Coats the sunlit summits