Poem - 01

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1. The Whittlestone and the Ladywell

2. The Fiddler

3. The Fox

4. The Guardian

5. The Lord of the Manor

Poems Menu

1. Sanctuary Blessing

2. Distant healing

3. Homage to Spring

4. A peal for Time

5. Two seasonal fragments

6. Shining

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Sanctuary Blessing


I close this gate

Leaving all here to the watchful gaze of these spirits of place

Unto you I commit

            - the butterfly on the knapweed

            - the bumble bees on the motherwort

            - the honey bees on the goats rue

            - the stag resting in the grass

            - the blackbird in the mulberry bush

            - the wren in the ivy

            - the long-tailed tit in the willow

            - the buzzard soaring overhead

            - the little owls in the ash tree

            - the red ants in the comfrey

            - the blackflies in the Himalayan balsam

            - the sparrows on the nettles

            - the broken nest of the pheasant

            - the water boatmen on the pond

            - the white flowers of the meadowsweet

            - the seedpods of the spotted orchid

            - the ripening burrs of the burdock

            - the maturing flowers of the black cohosh

            - the flower stalks of the agrimony

Let all be well

Nurtured until their appointed time

To return to earth

Let earth, sky, water prevail

Warmed by Sun,

Refreshed by rain

Moved by breeze

Blessed by Moon


Let it be so!




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Distant healing


By the power of the sun I send thee strength

By the power of earth I ground thee

By the power of the moon I send thee peace

By the power of air I send thee love


By the power of oak I send the fortitude

By the power of rowan I protect thee

By the power of elder to watch over thee

By the power of hawthorn I give thee heart


With my hands I picked the herbs

With my hands I steeped them

With my hands I strained the marc

With my hands I poured it


Through my hands flow healing

Through my heart flows love

Through my head I send thee wisdom

Through my mouth I speak the words

To make it so!


Be well, be safe, be at peace!


So mote it be.


7.30 am. 21.7.05.


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Homage to Spring


Lady, I have honoured you today

As I drew the curtain from my bed

The day seemed cloudy, listless

Raindrops hung from spider's web

Each honeysuckle leaf a tiny pool

Filled from the torrents of the night.


But as I looked,

The sun burnt back the mist

Yellow heads in sodden glory

The world sparkled.


I took fork and pruning hook to my sacred space

Thinking to meditate and search for faery folk

Amid the oaks and springs

Instead, I took the fork and culled the weeds

Easing the congestion and opening new earth

More space to grow herbs for your children

Stubborn they were, the roots of nettles, clods of grass

Doggedly I braved the stones and stings

To fling them, haphazard, on the growing pile

Thinking to bring balance out of chaos

To feed the soil in future years from this year's rotted clods


As the circle of brown emerged from the green

I went weary home

Hot-faced and aching

But at peace                               




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A Peal for Time (St Peter’s Upper Slaughter)


When Sabinian brought the bell
A Saxon church stood here
One bell they lofted,
Calling faithful souls to prayer, morning and night.
When William reigned, the bell pealed his power
Calling curfew,
All serfs indoors, all light extinguished
No chance for Saxon plotters in the dark of night.

Years later, wolves came,
Circling the church,
Cousin fighting cousin over Henry’s land
With peace restored, reshaping stone, the masons' chisels rang
Leaving their narrow leafed windows to stand reminder to a Plantagenet king.
Two centuries on, three bells sang out - no strange metal, by old craft wrought,
Marking both joy and prayer in a turning world.

Cromwell hushed their songs - as musket balls scarred oak

Kin against kin over king or state.
A king restored, they pealed for Charles,
Two hundred years of peace and jubilation
Before darkness came and wars returned
And bells were stilled until the day a thankful village
Sang welcome to her sons.

And now, no wars to mark,
No dying bell to track each final breath
No sanctuary offered against arrow, spear and sword
Yet still across the valleys five bells peal
Grandsire triples and Treble Bob Majors -a ringing team
A single bell, the weekly call to prayer
Thus bells remain a part of village life
The people’s heart .


November 2005


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Two seasonal fragments


I remember the day

There was fog

Silence and stillness

Muffling voices

Hoofbeats pounding on the road

Black coats, red coats

Horses steaming

Hounds silent

Tongues lolling

A horn sounds!

Everyone charging down the hill

Searching for a kill

Swallowed by the fog

Then, from the whiteness

An old red fox trotting calmly

Up the field

Away from the pack

To the safety of the cover up above.


I remember the day

It was hot

Stubble scratching bare legs

Sitting on straw bales

Drinking sweet tea from thermos flasks

Waiting for the combine

Waiting for the trailor

Holding my breath as they drew side by side

The long, slow slide of golden corn

Dust-ridden clouds rising

The hopper suddenly empty

The tractor slowing, turning

Driving out of the field on its way to the barn

Rushing to open the gate

Fetching more tea

Cheese and tomato sandwiches

My father’s face tired, his shirt thick with barley hales

Dust, heat and harvest.


June 2004


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Let it not be said

That Spring hides in the shadow of the trees

Or slumbers ‘neath the hedgerows of the leas

Until drawn forth in willow beds

It shines anew in greens and blues around the pond

Reflecting silver ripples on each wave

Breeze-delivered cherries to each nose

From blossoms pink and fragile, waving fronds

That dance and glow with light celestial bathed

Such golden light a’shining on the rose.


Then comes the night

With softness creeping o’er the sleeping world

As petals hide their colours tightly curled

Until called forth to view another sight

The moon a’sailing high within the sky

Her brilliance shining bright on earth below

A silver pathway forms on sea and land

A light to show the traveller passing by

To guide him safely whither he must go

Her silver light such treasure in his hand.


April 2005


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