Plot Lines

Her and Him

Him and Her


A story that drew them

Across the sea

Through mountain passes

By the lake

Through the vines

Along the beach

Coast to coast

In sunsets, at sunrises

On trains. ferries, planes

Bikes, cars, on foot

To caf├ęs, restaurants, hotels

Bookshops and op shops

To farms and gardens

Caravans, tipi, yurt

As shepherds, cowhands, gardeners

Vintners, juicers

Painters, carpenters

Chicken farmers

They worked

Then Earth tilted toward Winter

Its axis wobbled

Threw them out

Unravelled the thread

Her and Him

Him and Her

Started writing

Different stories

Without firm conclusions


CLP 15/01/2020

Butterfly (III)

Scarce Swallowtail, France 2017


From fruit to flower

As if by random chance

Following the sweetest scent

Unsettled by slightest tremor

Fluttering to fresh space

Sets down, silent, still

Absorbing heat of Sun

Full expanse of detail, colour, beauty

Revealed in staccato stretches

Then open display

She flew after

Gently removing

Each of my wings*

And leaving me

Learning to walk again


n.b. Wings intact, just removed for safe-keeping.

CLP 05/01/2020


We found ourselves wading

As if through a warm flood

Feet disappearing into the pasture

Splashes at every stride

Showers of tiny crickets diving out from beneath our steps

Twin bow waves of flying flecks

Appearing from the depths below grasses in flower

We jibed through the sprouting thistles with their emerging purple coronets

Winced through cats’ paws of fiery nettles that lapped at our bare ankles

Delighted at moths looping up as Aegean porpoises piloting the path

Leading us deeper

With fingers trailing in the rising tide of summer


n.b. The heat of the late afternoon, after a lazy afternoon at the Donyatt village fete, brought out the young crickets, moths and butterflies of various sizes; all in shades of tan.

n.n.b. Cats Paws are little puffs of breeze that produce patches of ripples on an otherwise calm sea.

CLP 30/06/2019

Gathering Nest Materials

It’s been quite dry, so muddy pools, even in the deepest tyre ruts, are rare. This concentrates the efforts of swallows and house martins at collecting mud for their wall-mounted nests into fewer areas, making watching them work easier.

Unlike sparrows, who drop to the ground without a moment’s hesitation, the high-flying swallows and martins circle the puddle at the side of the barns at gradually decreasing heights before landing with an unsteady flutter. There is often a pause on grounding prior to collecting up the sticky earth.

Rarely do these birds carry out their material gathering activity alone. A thin cloud forms from an increasing number of martins and swallows. It spirals around, the sound of sharp, high-pitched cheeps becoming more obvious, before one lands by the dirty brown water, followed by some of the others. The impromptu mixed flock soon disappates over the hedgerows, (still mottled with patches of white flowers), leaving the puddle to settle.

If a solo swallow does appear, it does not pause, but swoops at speed to drink as it flies across the water surface. Meanwhile a passing white butterfly is snatched from behind by a passing sparrow, that nearly chokes on its papery snack.

A rain front is expected in the next forty-eight hours. Hopefully it will last a few days.


CLP 17/05/2019

On February

Fierce frosts bite morning

Noon sky wears Marian blue

Sun brings butterflies


n.b. This arid track, these browned brambles and dry ivy leaves, the dessicated litter and parched grasses are the backdrop for a vivid yellow, medium sized butterfly. The brilliance of the colour was breath-taking. It is in the picture somewhere towards the right. I saw another, larger dark brown butterfly a few moments before.

A bee was exploring some early flowering plants too. The concern is that the burst of unseasonable sunshine draws bees from their nests, or hives early and they then perish from hunger due to the insufficiency of food, that is if the frost doesn’t get them.

Soon after the yellow butterfly I was surprised and thrilled to see a small group of bright birds also flashing yellow. They dashed from the field edge to the top of the trackside hawthorns and settled long enough for me to catch up, before they flitted briskly on again. Eventually, realising my route was persistently pursuing the path, they turned into the safety of the middle of the adjacent field. These were highly likely to have been yellowhammers. Their chirpy song a welcome relief to the unremitting tedium of the Great Tit call that provided a backing track from Bognor to Bloxwich for me today, (apart from when I was on the train).

A little later, between Ford and Arundel, seven deer stood gawping at the passing train trundling atop the Arun Valley railway embankment.

February sunshine, welcomed by all, even if a little mystifying to explain.

Incidently, Marian blue is the light, bright, blue used to colour the dress of Holy Mary, Mother of God in medieval European religious paintings. This February’s sky has often been such a hue.

CLP 24/02/2019