Plenty of pebbles
Sunset glints and hints at one
That soon warms in palm
Plenty of pebbles
Sunset glints and hints at one
That soon warms in palm
There are some very long-lived people resident in Norfolk; the cool climate is clearly a contributor. Like living in a massive fridge, the chill stops one from going off, perhaps. I struggle with the dichotomy of clear blue sky matched with being perpetually cold. It is also true of this neck of the woods that there are few residents, apart from at weekends and during the holiday seasons, so those who are permanent are clearly hardy, adaptable folk.
I heard a remark today that captures an essence of this period. “The days go by so fast, but each day is so slow.” Something very strange is happening to our experience of time.
Today is another Wednesday. It is the fiftieth day of writing about what I am witnessing here, but it still all seems new. Perhaps this practise of writing something about each day keeps it so for me. The gradual emergence of Spring comes later here in comparison to the southern coast. I have an opportunity to note the natural changes as they arise.
I sense the changing tilt of sunlight in these days between Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice. This time when days lengthen and shadows shorten has often been lost to me before. School and then study and then work have always been busy during this phase of the solar cycle, so I am blessed to be able to immerse myself in it this year.
It is less than six weeks to Midsummer’s day, (just 46 days) and from then the days will shorten, the shadows lengthen. Of course, the air will be warmer, the soil heated and the long tail of Summer leading into Autumn will pass through some blissful days, but it is this phase, when each day is brighter and longer than the last that is the time of renewal, growth and hope. I pray that I am able to appreciate each one, as and when each arrives.
In the sunlit evening, I put on a thick, windproof jacket, zip it to my chin and step out into the blustery air. I do not treat the walk as exercise, but as a stroll. I take my time to move within, rather than through the landscape. This allows me to see the muntjac deer before it hears me coming, to enjoy the leverets chasing each other, to watch the rabbits nibbling and to study the hedge birds hopping about from branch to nest and perch. In one instance, in the wood on the hill, two young rabbits come towards me. I halt my gentle pace and am able to watch them for a few undisturbed moments before they amble off under the brambles.
This Spring I have been able to see the difference between blackthorn and hawthorn by the time of their flowering. The blackthorn is turned to green leaves before the hawthorn’s May Flower sprouts. The blackthorn covers large areas of the escarpment below the heath and when in blossom presents a picture akin to a dusting of snow. The hawthorn trees are more dispersed and so there is no blanket coverage to wonder at, but the hawthorn explodes into flower when the right conditions arrive, which here, this year come at the very end of April and now, the first week of the May.
I eventually turn onto the coast road, edging the old salt marshes. It is mayhem out there. Various hatchlings are out and parent birds are fighting tooth and claw to protect the young from marauders. I have mentioned the birds of prey and the carrion before, but now gulls are more commonly seen too. The larger gulls are not averse to adding eggs, or young to their omnivorous diet. The peewit parents exhaust themselves in defensive duties. It is now that their speed and agility in flight becomes vital to the survival of their species.
Another more commonly seen bird, overlooked and unremarked on because of its modest size, is the pied wagtail. There are several active around the Green at the bottom of the Purdy Street. These birds with jerky, clockwork movements are happy catching small insects. Sometimes they flitter a few feet into the air, almost in a hover, to catch something, at other times they walk restlessly, pecking to left and right at the ground for easier pickings. When they stand still, tail wagging up and down, with short, sharp, black beak pointing slightly upward, they are preparing to fly.
They seem to need a moment to compose themselves before springing into the air and making their way on an undulating flight path. They land with a silent splash of black and white, often not far from the point of lift off, before resuming their mechanical-toy movements. The pied wagtail emits chirpy notes as it goes about its business. Just enough to attract attention, not enough to call a song, although they do have songs in the repertoire.
At last an evening with some play – dominoes. This is a game that allows some conversation and distraction. It is not overly competitive, because of the luck of the draw, but a game that allows gentle conversation, whichever variation is played. I teach my sister two new variations and remind her of a third. An enjoyable evening.
After your on-line choir we talk by telephone for well over an hour, in fact until well-past midnight. I fall asleep exhausted, you find sleep eventually.
5th May, 2020
Purple bougainvillea tumbling from baskets decorated our way
In those hours without shade in the hottest heat
We found a route to that other bay soon enough
With its crumbling Crusader castle cut from a cleft in the high valley
Guarding over the café, squared-off with bleached tarpaulins
Sitting like a brig roped to the quay, its skeleton crew manning the gangway
You sheltered at a table with red chequered cloth
A lemonade to hand, listening to the dulcet whispers of cypresses
As I walked out over the heavy stones into the impossible blue
Where I heard that dolphins play at sunrise
With an eye to the Sun’s shifting, we shook off this dream
Stumbled into the bright, cicadas burring louder still
Untrusting of time, we chose a more direct path
Though paused to squint at the white-washed chapel on the cliff
Before we cut between concrete-terraced allotments
Their rusted-wire fencing caging yellow trumpets of flowering zucchini
Fig trees fit to drop, propped, tied up; files of leeks with folded leaves.
Bees hurried by, leading us via lemon scents through an alley
To the square, where the old man limped from his coal-black cupboard of a corner-shop
To bring chilled beer and green olives to our off-balance, plastic table
Where we could watch the porters making ready for the ferry back.
n.b. www.napowrimo.net 2020: Day 30 prompt: Return.
30th April, 2020
At last wind from the sea is welcome.
Dust not leaf litter blows along gutters
Pollarded beech trees add leafy tints
to Frensham Road.
The movement of people is looser
in summer shorts, blue shirt tops,
although blue and white of Pompey scarves
is still worn despite cricket weather heat.
Excitable sons gambol alongside
long-striding men looking ahead
ignoring twelve mid-year weeks,
while grandads show gentle interest,
kindly coaxing little lads back
onto root-lifted pavements,
answering high-pitched questions about who might play
and why another favourite won’t
and this and that and, and, and…Grandpa?
A block-shaped car
is parked particularly precisely,
a wheeled chair is removed,
unfolded, locked into shape
and careful, strong-gripped manoevres
position a determined animated,
colourfully dressed fan,
safe into place, ready to roll
to sit in concreted shade,
where eyes sharpened,
alight to athletic movement
on mown patterns, across white lines
pitched between flag-marked corners,
watch keenly every detail of pre-match
preparation and ritual.
Contrast from the shadowing South Stand,
marks near black on brilliant green,
cuts so sharp that momentary
sight loss flickers in eyes squinting
to adjust as they chase
colours, given stronger tone
by Sun set high with a perfect seat,
but who has to drag herself reluctantly away out west
before the final whistle,
but only after pouring one last gulped pint
of welcome warmth
into sun-glassed faces.
Impenetrable bright sky, sets off the scene in blue hue not seen inland,
so blue that stars behind become anxious
they will not get on to play tonight.
Wide-winged gulls’ cries of the sea are drowned at birth,
over-whelmed, engulfed in waves of voices,
by microphoned, amplified announcements,
strong rhythms, clapping, chants and songs.
For some this is the last match.
No substitute will step in when they get pulled from the pitch.
Some will know their part near played up,
others will depart the game in shock,
their removal a surprise to all.
Unfair, unwarned and fiercely questioned,
why did they get The Manager’s call?
Yet another sign of unfathomable tactics.
Next season, last game in fresh May
their names will be on the lips
of the man who reads The List
of those who once so happily
trooped along to Fratton Park.
Dedicated to Albert Perry “Grampy”
Mi distacco da te
e nel pensiero
ti porteró nel cuore
(M L Fagnocchi, Ravenna, fulgida d’oro)
– – – – – – – – – – – –
At the last hour
You open your heart to Love.
In response to a rather challenging http://www.napowrymo.net challenge, i.e. photo, poem in a tongue foreign to the writer, interpreted in native tongue to the rhythm of the original.