Equinox – Autumn

Thickened by the tired air

Sticky with ripened fruit

Slow, pitch black, distorted, stretched

Beyond recognition

These shadows of ours

Run out

Black rivers

Bleeding the last of summer’s heat

From our veins

Onto the misted ground

Into the thin air of autumn

Warmth no longer from within

We become reptilian

Bask on the cool stones

Of an empty beach

Where the skin-deep solar glow

Drains with the ebb tide

We hold the last of harvest gold

In our joined hands


CLP 20/09/2019

On the Millstream


Flicker reflected

Electric blue blur flashes

Seen or imagined?


n.b. The iridescent colours of the kingfisher are so vivid that the mind struggles to register whether it has actually been seen. So bright the blue, so fast the flight of this agile bird against the greens of the river and bank sides, its fleeting appearance draws a gasp of astonishment and then a questioning of the senses. Thankfully the call of this bird is distinctive and therefore ears and eyes can combine to reassure the witness that it was indeed a kingfisher that zipped by.


CLP 17/09/2019

On the Marsh

Neatly bundled reeds

Cut to length, left out to dry

Thatch; grown in Norfolk

n.b. About 90% of thatching material used in the UK is imported. The renewable roofing material, best suited to the temperate climate of these islands, is that which is grown here in the same environment as the buildings it will sit on. The health and quality of the reeds to be used can also be assessed by the thatchers before purchase. However, ‘cheaper’ (lower priced) reeds are bought in from South Africa, a country struggling with a history of colonial resource exploitation and appalling housing issues in the townships, where these renewable materials might be better used locally rather than shipped off to the UK. The price will not reflect the true cost to the environment of long distance shipping, nor the loss of local resource to the producer country, nor the loss of skills and devaluing of the resource in England if reed growing for thatching is undercut by cheap imports – although Brexit’s impact on Sterling’s value may balance that up a little (as long as there are still reed cutters in business to supply the products),


CLP 16/09/2019

On Second Thoughts

Too often tempted

To speak without thinking

Two breaths save me


n.b. A lid to a pottery cremation urn found near North Elmham, “Spong Man” sits reflecting on a life long since lived. This piece of funerary art is dated from the early Saxon era, (3rd / 5th Century CE).

The image I have used of this ageless pose is available under the terms of a GNU Free Documentation license published by the Free Software Foundation.


CLP 15/09/2019

Two Doves

Pure white at first light

Flicker in the grey, rise up

From emptied pasture


n.b. Where two Devon Red cows had been seen each morning, (until this Wednesday), usually scratching at the wire protecting the young tree, a pair of doves were sitting. I saw them alight their perch and fly up into the dawn. They reminded me of the last of the cattle that once grazed here at Thornfalcon.

CLP 13/09/2019

Blank Verse

I am tired

Words fail me

My brain fizzing

A blank screen

Seeking a signal

To no avail


CLP 11/09/2019

On August XXI

Now gone with all else

Held in cloudy memories

Bottled and pickled


n.b. The serious work has begun to collect the fruit, vegetables and crops from the summer. What must be gathered from the orchard floor and stored for winter; what can be collected from the vine and pressed; what can be cut from the plant and eaten fresh, or kept dry; what can be picked from the over-burdened trees and turned to juice, or pickled, or made to jams and chutneys; what can be best preserved frozen?

The stoves burn, jars are sterilised, temperatures carefully monitored; steam and sweetness fill the home. Hair tied back, aprons on while the heat in the kitchen turns us pink and sticky too during these long satisfying hours before labelling bottles and still warm pots and cleaning up in the company of curious wasps and to the buzz of frustrated flies.


CLP 01/09/2019

On August XVII

Grass turned to hay bales

Turf open again to sky

Crows stalk the stubble


n.b. The corvids leave the pasture in flower to other creatures, but as soon as the ground is clear they descend, spread themselves out, (respecting each others’ personal space), and start grubbing about searching for leather jackets and other insect larvae; anything tasty that just a few days prior was happy under the cover of the grasses.

CLP 27/08/2019

On August XVI

It is a little late in the year to make hay

Intense heat reduces to rain too frequently

Morning dew takes encouragement to lift

Cloud cover sitting like a cosy duvet on night-warmed bed has to be dragged off by the Sun

So the hours available to flick and line up the mowings are few

Time is short to bale and store

Interpreting the conflicting weather forecasts is a challenge

If it’s dry with hot Sun, the hay must be brought in now

We are on it


CLP 26/08/2019

On August XV

Morning’s welcome cool

Canvas sky hangs limp and pale

Ragwort bright as Sun


CLP 26/08/2019