Under the Sun

chittering swallows

whirring crickets, silent moths

seeking pastures old

~

CLP 30/06/2021

On Rain

thick dark soup of sky

ladles out downpour dollops

brook a bubbling broth

~

CLP 28/06/2021

Sheep

when we appear at the gate

their bleating starts

calling of ewes to lambs

lambs to ewes

locating each other in panicked calls

so anxious are they at our arrival

~

a pair of sturdy lambs burrow under a ewe

knocking the flighty beast off-balance

pull hard at her teats for comfort

lambs who already feed happily on grass

who merrily join patrols of this pasture

party to a gambolling gang

who normally ignore the stark-shorn ewes

lined by tines of electric shears

that have scored their skinned fleece pink

~

When our red quad-bike appears

these adolescent lambs cry

for more mother’s milk

perhaps instinctively aware

of what drives our human kindness

~

CLP 27/06/2021

The Magic Picture Tree

What do you see in the shape of this old oak tree

Shaped by lightening, prevailing winds, minerals and time?

I saw an opera singer, big as a house

Someone else a buried cross

What can you shape from this old oak tree?

~

CLP 25/05/2021

Time #1

when it’s been really hot

like today, close to the mid-point of June

eventually the blue begins to thin

as if mixed with a few drops of white spirit

.

the air moves a little faster

adding cool to shade

under the solitary oak

crowning the rise

.

arrhythmic sounds of a distant road backwash

strangely vigorous mid-afternoon songs of blackbirds

who call as if expecting rain

but it won’t, not yet

.

there is no accumulation of clouds

over the Blackdown Hills

just the wind seasoned by a dash of brine

chilled through months of swirling winter tides

.

provoked, other birds respond, goldfinches

keening for respite from potential drought

trying to sweet -talk moisture from the sky

to fill the hard-set hoof prints and tyre-track hollows

.

to soften the soil and freshen pasture

to fill the brook now wearing a skin

that barely covers its old bones

its smoothed stones lie dry, matted green

.

heading west into the breeze

every feather extended to the full

a buzzard floats along the hedge

then shifts its path toward the wood

.

I sit against the towering trunk

spine aligned to its hard rutted bark

listen to the plaintive songs

wonder at how fast my sixty years have gone

On the Road xxvi

Restlessness ceases

Traveller’s weary heart breathes

Grass soft underfoot

~

n.b. God bless her and all who sail in her.

CLP

On Pain

Wasps, nettles, brambles

Sting and scratch at our bare legs

Proof that Life is good

~

CLP 18/08/2020

On the Rise ii

Hot pockets bubble

Steamy accumulations

Form, swell; fit to burst

~

n.b. There’s a lot of it about.

~

CLP 18/08/2020

On the Rise

Bright, brighter, brightest

Venus tows Moon to zenith

Weary Sun awakes

~

CLP 17/08/2020

Fingers and Thumbs

Three of us it took, and over an hour, to agree

That all the cows were where they ought be

How many could we see and count

Fifty six should have been the right amount

Browns and blacks and Devon Reds shifted

As we counted, those huge beasts drifted

Heavy silhouettes turned to solid shapes

They moved and merged, seemed to evaporate

What was one, then sprung two more cud dribbling heads

Then a brown one suddenly grew six legs

And stretched out long until it was two

And so we had to start the count anew

Up on the hillside we saw them clearly

And at last confirmed the tally

Each of us found fifty six

But wished we had known the farmer’s tricks

.

n.b. To count the herd when there is no one about to help, organise the cattle to pass through a gate into the fresh pasture one at a time, counting them as they go

.

Christopher Perry

21st April, 2020