Tag Archives: summer

Armoured Knight

Armoured Knight

Armoured Knight stands guard on my sitting room shelf.
His post was once on my bedroom window sill.
He is part of my past.
An ornament I bought in a gift shop in Woolacombe
on the North Devon coast.
Souvenir of a summer.
1970. I was eighteen. Worked in a hotel kitchen,
my brain blown open by ocean,
I pined to find words for what I could hear in sea gull cries,
far and high in the sky,
yearned to see white sailed boats voyage out from coves
to Atlantis.
Photographs of sunsets never developed well.
My camera could not capture
the hues of heaven I saw on the western horizon.
Armoured Knight I brought home in my haversack.
2017. Sixty five now.
Years ago, I somehow managed to break his lance.
Now his right hand grips only air.
Once I had to glue him back on his black plastic stand.
But why now the mention?
Recently, late one evening, I turned my CD player on,
leaned back in my arm chair.
My body light, forgotten, I attended to song,
became just an eye,
my spirit clasped by the top joint in the stalk of my spine,
aware only of words and notes in the air,
my gaze came to settle on Armoured Knight,
stood guard in his place on my sitting room shelf.
His helmeted head suddenly moulded into a mask.
The mask melted to reveal a bare face,
that of a man, a captain of soldiers.
He stared at the ground. His face pale, bony, stern.
His thought on battlefields behind him,
wars he had witnessed, weapons used by men,
from bow and arrow, sword and spear,
rifle and cannon to machine gun and tank.
He grew more macabre than a ghost,
a foul portent, ill omen,
till he could be given no other name than Death.
There he stood, Death himself.
Cold, battle boned, sword sharp, hard.
The spell broken, the vision vanished.
Armoured Knight restored himself.
An ornament. Nothing more.

Blue Sails

Blue Sails

poem by Philip Dodd for the Six Best Poets Project
painting by Kathryn Carlyle

Narrow my eyes,
look out over the harbour,
strain till I know
my concentration is certain,
my vision clear,
free of mist and miasma,
distinguish boats in a line,
moored to the foot of a far wall.
At rest from a voyage,
blue sails sag in a low wind.
With them I would go,
feel and hear the flap
of blue sails on the blue sea of summer,
follow paths whale and dolphin may furrow.

Feeding Ducks In The Park

Feeding Ducks In The Park

I bought two buns from the bakery.
The shop keeper would have thought they were for me.
I had to smile on his wrong assumption
as through park gates I passed
into the green of grass and tree.
On my way down paths, between mown lawns,
I went to see the aviary.
Rare birds from foreign parts,
I studied through wire netting.
Peacocks stamping over gravel
remain in my memory.
In time I turned away,
continued my journey.
The smell of mud and water grew stronger,
the air damper, the closer I came to the boating lake shore,
till they were there, finally,
what I had come for,
some of them resting,
others web footing over wet roots and stones,
the ducks I had come to feed, a pleasure not a chore.
It was freedom, release from routine,
to throw bits of bread to them, chunks of my buns.
I smiled to watch them
squabble and quack over every crumb.
And when my white paper bag was empty,
I sat on a bench, under a tree.
Felt light, at peace, for it was done.
The ducks had come, eaten my buns to the last crumb.
I stood to go, stroll away.
They quacked and waddled after me.
Maybe I will sit there one summer
when my hair is grey and my legs are numb,
and smile on the memory of when I was younger
and I spent an afternoon feeding ducks in the park.
If I had nothing much else to do,
and blew loud on a kazoo,
I could almost sound like you,
ducks stalking rudely after me.
Where did you learn to be heartless?
Who taught you to be cold?
Cry to drain the darkness from your eyes,
try and haul back what you have sold.
I say to those who think and speak
from a negative root.
I prefer rough winds in an anorak
to stale air in a suit.
Cheerful times, things done for a lark,
like feeding ducks in the park.

 

Dandelion Time

Dandelion Time

Let me take time to discuss the dandelion.
From my kitchen window I saw it, just now.
All by itself it grows in my back garden,
on the edge of the lawn I have yet to mow this year,
between the bench, the bins and the fence.
Maybe, I thought, it only sprouted this afternoon.
Certainly, I did not notice it there, yesterday.
Let me consider what it means to me.
Firstly, it is a welcome sign of spring.
If summer is bold, spring is shy,
showing itself in small ways,
like a lone dandelion.
I went outside, to look at it, closely.
Took two photographs of it,
which is unusual for me, odd.
Looked to me in the grass like a yellow sun,
reflected on a green sea from a green sky.
No, not a weed to me, as it would be
to keen gardeners, as they are called, dismissed as such
by them, uprooted and dumped on a waste heap,
for only flowers they plant themselves from seed bags
have beauty in their eyes, but what it is, a wild flower,
like the blue bell, the snow drop.
When the ground is dry and I mow the grass,
the dandelion will remain, like a sun beam in a green glass.
Dandelion is from the French dent-de-lion,
which means lion’s tooth, I read.
How theyDSCN0326 came by that, I do not know.
Does not make me think of a lion or a tooth.
Sunshine, yes, as I have said.

Ramble

Ramble

Where is the wind when nothing is moving?
Does it rest in a hollow somewhere in the air?
And why ask such questions when no answers are there?

The cork and the rind left behind
with the essence of fruit eaten.
How many pips grow into a tree?
When the weather is kind,
I will sail out in  my boat on the water
from lake shore to lake shore,
and let life take me completely.
The sail on my mast white as a shred of the moon.

No talk in my mind, no contradictions,
feel free of it all, finished with fictions
bound in cold chains by negative force.
We are advised to never stop learning,
be prepared to be tested at the end of the course.

A bright but chilly March morning.
Birds in my back garden bush
for pleasure alone they high tootle and sing,
now I can safely say it is spring.
The road to summer opens.
Wonder where it will wend?
This ramble I end.

The First Fly

The First Fly

The first fly of the year.
It batted its wings,
flew from a corner,
out from a crack in the paintwork,
a slit in the window sill.
I sat very still, and watched it flit
about the air of my kitchen,
hit its head on a window pane.
Insects are forgotten in winter,
spring brings them back again.
It is late February fly,
I wanted to tell it.
You have woken too early,
fooled by bright sunshine.
The sun stays low in the sky,
gives no heat to my feet or my face,
and the frost has frozen my bin lid,
made hard my lawn,
traced white webs on the pavement,
but it is natural so that is fine.
Should have hibernated longer,
whatever flies do.
Insects have not been my study.
Where they are when they are not here,
I have not a clue.

Cold crumbs for the sparrows
lie on the roof of my shed.
In the bare back garden bush they chatter,
I wonder on what they have fed.
Sea gulls swoop in from the sea shore,
crows caw in the trees.
Spring seeds will sprout
when winter agrees.

In spring and summer we await the return
of the finch, swift and swallow,
not the wasp and the centipede,
the snail and the slug.
Apart from the bee and the butterfly,
insects are largely disliked,
dismissed as the bug,
especially by the farmer and gardener,
for on what they plant a flea may feed,
a white maggot may devour a seed.
It is nature, however, so what can you do?
Humans have been partly my study.
Where we are when we are not here,
I have not a clue.

 

A Seraph’s Smile

A Seraph’s Smile

It took a long time
for the garden to get that wild,
to look like a jungle drawing
crayoned by a child,
for those branches to sprout
from those bushes
my shears did not trim,
but the birds like to perch
and nest there,
so my desire to make them
look more ornamental
is less than slim.
Butterflies, bees, ants and moths
like the natural vegetation
known as weeds.
If I were more like Jethro Burdock,
I would plant more seeds,
grow some rhubarb and cabbage,
down where the caterpillar feeds.

It took a short while
for the juice to vanish from my glass.
Sunshine made me thirsty,
reminds me that summer
is one season you wish not to pass.
The television aerial attached
to the chimney pot stack on the roof
is but a metal perch for the pigeon,
not to mention the crow and the starling.
Gulls sweep in from the sea shore,
to keep me company for a while.
Summer is the season you want to stay,
its blue sky kind to my mind as a seraph’s smile.