Falling Ash Bough

I.
It rips the sky
with a devastating creak,
revealing the long wound of limbo.

Sky above falling ash boughII.
I run in fear
as the strong arm falls,
crashing across the path
I would have walked
but for the warning,
a message or sacrifice
in grey and green,
a wake up call.

Fallen ash boughIII.
I stand shattered in the miracle
that I am still standing
in the miracle
that yew and ash are still standing.

Yew and AshIV.
The woodland has lost its bough.
Light knows new dapples now
and I know nowhere is safe.

Fallen ash bough

Hunters Stone

I.
Take the high road that leads into nothing.

Cam Gill RoadII.
The highland cow decides which way to go next.

Red HighlandIII.
Thistles thrive where the going is arduous.

White Thistle and Marsh ThistleIV.
Greet the stone, haunt of deer stalkers.

Hunters StoneV.
Make an offering of breadcrumbs where the meadow pipit lays her worm to rest,

Meadow Pipit on Hunters StoneVI.
Then the mist will close in from both sides,

Mist over Whernside near Nidd Head VII.
The stone will turn round four times,

Hunters StoneVIII.
The world will turn with it

SignpostVIIII.
And no valley will be the same again.

Valley of Park Gill Beck

Going to Seed

When long days of summer
stretch out languidly in the sun,
sometimes it is good
to go to seed,
says cow parsley,
to let one’s leaves curl and rust,
stalks brownly darkening
to fibrous grey ghosts
wilting on winds
that know no splendour or power,
abandoning the joys of spring
to warm ignoble hours.

Cow Parsley, Greencroft Valley

The Horse-Gift

‘Whoso would ride to Gwlad o’r Annwn
Shall find himself without a steed;
How then, of whom, asks he the horse-gift,
Through floods, to fields, safe home to speed?
-Nick Ford, ‘The Plains of Annwn’

My horse is lost,
white mare of the meadows
with the morning mist
that cannot turn to dew
on grassy blades.

The fields are harrowed,
over-run by JCBs and steamrollers
that press the by-pass wider,
steaming, smoking its way
across once grassy plains.

I would rather not
remember this in Annwn,
trampling damp grasses to my knees
on the trail of a white mare
who keeps running further away.

The knight with the shining visor
and eyes of sincere blue
is searching for a girl
before the King of Annwn
takes away her memories.

I say I am not that girl
and he gifts to me his steed,
a dark war-horse who stamps
and steams to save my land
from the harrowing.

Now that knight endlessly tramples
plains of grasses to his knees
seeking the girl who seeks the horse
who seeks the meadows
in Gwlad O’r Annwn

where the King
soothes all memories away.

Well field, Penwortham

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*This poem is based on combination of inspirations; lines from ‘The Plains of Annwn’ by Nick Ford, which have haunted me since my first reading, the destruction of The Meadows in Valley Park in Penwortham, and a dream where I crossed from The Meadows into Annwn and met a friend who told me he was ‘searching for a girl before the King of Annwn takes her memories away.’

Nick’s poem can be found in full here: http://www.manygods.org.uk/poetry/epona.shtml

Come Red Robin

Herb Robert, Red Robin,
Pink Geranium,
come as Stinking Bob

with Foxes reek,
Death Come Quickly now,
tendril in on Dove’s Feet

with Red Shanks
bold as Dragonsblood,
Bloodwort come

snapping Crane’s Bills
in an orbit of Cuckoo’s Eyes,
Hooded Felon of the woods.

Come Great Spirit,
Adored Mischief-Maker,
Sacred Flower of Puck.

Herb Robert