As the great year quietly wanders by, inspiration often taps on my door. It is then that the voice of creativity gently speaks: sometimes in words, sometimes in pictures. I listen, and always follow its call, for it leads me to a special place - an invisible realm, where my thoughts and visions of all that passes are reflected in art, photos, rhyme and song.
It is my writing that leads me with the greatest strength, and as the words manifest they entice me into another world where I become infused with the essence of their meaning. The route to its source is boundless and is never far away.
Ripples of Inspiration is a page for some of my reflections, which I will add to as the seasons pass.
for new entries
Shades of Winter
The horizon tapers into a mottled grey,
And blurs into a pastel, ethereal array.
Its nebulous form, a soft, pink hue
Through jagged trees it filters through.
Our pathway meanders, hedgerows we chase
And mud-filled furrows we slowly trace.
We sludge, but we chortle. Forward we amble
In a frozen wind. Contented we ramble.
But gladly now we welcome the lane.
Oh the ease of its surface! Distance we’ll gain
Whilst primroses stud its quiet, dark banks
And gnarled oaks guard its long, winding flanks.
The wide, open fields are sepia, forlorn,
Dappled with the stubble of last harvest’s corn,
Enticing the rooks to gather and feed,
To forage and relish any forsaken seed.
The air is filled with their harsh, coarse cry.
To a newly ploughed field, together they fly
With the thrashing of wings, a blur of black,
As away they vanish, we return to our track.
The afternoon light does gradually fade
As the sky it tumbles into a silver brocade.
The landscape is moody; beautiful and wild,
By its unharnessed spirit, I have been beguiled.
Silent, alone in a crumpled field pleated by the plough,
To the majestic presence of morning, a figure takes a bow.
He gently tips his battered hat, ebony as a raven’s wing,
As the winds of March do softly blow, he welcomes the season of spring.
The winter long he’s guarded the grain, stationed at his sturdy stave
And abandoned it only once or twice, to mildly misbehave.
His patched-up clothes the crows do tug, they never seem to scare,
For his pumpkin face embellishes a smile, so the farmer’s land is bare!
Round and round the brown hares chase, they box, embrace the day,
As magpies bounce around his feet, their feathers in disarray;
Untidy, tatty, and not unlike, the garb that adorns the guise
Of the scarecrow who watches the russet soil, below the open skies.
Quietly she lays and awaits the dusk, in a field now graced with green,
She softly breathes. The catkins stir. Only by the white owl she is seen.
Her eyes are wild and amber, her fur brown and a-glow with red,
Oh how she does enchant me! My mind from me has fled.
The wind does bellow and it does blow. The hedgerow along she races,
Into the air she twists and turns as her freedom she embraces,
She crouches in the plough’s deep furrow, transfixed by the moon’s bright ring,
Light and darkness in the balance is held on this equinox of spring.
In the silver shadows I watch her pass, but her form does trick my eye,
Her silhouette it leaps and bounds, then vanishes into the sky,
And the dervish whirl of autumn’s fall is all that now remains,
As the scarlet flames of sundown, into darkness slowly wanes.
At the birth of a new March dawn, from an oak, the blackbird sings,
And the fair haze of this morning, a figure it now brings,
For in the mist a creature moves; she frolics, frisks through the air.
Along the hedgerow once more does race, the elusive, magical hare.
The Green Man
'Step into the forest, warm and bright,
Drink from the cup of golden light
And deep within you, your instincts will glow,
Whilst through your body, the sweet winds will blow.
Look up to my wild and mottled face,
Where foliage and flowers softly enlace.'
I wonder, to me, now, what will befall?
As I stand here alone, I, one so small,
But I hear your words, as the great boughs sway,
Then, in your emerald arms I gently lay.
Shafts of sun flood through new lime leaves,
Which shimmer and dance as the treetop heaves
And the air is dense with blossom’s scent,
All beings living are quiet and content.
Moved and moulded by this mysterious hold,
I am taken and enlightened by an energy of old;
Its music drifts sweetly, through a pale haze of blue
And its notes are a calling for the chosen few.
'The wonder of the forest is an untamed dream
And nature has taken you into its realm.
You are free now from the world you know,
Feel me as the very seasons grow.
Now, you can fly into a world serene,
Never lose touch with my spirit of green!''
Call of the Wild
The creamy lace of hawthorn yields to the deepening leaves of June,
Whilst the delicate warmth of summer’s breeze, it carries a distant tune…
The cuckoo calls, not once, but twice and allures from a secret place,
A beckoning from another realm; in my heart, it, oh I embrace!
I face an open meadow, speckled with buttercups bright,
Muzzy with downy dandelion clocks and the ox-eye daisy white,
But my gaze it lays beyond the line of where the hedgerow grows,
Where the foxgloves guard the blushing pink of the rampant, wild dog rose.
Cuckoo, cuckoo! Again it calls before a glorious, golden sun,
Pure, quite clear. I yearn to go. To the old wood I must run
And through its boundary then I pass, to its kingdom, safe, serene;
Its energy echoes as the canopy sings and shimmers with a radiant green.
I search for ‘that’ which beckons; now all else is left behind,
I crave to reach that quiet domain where I can leave my mortal mind
And I feel remote amongst the trees, yet it’s here that I belong,
Then, with myself, I am alone, and all twilight reflections, gone.
So, lost am I to all I know; here is all I see
As before the caller now I stand in perfect tranquillity,
For here in the wild I perceive myself in a radiant light anew
And I smile with joy as I hear the sound of a single, distant cuckoo.
The breath of July does gently sigh
As eternal blue beckons from my kingdom of sky
And lofty clouds amble their carefree day through,
So from my paling post I say adieu!
Freedom it takes me; high, high above I ascend
To an exhilarating height, beyond view I transcend
And elated I sing with such joy and delight,
As the land, I behold, from my hovering flight.
My eyes chase the tracks where the traveller does walk,
Endless, dusty pathways, engraved in the chalk
And it traces the slopes of deep, verdant flanks,
Freckled with grasses and orchid filled banks.
The sun now it scorches. The hills laze in a haze,
But cool is the woodland, which fringes the maize
As slowly it tints to a pale, flaxen hue.
It hushes and whispers as a warm breeze blows through.
Soft, scarlet poppies elegantly sway
And encircle the Ridgeway with their exquisite array,
Whilst bright, auburn fritillaries over hedgerows do rush,
Over willowherbs and the elder flowers’ ivory flush.
Two walkers, close friends, I watch follow the Way
Of the ancient South Downs on this fair summer’s day,
So I sing a fine song. They stop. Me, they see,
Their faces of joy, oh it fills me with glee!
I drop with the wind as the fast swifts they swoop
Way over my head, with the swallows they loop,
So to my old, faithful post, for a while, I’ll return,
Till for my cerulean domain, once more I will yearn.
Golden eyes, two, open wide, ignite an ebony face,
Into the shadows she softly treads, then vanishes without a trace.
I stand, awaiting her return, seduced by the cool, damp air,
Excitement races through my veins as into the dusk I stare.
The seasoned smell of drifting smoke, to my senses it does find,
Childhood memories whisper: call from the echoes of my mind.
Still, I hear the laughter of two sisters long ago,
Racing the wind, wild and free whilst their rosy cheeks did glow
And the wind, forever it does blow; the apple trees shiver & cling,
Onto their leaves of ochre yellow. The fruits are gathered in.
Daisies fold in the waning light, but the hydrangea makes its stand,
Its lacy caps of rusting cream in clusters look so grand.
Playful are the silent moths, who across the garden fly,
Whilst the jagged silhouettes of bats merrily flitter by
And I watch them dance into a sky of dappled, oyster grey,
With a central reminisce of blue over where the dark clouds lay.
Soon the clouds pass on their way, and before the last pale light,
Like chariots across the heavens race, proclaiming the coming of night,
Then, from the shadows a familiar form, warm and soft does creep,
Golden eyes, two, open wide has now come home to sleep.
The ageless hill stands tenebrous, but proud
As the great sun sinks, casting a radiant shroud
Over cumulus clouds; in the sky they unfold:
Magnificently sculptured with bright arcs of gold.
Spiky hawthorns along the ridgeway align;
Dark, unclad branches tangle: entwine
And bend in the wind; they toss and unfurl
As old, fallen leaves around them do swirl.
The stillness of the mound: it beckons: it calls;
To go to it, I yearn; I am lost in its thrall
And to climb it I urge: its solitude to share.
I thirst to breathe its fresh, pure air.
In my mind I stand on its vast, open crest.
The echoes and cries of the ages I ingest.
Time is inert, yet lost to it am I
As past and future before me do lie.
Silently a barn owl swoops from its post;
It hovers in the shadows like an enigmatic ghost,
Then with feathers so soft, away it does fly
For the hour of gloaming it is nigh.
But lest I’ll lose sight of that glorious crest:
A haven close by, where time it does rest.
I imagine those clouds, sailing gently through skies
Of bright, new dawns where the sun does rise.
The Enchantment of May
Shadows dance in a pure, pale light through a viridescent haze.
The depths of the woodland, warm and still, welcome spring’s early days.
May now drifts on a scented breeze in a myriad of green;
Deep amidst the ancient trees. All is quiet. Ethereal. Serene.
I follow a brimstone’s delicate flight, along a pathway winding through
Pungent ramsons, which densely merge with perfumed bells of blue.
Way above from the arching boughs of a hawthorn’s magnificent height,
A shower of petals cascades down in a wonderful whirl of white.
Its open branches touch. Entwine with the leaves of oak and beech;
The emerald palms of a sycamore, its furthest tips do reach.
Silence is broken. A bright-eyed blackbird fills the air with song.
The fusion of fragrance from the wood is sweet. Spellbinding. Exquisite. Strong.
Feathery ferns they pave my way. A sunlit glade now lies ahead.
Lacy cow parsleys escort me out, with bright campions of red.
The spell of May has enfolded me; I am lost to its allure.
Before summer’s arrival, I shall return. That I will ensure.
Lord of the Trees
Herne the Hunter from Robin of Sherwood.
Created by Richard Carpenter.
The Rollright Stones
Over the Cotswold Hills marched an ancient king;
Across its prehistoric Ridgeway an army he did bring
Till halted abruptly were they by a crone:
Mother Shipton, as by some she was known.
The monarch she challenged with these words of few,
Giving clear instructions of what he must do:
'Seven long strides shalt thou take and if Long Compton thou canst see,
King of England thou shalt be.'
Off swaggered the king: counting each stride
But on the seventh, behind a mound the village did hide
And away in the wind his bragging was thrown
For said he: 'Stick, stock, stone, as King of England I shall be known.'
Coarsely the witch oh she did chortle!
Then defined the fate of this regal mortal:
'As Long Compton thou canst not see
King of England thou shalt not be.
Rise up stick and stand still stone
For King of England thou shalt be none;
Thou and thy men hoar stones shall be
And I myself an eldern tree.'
Instantly to him befell her wicked aim
For he and his men, standing stones they became.
And still they stand, embedded in chalk
In a timeless place where travellers walk
In the hope that one day, the magic will be shaken
Thence an ancient king and his army will awaken.
In the Winds of October
Noisy rooks gather; their cries suffuse the air.
Over ploughed fields they swoop: dark wings flitter and flare
As a tempestuous breath, across the valley it drones,
Along sparse, ochre hedgerows it blusters and moans.
It thunders through my soul. Across greensward I race,
As an amber light dances upon the old forest face;
Into its depths I then bound. To my realm I return:
To the sanctuary of its canopy, for it how I yearn!
In the mists of my mind, from royal blood I have fled,
From the threat of the bow, in the chase I then sped
And from untold captures, myself, I have freed:
My prodigious power. Unabating speed.
Haughty I stand: a stag of magnificent red.
Imposing, branched antlers sit high on my head.
Now I am king. Stately. Supreme.
Wild. Irrepressible. My crown is agleam.
I am the life force: the whisper in the trees,
Which echoes and calls from a timeless breeze.
I am the heart of all those who see.
Ageless. Impenetrable. Here I am free.
On the flailing tree tops, pale-faced corvids alight
As the mahogany land, the sun does ignite:
Casting great shadows across the valley below
As the unrelenting wind does bellow and blow.
The Artful Reynard
Over the Yorkshire Dales a peregrine flies high;
Upon the rough, icy wind it soars across the sky,
Then with broad, barred wings of cream and black,
It stoops and plummets for a lightning attack.
Suddenly there’s a sound: the blare of a horn.
Serenity is threatened; from the wild it is torn.
The raptor gives warning. Clearly it calls,
Whilst below it a thundering pursuit now befalls.
An explosion of aggressive movement betides
As a master huntsman in a scarlet coat rides,
With many behind: Charging. Tearing
On galloping horses, with nostrils a-flaring,
Whilst unbearable barking resounds from a pack
Of big, bated hounds, hurtling along the track
And as the horrifying hunt initiates its fun,
A frightened creature ahead of them does run.
But this beast is resourceful; he relies on his guile
And plans to outwit this gaggle most vile,
So with a rigid, wry smile he masters his fear
As into a thicket he hastens, then the wood he does clear.
But behind him still echos the braying and the whips:
The thudding of hooves as across the gnarled wood he slips.
The horn it still blasts. How his heart it does pound!
He pelts across a field as a plough turns the ground.
He races on. He rests. Low on his belly he lies.
Then concealed, he watches with sharp, amber eyes,
But already the ploughman, the hunters have passed.
To outsmart his enemies he’ll have to think fast!
Well, he’s cunning and astute. He knows his domain
And thinks of the river, beyond the hedge-lined lane,
So hidden from view, swiftly he proceeds
To reach its flank quickly; to evade them he speeds.
He sidles down the bank: slippery and steep.
Into the water he launches; it’s treacherous. Deep,
But he’s strong and determined: a beast in his prime
And in no time at all, on the other verge, out he does climb.
His thick winter coat he shakes in the sun.
Across the gelid expanse he sees those he’s outrun:
Disgruntled and foolish, for catch him they did not
So now with his tail lashing, away he does trot.
1. Today I walk the South Downs Way
With my childhood hand-in-hand,
For memories through my mind do sway
Of those summers long ago;
Still, bright flowers adorn the grass:
The daisy and buttercup bold,
Which pave the pathway as I pass,
With the tiny speedwell swaddled.
2. The exquisite orchid quietly speckles
Steep slopes and shady banks:
A delicate purple with crimson freckles,
Scattered sparsely below butterflies of blue.
Skippers dither with the marbled white
And the joyful fritillary,
Whilst a dragonfly swoops with all his might
As busy bees tumble and hum.
Solstice at the Long Man
3. High above a twittering lark
Celebrates the gift of flight,
With an explosion of song he makes his mark
Below a scorching sun.
The horizon runs to a distant sea,
Kissed by a cloudless sky
And eternity’s landscape is given to me
From the Ridgeway’s endless track.
4. And so upon this solstice day
The chalk giant guards the hill,
From his verdant realm along the Way,
Above the corn and poppy red.
Now I watch the blushed sun splash
My view with dusk’s bright splendour,
As chattering swifts, they chase and dash
Up into the evening wind.
The spirit of Yule has now long passed. Still winter prevails close by.
A lively wind it whistles and whips from a freezing, ebony sky,
And nightfall of this Old Twelfth Night summons a flurry of snow,
But from the darkness of the orchard, soft amber lights do glow.
Forge the Wassail King and Queen! Their lanterns pave the way.
A torch-lit procession follows, of jollity. Wondrous array,
And two regal heads the holly crowns; mistletoe and ivy enlace,
Aloft blackened faces, in fine attire. An ancient ritual they embrace.
Carried high is an ample bowl, brimming with hot lamb’s wool,
As streaming ribbons and evergreens around the sides do fall.
All now quaff with rosy cheeks. Toast soaked in cider they bring
To the greatest tree: where around its trunk they gather, dance and sing.
Into gnarled branches the offering is laid. Over its roots, the juice they pour;
A plentiful crop this will ensure of ruddled apples galore.
The revellers holler in unison. Pots and pans they bang and bash.
Blast hunting horns. Fire shotguns. Trays and buckets together they clash:
To banish evil demons. Arouse the sleeping tree,
Keeping it safe and in good health till the harvest it shall see.
The orchard, now wholly wassailed, stands quiet in a cloak of snow.
That icy wind of January through those boughs it still does blow,
But the magic of the ceremony this night it has been cast,
And till autumn’s yield of bountiful fruit, its protection long will last.
The great wheel turns. Here alone am I.
Before me a vast golden land does lie:
Filling my heart with such delight,
I race the wind in the morning light.
I leap. I bound. In the cornfields I dance.
O’er hills I race; from their deep slopes I glance
Aloft, way above the old barrow long,
Where a skylark sings its beautiful song.
I listen: breathe the warm, sweet-scented air.
I am the wild and elusive hare.
The Marshes of Avalon
As the Somerset Levels salute early spring,
Celestial music the songbirds bring,
While soft catkins grace the slender willow,
And blackthorn blooms in the wild hedgerow.
Swathes of mist hang in motionless plumes;
From its nebulous depths a bittern’s call booms,
Resounding through the realms of a low-lying lea,
Where extraordinary myths augment history.
The day it is warm. Blows gently the breeze,
Awakening Avalon’s magnificent trees:
From its orchards, the apple: a prolific provider
Of bittersweet fruit for strong English cider.
Now races the river from the heart of Ham Wall,
Till an emerald tor its waters befall,
And crowning the summit of that spiralling cone,
A prominent tower of stone stands alone:
St Michaels. A chapel. An old sacred site.
Its silhouette sentinels with imposing height.
Here strong forces prevail; alignments unite,
As esoteric paths fork to darkness and light.
And in the wind, there’s a voice. It’s resolute. Arcane.
An ancient king speaks from a transcendental domain,
To those who believe, as lies he neath the hill,
Waiting to return: a prophecy to fulfil.
To this magical land many a pilgrim has been:
Enlightenment to seek, amid its ethereal green,
Whilst daisies with bright-yellow buttercups fused,
And marsh-marigolds across the mire suffused.
The Marshes of Avalon is one of my new
pieces of writing, inspired by many years of visiting
Glastonbury and its majestic tor. Here is an
extract of it and the full version will be found in my new book
Till I Return
Time now turns a tenebrous wheel,
But in the light of hope, you’ll gently heal,
As spiral the seasons in a whirl of green.
Serenity, once more, it shall be seen.
And here, in the shimmering haze of spring,
I await my return, when new life I’ll bring:
The bud. The wildwoods’ intricate lace.
The leaf. The land I’ll gently embrace,
So do not fear! For it all I see.
I’ll come. Bring joy. Watch over thee,
And in the delicate radiance of next year’s May,
You’ll sing. Dance, as woe drifts away,
Whilst gentlemen parade in dashing array,
With beautiful ladies in long gowns gay.
And giants will walk, music resound,
As playful hoodens prance and bound.
The drums will beat. Beat. Beat, beat.
Multitudes will gather: merry meet,
Till by summer’s hands thou shall be led,
When my emerald mantle will be finally shed.
Till then, time journeys to uncertainty,
Yet tranquillity, peace, again it will see,
And as Morris bells jingle neath a cerulean sky,
I’ll be amongst you, for the Jack am I!
1st May 2020
Beyond the Horizon
In search of the sun, two swallows fly
Across a deep magenta sky,
Bearing gifts of summer flowers,
As lighten the last of the raven hours.
And in their hearts great rainbows arc,
While flare the fires. Ascends the lark.
Hill to stone. Earth to air.
An ancient drum. A silent prayer.
All is still. Warm the breeze.
Gold is the light in the emerald trees,
And in the waking of a magical morn,
Two swallows salute the solstice dawn.
20th June 2020