I wrote this poem when my children were in the throes of teenage angst. Now those days are now behind us, I’m relieved to report that ongoing gritted battle between us is history.
Blood- stained stems spiral
with sappy springtime love.
Heart-shaped leaves frondle
over sticks and stones –
billowing in green pillows
across the garden. Clasping
strong young growth in a
snugly lethal grasp.
Madonna-white bells nod
sweetly as I tear through
massed tangles of stems
and blanketing leaves, to
reveal the maggot-pale,
mangled plants beneath.
My teen-smart offspring with
wary eyes, and sharp replies
rip through my pillowing love –
blood-warm and snugly tight –
the bindweed in my children’s lives.
Monday, 16 September 2002
Not sure where this one came from – except we get a lot of corvids on the estate where I live and I find them fascinating…
Why couldn’t dad be a raven? That’s what
I want to know. Ravens are horny and
trendy – whereas crows are scrawny and stoned.
We get to eat lamb’s eyes and carrion
while ravens star in a poem by Poe.
A horde of crows are murder, they say-
yet unkind ravens strut about at the
Tower of London. We put the caw in
corvid – they describe beautiful black hair.
It’s not fair! What’s wrong with crow power?
I’m on the hop, trying to understand
why my egg had to crack in a crow’s nest.
This sharp elbow in the beak feels as bleak
as a corpse on a battlefield, waiting
for a pair of corbies to land and feast.
Even our crows’ feet are damned as they claw
your skin, ageing the edges of your eyes –
while ravens are sexy with the sly draw
My bird fancies a raven.
He feathers her lovenest in my place
that foul fowl’s in for a nasty surprise
as I smash my crowbar down on his head,
cracking his raven skull under my blows,
turning his bird brain
food for crows.
We went for a walk in one of our favourite places on the planet – Highdown Gardens, a wonderful garden created by Frederick Stern on the south-facing side of a large hill just outside Worthing. It sounds ideal until you realise said hill is looking straight out onto the sea and takes the brunt of everything an English maritime climate can hurl at it, especially those salt-laden winds…
On this particular sunny day, we were treated to the sight of this water vole busily gnawing through leaves and scuttering along the bank. We watched her (we decided it must be female – the male was probably stuck indoors watching the cricket…) for nearly half an hour. During that time several people wandered by, but she seemed unconcerned. The name water rat seems all wrong – her fur was far thicker and her body shape quite different to a rat. What we did notice was the way she bobbed in the water as she flung herself back into the pond periodically and disappearing below the surface, before reappearing again.
It was when we were toiling up the hill, I heard the buzzing coming from the hellebore shrub and caught sight of this gigantic bumble bee. It’s difficult to judge from the pics, which I have enlarged, but this beastie was HUGE. Easily the size of a 2p coin and with a vivid orange bottom, and teddy-bear furred – she was the antithesis of aerodynamic. Yet there she was, grazing the flowers. I only have a point and shoot camera and find photographing bees quite tricky. They are easily spooked and don’t stay still all that long so was delighted when she obliged by continuing to crawl around the flower. I like to think she was bunking off from her daily toil and having a bit of a sunbathe in the spring sunshine…