I believe in miracles

There was a kind of magic that earlier spring, under the Quantock ridge, where Hope Corner Lane crossed the Kingston Road.  If we left home early in the half light, before breakfast, the white owl would still be ghosting alongside the hedgerows on silent wings to take a last late vole... Read more »

Out for a duck!

They called him ‘The Fire of the North’.  Once a soldier, man of action, with connections to the King,   A traveller, he healed the sick  From Dumfries to Berwick,   Made miracles from Durham to Dunbar, Received acclaim from Rome.   . Be our bishop, they cried.   At first, he denied.  Too much work,  he replied.  I need peace, time and space to converse with the... Read more »

He brings me frogs

When trees turn dim and lose their scent, And birds have ceased to call   When nighthawks glide through misty glades    And fiery Mars comes up from shades When fireflies blink and crickets wheeze. and deer cough deep and owls sneeze   The sky spreads its carpet of myth Up ending Orion, while I, sitting on a stone, move... Read more »

Winter 2010; A Celebration.

It’s so clear in the freezer; the sky deeper.   Steam rises from the falls, turns grass stems to prayer flags, trees into wedding gowns.  The windows of the big house, shine gold and Thomas Payne’s excellent bridge burns like a biscuit      against moors of palest pink   Crystal deep, sparkling deer join cosy sheep In a warm circuit of silage, fermenting an uneasy friendship  in cloven harmony... Read more »

Back to Basics

The cottage peers anxiously over the terrace wall to where the road leaves the rushing Esk and winds up the hill to the rocky platform upon which the Romans built their marching fort and complained about the rain.  Then the focus is taken up again, up the repeating green slope... Read more »

High Flight

  The mountains are their playground, the crags, the fell, the muscular ridge, the scouring dale, the tumbling water, the gliding, striding, sliding edge.    Beating time like boatmen, their pinioned oars hum in the stiff'ning breeze. Dark against the weather, they surf the breaking storm.     The sudden call, the stall, the mock attack,    the plunge; the breakneck beak.    The... Read more »

It’s summer; so follow the geese, go north!

  Exhausted with the pressure of  work, the bustle and clutter of city life?  Then don't head for the crowded beaches of  the Mediterranean,  follow the geese; go north to Finland.      Arola farm is in the region of Eastern Finland known as Suomussalmi, just south of the Arctic Circle and within sight... Read more »

A Pledge of Owls

Where the reeds meet the meadow by the longer shades of day, pale as scalded milk, you ghost by,   weave arabesques in still air;    your faint heart scans for signs of life,    the fluorescent tag of fear.  Then you twist on folded wings, turn on a tussock, drop, reach,     close, and fly  away to... Read more »

The Darker Angel of the North

Soft, silent, you came With the breeze over the pines, a northern angel, wings spread, Feathers like fingers, Feeling, catching   Every nuance.   A master of energy, you exploit the faintest currents of air.  You hardly seem to move, No beat, no flap, just a hint of tilt,  and an opening like a fan, of wingtip and tail.     You close the span, narrow the profile, incline... Read more »


Her trick is her tail, Flashing red, flicking, vibrating, shivering, never still, seducing, enthralling, enticing, her whistle a question the answer a scold. She's such a tease!   Please!  Oh, please!   But to be frank, She's not a lot to look at, a dull olive green, she hides herself in leaves, but the tail's a give away, this brazen hussy is all tail.   But what of the... Read more »

After the rain.

A curtain falls across the secrets of the ghyll, the pond whispers, trees tap, rocks - the very earth turns darker still and sense is flooded with despair.    And after the rain,    a drowsy peace,     the melancholy air warms, thickens, grows darker, greener. Buds burst, leaves stretch, reach out to fill the gaps.     Close your eyes, rest, listen, feel   how soft lamentations of blackbirds heal the wound, and when... Read more »

The Running of Spring

  In just two weeks, the greening ghyll Hides naked shame in mystery,   The bluebells darken, the chestnut shakes its spears,   the butterburr is over and bees visit the comfrey.      In just two weeks, the screaming swifts claim the skies, blackcaps chatter in the leaves and the cuckoo returns slack-winged to the windy walls.      In just... Read more »

Chatsworth, Good Friday 2009.

Grey with grief, the sky wept Windless drops, a softer tap, that hist, slipt and glist; a gentler keening, a meaning in mist, its wraiths clinging to the side of the hill; the greening of reverence.  .    Narcissus bowed its head as the early bird Uttered a muffled refrain, and black-cross daws, glid down from the shadow of... Read more »

Not for you

Not for you, the intimacies of the night,   you like the light, the freedom of dawn, when scampering winds shepherd clouds over the hills of your dreams.        Not for you, the beguiling song of the blackbird, The one you cannot trust.   You prefer the high rise worry of larks, the pied piping of oystercatchers, the querulous... Read more »