The plate is empty.
The last drops of gravy wiped away.
Gone now their glorious array.
Where the roast parsnips?
They were consumed, no place to hide.
Here, I’m left standing
Like a piece of gristle pushed aside.
The Ivy bears a berry, so Christmas carols say,
And later in the winter, many birds will survive.
When bitter Ivy berries are the feast of the day
And, as other food is scarce, they help them stay alive.
But it’s too soon for berries, there’s other food around.
Now, through rain, hard frozen hail and later cold snow showers,
The Ivy waits its proper turn, its berries are still bound,
But to honour its faithful promise it now puts out its flowers.
I passed an empty house today – no one lives there now.
I stood and gazed a while at it, with softly furrowed brow.
The labour that went into it to build and shape its form
A place to raise a family and keep them safe and warm.
But now the birds have fled the nest, as young are wont to do,
The house stands empty and forlorn ‘til the cycle starts anew.
For start anew it surely must, for Spring will bring new life
And we must meet Nature again, the glory and the strife.
This is a wild cherry tree, there’s two or three along here.
We didn’t get many cherries in cherry time this year.
In spring the cherry blossom is impressive for a week
Lighting up the lane that winter left so bleak
Once the blossom falls, the cherries start to set.
And we start to imagine the harvest that we’ll get.
The choicest fruit are out of reach it always makes us frown.
But next year I’ll have my walking stick to pull the branches down.
I’ve fallen to pieces, I’m sorry to say.
It happened a while ago, on a cold day.
Jack Frost came by and he sprinkled his rime,
Together we had such a cracking good time.
He’s gone on his way – not a glance to the rear
And left me alone, lost and desolate here.
He took me out dancing and whirled me around,
I hoped he would never put me on the ground.
These memories all bring a smile to my face,
He’s a part of my heart I can never replace.
I miss him so much, but by the same token
I may be in pieces but I’m certainly not broken.
Isn’t it warm today, here in the sheltered sun?
Down the hill, we’ve walked together on our daily “run”.
Now it’s back up the hill, to the coffee we’ve earned,
And a sweet treat – to put back that energy we’ve burned.
Old age has come to limit our speed and our range.
Times past we ventured far, but times pass and times will change.
Growing old is a pain, but if it’s what we must do,
I’m just so glad, My Sweet, that I’m growing old with you.
There’s a hole in the hedge, and it made me think.
From this side to that side it forms a straight link.
Now, who made the space for the hole to fit in,
This side or that side, short and fat, tall and thin?
And weren’t they so clever, with wisdom so wise
That they made a space that was just the right size?
Now was the space they made, left or right handed?
Did it need drilling out or to be sanded?
Did it fit tightly or need to be padded,
Complete in its box so nothing was added?
So many questions with no solid answers
Was our space made by a couple of chancers?
A couple of years ago, a tiny oak tree appeared on the lawn.
Just a twig and two leaves, standing amid all that grass – quite forlorn.
Obviously a pioneer ahead of his time, an explorer,
Committed to an adventurous life, for richer or for poorer.
He brought many magical things, beads, mirrors and patterned cloth to trade.
He seemed a pleasant enough fellow, so we built, for him, a stockade.
Then, for safety and protection against the lawn mower marauders,
We established relevant protocols and left specific orders.
For as long as we continue to maintain a good relationship,
Never allowing our attitude of co-operation to slip,
And always support, for the long term, the decisions that we have made,
A hundred or so years from now I’ll be able to park in his shade.
‘Hello there, I see you’ve come this way again.
‘Out for some fresh air, it’s not too cold for you then?
‘Yes, we’re still here – been here millions of years
‘We’ll be around for a while yet so don’t waste your tears.
‘It was when the dinosaurs died we first took our chance,
‘And then again, when the glaciers began to advance,
‘Evolution wise it was all up in the air,
‘You mammals were in it too, wanting your share.
‘Our shiny leaves helped us to thrive in the cold.
‘You guys started burrowing, or so I’ve been told.
‘We both made it through – hot steamy swamp, ice and snow.
‘Hey! We grew up together, so give us a high five, Bro!’
The Crocalog has gone. He left a vacant place.
One day he just vanished, gone without a trace.
We missed his supine form, lying there repletely.
We searched for him each day, but he was gone completely.
The power vacuum created, gave us great concern.
Should we hold his parking place, pending his return?
Alas, alack and woe! It’s too late for our rover.
The Dreadful Duckalumps – have come and taken over!
NaNoWriMo Day 8 – Snow Berries
Snow Berries, Ghost Berries, Grouse Berries too,
Some bushes are laden, you bear but a few.
The green of your leaves, so deep and so dark,
A backdrop so somber, so grim and so stark
As mid winter nears, you offer no joy,
Pale face and dark overcoat that you employ.
Come cheer up! It’s not as drear as you think.
Sit here by the fire and I’ll bring you a drink.
The beck, though small, must ever change
with summer drought and autumn rain,
first deep and fast, now wide and slow again.
As they spread the waters branch
and in their split, we first could trace
the shadow outline of a shallow place.
As ripples curled and spoke anew
our shallows grew with subtle guile,
now reveals itself as a mystery isle.
And did, in those first days, Ymir and Chronos meet to plan the demise of civilisations seat? Did Ma’at their plot see and give herself the chore in stars good time, to raise Atlantis from the sea once more?
On our way up the hill, homewards – buoyed by the thought of a nice cup of coffee, we came upon this guy. He was pottering around on the road in a rather aimless manner. We pointed out that playing in the road did not comply with the local health and safety regulations, let alone the Green Cross Code. He was totally nonplused and eventually, we left him to his own devices.
He’s wearing his Sunday Best, he looked quite different when he was younger – he’s hoping to find a nice warm patch of autumn sunshine to relax in before he makes his way back into the brambles along the roadside and curls up amongst the leaves until March. Very sensibly, he has no desire to partake of the joys of winter – there is absolutely nothing on the television – so he solves the problem by sleeping through it.
Well, you know, he has all that pupating to do in spring next year and it always takes it out of you, so his solution is to get as much hibernation as possible under his belt in the hope that it will see him through.
So, if he is now asleep, snug under his bramble leaves (I wouldn’t want to upset him) I will just mention that the latest butterfly and moth survey noted that he is, how can I put this, well, just between you and me, he’s rather common.
I thought you might like to see this picture, even though it is a bit blurred. As autumn gets up to speed and the sun shifts his attention to the southern hemisphere, we have less and less light to work with. This means that we can’t expect to have the image in focus and at high magnification.
Those of you who are avid followers will recognise the beck and the relaxed form of The Crocalog. Earlier in the year, we had a Dipper in this very spot and the large white patch is evidence of his protracted occupation of this prime fishing site.
The current incumbent, shown here, is a Grey Wagtail. We have seen him before, but his usual perch is the rusty gate on the other side of the bridge. He was obviously impressed by the Dipper’s entrepreneurial nous – as soon as the Dipper moved on – he hopped over to this side and assumed ownership of the fishing rights.
Grey Wagtails are not seen that often – there aren’t that many of them around. In fact, they are on the RSPB’s Red List of birds that need special consideration, so we are quite pleased to see him. We had worried that the Dipper had chased him off.
When you’re down by the beck you might think that you were at the bottom of a deep gully. This is emphasised by the railway embankment running along the far bank. This embankment carries the railway line that traverses the country from Carlisle on the west coast – up over the Pennines, following the track of Hadrian’s wall – to Newcastle on the east coast. On each side, the line connects with the main north/south networks which carry the majority of the rail traffic. Our line is a quiet backwater that, mostly, carries only local traffic. The trains and I are on friendly terms – and I recognise them from the noises they make as much as by sight.
There is the screech and clatter of the ageing bus-on-train-wheels that ferries commuters back and forth. The slow and laboured grumble of the occasional long freight train on its way up the hill and the corresponding self-satisfied rattle of the same ensemble freewheeling its way west – downhill.
The most distinctive sound belongs to the Nuclear Waste. It has two engines (or units) one at the front and one at the rear (rear unit just out of pic). It travels fast – and the weight of the safety containment vessels shakes the ground in a throaty sub-audio growl as it rumbles past.
It comes and is gone in the blink of an eye so I felt lucky to get this photo.