Derwentwater – Friar’s Crag
Sitting above you, my feet on rock,
My bottom on a thoughtfully placed bench.
I ask you…
And you wash over me.
The sound of your cells colliding,
It is the buzz of connection.
The voice of the world,
All its cells moving together,
You flow over and through me,
We are one.
All at once – bonded together.
Free of separation,
I am one with the world,
As are you.
This tingling dance of life,
Swiftly and easily,
Through my flesh
And hard bones!
How I delight in flowing like you do.
Ever changing – as you are,
With the wind,
The Cumbrian skies.
Different, but in truth the same.
With every visit,
We share contemplation.
You show me with mastery,
The way life is when true essence prevails.
That strengthens my ground.
I am rich,
I am abundant,
I tear myself away.
Letting others sit with your wisdom,
My heart is open,
‘Stay with me?’
I know I’ll be complacent,
Allowing my true essence to fade,
I ‘will’ need your teaching again!
Passing time back then
A new car clutch,
We leave the 2CV,
the sun shining.
Through the iron swing gate
we follow the footpath on the map.
A different world from behind,
green dew drenched grass, a winding stream.
A startled heron spreads its wings
lifts in heavy beats.
Bushes filled with blue-black berries
we pick and eat.
A boggy patch, an awkward wooden stile.
We find the place to sit.
The stream flows in both directions.
Why the whirlpools?
Water oozes from the edge of the bank.
Grass and vegetation, a land-drain surely.
Have sandwiches and a drink.
Willow warblers – they’re late
left Stainmore a week ago.
Haverick Pool, Seaweed!
Rising tide from the sea?
Or a fresh water stream.
Time to go
Awkward wooden stile,
blackberries in a sandwich box,
winding stream, sun dried grass,
through the iron swing gate.
Down the dusty slope to the long sweep of
gold sand and the beach café’s garlic gambas
and Pablo’s distinctively rich dark brown
coffee where the chief scent of the morning
is of suncream and warmed skin and quiet
conversation is accompanied by
out-of-control symphonies of wind-blown
wires thrashing the masts of a rainbow of
sailboards – and yes – we come here every year
to tell again of the turquoise and the
turtles and shyly aware faithfulness
to-a-fault to these times and to these hot
prawns and coffee like this and even to
the same sun oil and quieting stilling
soothing murmur of the ocean of love
and abiding in hearts and souls that know
one another so well that the shoreline
paddling and the holding hands and the light
and the deep and the sad and the funny
conversation and affectionate and
glad recollection will carry us both –
after our falling into the deepest
of deep sleeps – unto shoreline and sunshine
of our universal eternity
Whitehouse Farm Road In Winter
She trudged along the well-worn path her boots sinking in the freshly fallen snow. In the distance, a muffled hum of motorway traffic was the only sound to disturb the hush that accompanies snow, on this foggy January morning.
In the field on her right, Blackface sheep huddled around a feeding trough. They stopped chewing as one, staring at her passing, with defiant challenge, or ovine innocence? She wasn’t sure which. To her left, a small herd of roe deer emerged from the trees.stepping gracefully in single file along the edge of the field. A charm of chaffinches and one lone robin, red breast flashing crimson against the winter white background, darted in and out of hedgerows searching for food amongst the tight, thorny branches.
As she approached the railway bridge her pace quickened, she’d heard the rumble of an approaching train. Just in time, the London to Edinburgh Pendolino express thundered down the trade passing beneath her on its way to the next stop.
Turning to retrace her footsteps, the wind in her face, she halted to take in the view that always took her breath away. Spread out before her lay the bustling market town of Penrith, nestling in the lee of Beacon Hill, the tops of the mighty Pennines a magnificent backdrop. And this is where I now call home, she thought with a smile, before continuing on her way.
It’s in the space between my words
In the junk in my DNA
In the pause between the lub and dub
The losing of concentration.
It’s in the daydreams
The unheard echo of silent screams
The data that cannot be set
The Doppelganger unmet.
It’s in the breeze, in the sunshine
In the taste
Not the food, not the wine.
It’s in the inner outer space
Where I am.
In gratitude to the wobbly footbridge over the Middle Derwent in Portinscale, where I live
Run River Run Below my feet
Under the wobbly bridge
Over my troubled waters.
I was only just a wobbly teenager
When I first wobbled across.
Sat for the first time in a kayak
Did capsize drill in an eddy near the edge,
In the Middle Derwent.
Skiddaw was unmoved.
I learned how
Not to drown.
I stop in the middle sometimes
Notice where the water flows back on itself
Like an afterthought,
Something needs a second look.
Now I cross this bridge almost every day
Walking, running, on my bike,
It’s only just wide enough for that.
I’m going somewhere I’m coming home.
The bridge always wobbles.
I’ve got used to it.
You were tender to me then.
As we walked the muddied and mottled path.
We can walk it now,
Only slower and less silly.
You were careful of me then.
Gazing at the vast gouge, now filled with water
With lumbering ducks racing low across the lake
And a pair of swans, enraptured of each other.
You were happy with me then, less unyielding.
We laughed at the beauty,
Felt the joy of it.
Dipped a hand in the clear sweet pool.
I was a nicer person then.
It was all so easy on the well-worn path
That took us round the lake.
And never once did we try to love.
It came naturally to us then.
Hartside in the Eden Valley was one of the first places our daughter took my wife and I to view when visiting her in the the Lakes a few years ago. She was disappointed that although the views were wonderful, they would be better seen on a clearer day. A second visit has, since then, been on my list of must do’s.
I decided that before age dictated my means of transport, I would follow the example normally set by my daughter and make the arduous journey from Stainton by BIKE.
After resurrecting, cleaning and oiling the bike, which was thought by some to be a family heirloom, the journey began. I quickly left the busy streets and roads of Penrith and hit the country roads. Head down, sweating profusely, I forged onwards and upwards. Without warning a fox darted across my path, I swerved, lost control, left the tarmac and ended up bloody and wounded in a deep ditch at the side of the lane.
I managed to climb back to the road, staggering dizzily, but staying on my feet. Time wasn’t resonating and as if in a mirage, a red BMW drop head coupe pulled up alongside me. The driver was a very attractive woman with a dark flow of hair, wearing a half-buttoned blouse. She asked what had happened and if she could help.
Having explained about the fox and the ditch, she shouted ‘get in the car, I live not far from here, I can bathe and dress your forehead and get you some help.’ ‘Oh, no!’ I replied, staring at the half-buttoned blouse, ‘I don’t think my wife would approve.’ ‘Don’t be silly,’ she replied, ‘surely your wife would want you to get help’ – after which I climbed into the front passenger seat.
Her home was at the end of about a five mile journey, during which I noticed she undid more buttons on her blouse, exposing more of the soft skin of her breasts and arousing a long subdued feeling in my loins.
Half an hour and three cold lagers later, my forehead cleaned and treated, she suggested I take off my shirt and even perhaps my trousers to see if there were any other injuries requiring attention. ‘Oh, no,’ I retorted, ‘my wife certainly would not approve of that.’ ‘Why ever not,’ she replied, ‘and in any case, you don’t have to tell her, do you? And by the way, where is your wife?’
‘Still in the ditch with the tandem, I suppose,’ I replied.
Mrs F’s Fine Food Emporium
There’s a café in the town
that’s not to miss
with a poster saying
50 cents a kiss!
There’s an old piano
anyone can play
and people come and
brighten up the day
The coffee’s good, the soup as well
and cakes too numerous to tell
There are sofas and individual chairs
and dogs are always welcome
no-one minds the hairs
And if you are a one
who likes to knit
there is a shelf of wool
and you can sit
and do a stitch or two
or take away
and bring the knitting
back another day
The candles round the room
all help to give
a welcome atmosphere
So come to Mrs F’s
and rest awhile
You will be greeted
by a cheery smile