Roots.

When I was a child
I scrambled along this same track,
my feet skimming these same roots.
I still know the footholds.
I was racing up my life,
eager to wear a new path
into adulthood,
longing to begin.

More than fifty years ago,
not quite a lifetime.

Each step was an adventure.
Grabbing hands,
curling toes
and silent shouts
forged a shortcut,
reaching out,
making an adventure
out of a long, dull trudge
up grey concrete steps,

More than fifty years ago,
in a different world.

Since then new young feet
have kept these roots visible,
as they climbed headlong
into their own lives,
kicking back the traces.
Each new generation has removed the earth,
saving them for the future,
and preserving the past.

It was more than fifty years ago,
but some things endure.

Written in Water.

I walk the edge of the sea,
watching the waves turn,
rolling out the minutes,
aligning the days,
singing the years.

My life has been written here,
my path freshly worn each day,
wiped clean by the tide.
My mark is made in shifting sand,
reflected in a shining sky,
blown out by the wind,
dampened by shivering grey fret.
A moment’s hubris.
It is for now.
It will not last.

Thoughts cast out
across the surface
of a floating world
lie for a moment,
then fade downwards.
Words unspoken, fears refuted,
joys concealed.
Lives lost in the darkness of the sea.
The sea which has heard everything
and says nothing.

I walk the edge of the sea,
rolling out the minutes,
aligning the days,
singing the years,
taking my time.

Here lies one whose name was writ in water. Feb 4th 1821.
John Keats epitaph.

A Spirit of Youth.

Ancient wood, gnarled and bent,
crippled with age and many winters,
beset by lichens,
scarred by wind and weather,
drinks deep from the cool waters
that bring rebirth.

Youth springs out,
sprays of grace and hope
leap over every branch,
wearing white as a promise
that tenderness and fleeting gaiety
will never fail.

A rush of beauty
overwhelms the hedgerows,
a fragile delicacy clings
to the ravages of age,
scattering white drops of renewal
and silent joy.

Other People’s Lives.

Other people’s lives
are not like yours or mine.
They float in the distance,
mocking,
teasing,
tempting.
They hover, just out of reach,
beckoning us on,
shimmying ahead.

Other people’s lives
hold secrets and tell lies.
They hide round corners,
peeping,
whispering,
wondering.
They make demands, claim space
spreading themselves loudly,
sucking out air.

Other people’s lives
are not like yours or mine.
We each walk our own paths,
hoping,
trusting,
coping,
Just one among many,
who slip bewildered
through a crowd of dancing strangers.

To this favor.

Drawn out, withered muscles
struggle to find strength.
Veins trace their way across
parched, translucent skin.
Here is the essence of a person
laid bare, anatomised.
Life preserved, dried, made strong.
A whole being reduced to
one slow, concentrated movement.

Fierce, fixed concentration
struggles through pain,
labouring to do what once came easily,
with unnoticed skill.
Hunted, angry eyes
stare out from a private place.
A hidden wealth of knowledge
fights fiercely from the core of its being,
still vibrant, wanting to live.

“Now get you to my lady’s chamber, and tell her, let her paint an inch thick, to this favor she must come. Make her laugh at that.”
Hamlet. Act 5 Scene I