Cow Parsley.

It’s the scent I notice first.
I have walked among it all my life
without thinking.
Still air, loaded with summer.
Long stalks shoot up,
fast growing, opportunist,
searching for light.
Tiny sprays of white
in a shambles of dull green
which fill every hedgerow.
Every piece of waste ground
teems with them.
There is nothing special here,
nothing to draw the eye,
yet each year they come,
claiming their space.
Their delicate beauty
is easy to walk past-
easy to condemn,
strim, scythe, behead,
but still they break into flower,
seizing their chance,
growing fast in the warm rain,
keeping faith,
being alive.
They seize their moment,
finding comfort in numbers,
shivering nervously
as they wait in hope.

On the cliff top.

Lay out your thoughts gently,
across a haze of misty blue.
Allow the sea to speak-
to be is not always to do.
You are not what you have earned.

Up sticks and take stock-
there are secrets to find,
new discoveries waiting,
hidden at the back of your mind.
See what you know.

Our striving is just waves on water,
driven by the winds of chance.
Waves sweep across our surface,
rolling, repeating, remembering,
hiding hidden currents of fear.

Breathe in deeply.
Relish the fresh clear air.
Put your life on hold.
Be here- now!

Digging for Bait.

My dad and I spent hours at low tide
searching for worms.
Special worms.
Nothing like the ones at home.
Worms straight out of science fiction,
worms from lurid, shouting posters,
worms from the pits of hell.
Evil worms.
They had thick black hairy skin
and their pulsating bodies
lay hidden beneath the sand.
They were right there
under your feet.
Waiting.

Each worm lay between a tiny wet circle
and a little swirling pile of sand.
It was my job to look for these,
my dad’s job to dig.
Fast.
As soon as the worm felt that sand move
it sensed danger,
and it tunneled downwards
in a race for its life.
Rippling muscles, fear,
soft sand and the incoming tide
were pitted against my dad’s skill.
The losers ended up
squirming in a dirty bucket,
guts spilling out,
dying by inches.
One more body among many.
A freak show for visiting children to stare at-
objects of disgust and loathing.
All dignity gone.

It was the razor clams
who I felt sorry for.
They were hard to catch.
Long and elegant.
Beautiful. Sharp. Fast.
They lay far out on the beach,
low down in the sand,
like a special secret.
Sometimes if I begged hard
my dad allowed me to take one from the bucket,
lay it down on the sand and watch.
Just when I had lost hope
a strong white tongue
would slip out from the end of the shell,
curl downwards,
and stroke the sand gently,
preparing a way.
Finally, in a sudden lunge
that made me feel like cheering,
the whole shell would rise in the air
and shoot downwards
in a rush of celebration.
Gone.
Each one a life saved.

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.

A Shy Spring

All around me things are moving,
growing, warming, stretching.
Into the cool air and the soft ground
comes a fresh, shy Spring.

Snowdrops shaking, buds breaking.
Daisies quivering, starlings bickering.
Seeds of darkness, returning quietly,
gently, silently, reach for the sun.

In every breath my senses feel the change,
unfurling, seeking, questioning.
Led by the parade of new creation
my slow hopes creep into life.

Cracks of green in trees appearing,
patient daffodils, persevering.
Space to fill and heart to grow
the yearly tide of life will flow.

New wonders and familiar joys,
remembering, rejoicing, regretting.
Each year past Springs that I have seen
grow richer and become one.
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