Natural Choreography

My trip to the nature reserve at Minsmere which I wrote about yesterday I now realise was curtailed too early. I had wondered why so many people were arriving at the RSPB reserve so late in the day. The clear evening skies were the perfect backdrop to see the glorious balletic murmurations of thousands of starlings above the reed beds.



It is estimated that there are tens of thousands of starlings in these groups as they perform these enigmatic shows.


Feather pillows in the sky

Sink and sway and undulate

Display of beauty to the eye

Swoop and gracefully gyrate

What instinct produces such a skill

That gives we onlookers such a thrill?


NaPoWriMo #29 and #30

So, two poems to finish off this month of verse and worse, rhyme and reason, rhythm and blues.  It may have presented a different sort of writing challenge to, say, NaNoWriMo and its demands on word count to achieve the goal; but for me the challenge of NaPoWriMo has been more in respect of quality than quantity.  I always found with the novel writing month that by the end of November I had a substantial draft and story outline that I could take time to refine, polish, edit and enhance to a finish product.  In the same way, the poems that lie in the wake of April’s dash to a finish line can be revisited, reworked, revised or (more than likely in my case) completely rewritten.


The train of thought inside my brain

Was never one that ought to frame

The kind of words to fashion verse.

It feels some type of witch’s curse

Was cast upon me in the past,

Which meant that any verse I wrote

Would leave me staring quite aghast

At my woeful words. I quote:

“Needs to offer more expression:

sadly this will never feature.”

This the salutary lesson

Of my former English teacher.


The finish line breasted, stamina tested.

The race was completed, and nobody cheated.

No performance enhancing, just lots of words dancing

Across these white pages, which seemed to take ages,

As I wrestled with rhythm, rhyming and styling.

What have I gained from this month’s NaPoWriMo?

Something? Nothing? I honestly don’t know.


NaPoWriMo #28

Nearly the end of a month which has been more of a challenge than I imagined at the outset but probably because of the several other projects that I have kept juggling at the same time.  Today’s effort is therefore a stream of words which vaguely hang together and rhyme.


A version of voices conspires

to resound round and round in my head,

as if a cloister of  clamouring choirs

were following a singular thread.

It may be signs of the self-induced stress

that composing these poems has demanded,

but I really have to confess

I’ve been doing this all single-handed.

My fingers trace over the keys

as though with a will of their own

and words just tumble with ease

like all simple seeds that are sown.

Concentration has no part of it

an unconscious word stream, no less,

and if this is just the start of it,

it’s likely to run to excess.

I think I was better with pictures

to prod and to prompt motivation,

this method without any strictures

was not my initial intention.

Let’s hope that the final two days

of this challenge will at last return

to my former composing in ways

that don’t ultimately crash and then burn.

NaPoWriMo #27

We have returned to the natural elements of April today with its usual showers, and of a particularly persistent quality.  I like to console myself with the thought that this is all good for the gardens and farms and that it is a necessary part of Nature’s cycle.  However, the anticipated cricket match tomorrow, which would have been the first of the forthcoming season, has been cancelled because of a waterlogged ground! I shall therefore just look forward to those sunnier, warmer days in the hope we shall have a glorious summer.

Sept. 2008 057 (2)

Water Lilies

Absorbing sunlight with extravagant petals spread,

Blushing pink with delight at the light

Which glistens from the pads, the bed

Of blooms festoons the pool with bright

Translucent cups.

They float upon the pads as if they’re laid

Ready for an afternoon tea.

Their delicacy suggests they’re made

Of porcelain, afloat upon a sea

Of green tablecloth.


I merely drink in their beauty.



NaPoWriMo #25 and #26

I’m working in arrears again, trying to catch up, and so it’s two poems today to maintain my target of thirty for the month.

Last week I checked out another writing group in my area and had no sooner taken my seat around the table when the group was immediately tasked with a twenty minute exercise to write a story about first impressions. It felt a bit like an exam! And what was my first impression of the group.  Well, I couldn’t really go down that road as it was my first encounter.  Fortunately, nobody wrote about their first impression of me.

The piece of writing set as ‘homework’ is a story about meeting your doppelganger. I’m still stumped as to what to write.  Funnily enough, the other writing group I attend had an exercise to write a poem about the ‘perfect match’. Not too dissimilar a theme.

Opposite Poles

Two peas in a pod

The same set of goals

Belief in the same God

Genuine and fake

You can’t tell apart

All for the sake

To make fun of art.

Image result for making fun of art

Keeping with the theme of art, some years ago writing group members were challenged with writing a poem about a painting selected at random.  Mine was ‘In A Bar’ by Fred Elwell, painted in 1943.

Image result for fred elwell  in a bar

She waits.

She has been waiting for years.

At first there were the tears

And then fears for her husband’s safety.

Six months ago the letter came.

He’d gone.

There was no one to blame.

This is war.


Now she waits for customers

To buy her drinks. She thinks

One might be Mr Right.

She sits at the corner of the bar,

Her simple shopping done,

Inviting any one of any occupation-

German, British or American – to join her.

This is a whore.



NaPoWriMo #24

Surrounded as I am by farmland, it never ceases to amaze me that whenever a field is ploughed afresh, as well as the likes of crows, rooks and jackdaws hopping amongst the furrows, searching for grubs and worms, there can often be seen a flock of seagulls, scavenging for a free meal.




The tractor churns and turns the earth

ploughing for the coming season.

And though what seems to be a dearth

of life, there must be a clear reason

within this plain and unsown soil,

for clouds of gulls to squawk and screech

to find rich pickings there.  The turmoil

in the air bizarre, so far from any beach.

No sea-tossed trawler could attract

a greater wake of scavenging wings.

The sight for me seems abstract

in the extreme, but just one of those things

of Nature.


NaPoWriMo #23

Today is St George’s Day, the national saint’s day of England. I’ve always been sad that the celebration is inevitably underwhelming.  Other countries celebrate their saint’s days with a public holiday, festivals and fiestas, fireworks and a fervour that leaves we English far too reserved.  In fact, St George is celebrated in more countries than I realised, right across from the Iberian Peninsula through the Slavic states to, naturally, Georgia. It is also the accepted birth date of William Shakespeare, also the day on which he died in 1616. More should be done to raise the standard of the cross of St George.

The dragon-slaying  aspect relates, I discovered, to a story of a town terrorised in what is modern day Libya by a ‘sea’ dragon, devouring members of the population, including its children. When the local king’s daughter was due to be the next victim, George turned up to rescue her and kill the dragon with the proviso that the king and all his people converted to Christianity.


Chivalrous and glamorous,

Clint Eastwood of his day,

A Dirty Harry, amorous,

Steps fearless in the fray.

A princess lies in danger

Of being eaten by this creature.

But George, the handsome stranger

Arrives in time to reach her.

He charges forth, his lance is raised,

and pierces the dragon’s gorge.

‘Heaven be praised, the town is saved,

The dragon’s slayed, By George!’



NaPoWriMo #22

For some reason the words I laid down here less than half an hour ago, along with an uploaded photograph, mysteriously vanished! There have been a few similar inconsistencies with my laptop recently which suggest it is high time I invest in a new one.  Anyhow, to begin again…

I have been impressed in recent years as to how in public parks and gardens, swathes of grass are left unmown and left to grow wild.  The purpose is, I understand, to provide an environment in which insects can thrive and therefore provide a food source for birds. I am also aware of the current threat that exists to the bee population, not only from predatory wasps (or are they hornets?), but also from the commercial use of pesticides in farming.  I was pleased with the recent arrival of warm Spring weather to see several bees going about their business. I felt it incumbent on me to follow an example and leave part of my lawn unmown in which some wild flowers were on show.  These were attractive cowslips: I’m not so sure I would have been so merciful with pernicious weeds!


Primula veris

Delicate and yellow

multi-headed trumpets,

sounding the arrival of Spring

with a blaze of colour.

Proudly popping up from the grass,

decorating hedgerows in a mass

of custard-coloured clusters,

inviting the bees to please