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?

River Glimpse

Despite the weather being chilly, the sunshine will usually lure me into taking a refreshing walk, always provided I am dressed warmly, of course. A recent excursion led me on a footpath through woodland, close to the estuary of the River Blyth in Suffolk. At one point, the aspect of the river came into view from the depths of the woods and made for what I thought was a decent photo.

Trees surround, enwrap the weary walker,

lofty pines break up the winter chill,

deck the footpath with a cone-filled carpet,

as languidly I tread the gentle hill.

The marshes rustle as a distant slumber,

reeds conceal small shy birds in their stalks,

sounds of birds upon the salty mud flats

tease the senses on these woodland walks.

And there, between a silhouette of branches,

a glimpse – a snapshot – of the River Blyth,

framed by Nature’s unique tapestry,

a view that makes it good to be alive.  

© Wally Smith 2022

Waiting for the Whiteness

There was a sprinkling of snow a few weeks back but far too soon. There is some expectation that we might have a white Christmas but doubtful here in East Anglia. The highlands of Scotland and some of the moors are more likely to see flurries.

My impression of the arrival of snowfall is in the following poem.

A vibrant caress of blue

begins the process.

Simmered graphite seamlessly glides

across a blinded wide horizon

and lifts the curves of air.

Somewhere senses change:

a flow of interlaced rushes

in a symphonic high moment

creates the scene, and arrives

in silence, 

as now we see contrasts

of wilderness imagined

in a pure, bleak ambivalence,

where impressions are brief.

©Wally Smith 2021

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Mistletoe

While out walking the dog today I was surprised to see two large masses of mistletoe. The surprise was to see them so low to the ground, when normally they are to be seen hanging high in the branches of tall trees. These were at head height attached to the branches of a hawthorn tree. A feature of the Christmas period, mistletoe oddly enough belongs to the plant order Santalales.

Pagan and parasitic,

it hangs in limpid sap-seeking fronds.

Unbreakable bonds with its host.

An uninvited guest

who shows up at Christmas,

hoping for a festive kiss.

Blue Sky Thinking

The dull, heavy-leaden skies of autumn left me lethargic and listless. The greyness seems to enter the psyche and depress any instincts of motivation to do anything. Anyway, that’s the way it is for me. However, a sudden shift in the weather has revealed the bluest and clearest of skies; all the better to highlight the magnificence of autumn colours. I felt able to breathe again today, taking the dog for a walk and playing tennis and even doing some tidying up in the garden. And inspired to write some verse.

Glistening and bristling in the breeze

Golden against the cool blue sky

Sun-sculpted tones of leaves,

Lingering in the final throes

Of gentle autumnal warmth,

As though awaiting the greyness

To abate before falling towards

The embrace of Mother Earth.

A Dying Art

Finally sunshine and the burnished bronze colour of leaves. Despite the colder weather, the game of tennis this morning was very enjoyable. The sharp breeze provided some interesting shots but it was the same for everyone. The picture inspired another haiku.

The turn of the leaf

Heralds the change of season

Death will bring new life

Pond – Life

Heavy showers this morning turned the garden into a bog and the path into a pond. It seems to have been the same story through the rest of the country. No respite for the next few days, but it’s what we wish for in the dry summer months.

Ponds of rainwater

Reflect the light of the day

The source of all life

Sun Sets an Example

It is still very mild for autumn and I cannot remember a time when the leaves on trees took so long to turn colour. The warmer conditions seem to effect everything from migrating birdlife to plants and ice caps. Golden sunsets appear to be reminding the woodlands to change their appearance.

Gold amongst the grey

Array of autumn colour

As sky shows the way

Tree Oddity

I came across this tree in the parkland of a stately home. The size suggested it was quite old, but the strange thing about it was the shape. It looked as though some giant had twisted it like a piece of toffee. It is almost as though it was frozen whilst in the act of dancing, with its branches twirling around itself like arms.

A twist of nature

Celebration of living

Timeless reminder

Sky View

Very changeable weather just now but staying fairly mild for late October. It’s so nice to get out and about and enjoy the open air and countryside. There is something about clouds that is fascinating; imagining shapes and faces in the ever-changing forms. Almost day dreaming, which is probably why the phrase ‘head in the clouds’ was created.

White milky masses

Tumbling towards horizons

Always changing shape

Greens and Browns

I am visiting my brother at the moment to celebrate his birthday. The weather has been particularly fine and he suggested that he and I go for a game of golf. Although I have played before, I play far too infrequently to provide a good opponent for my brother, as the day proved. However, the sun shone and the leaves that were turning colour with the season appeared far more beautiful to observe than my golf shots. Hence the picture here.

Breeze caresses leaves

Golden atop the soft greens

Where they lie scattered