Suburban Spruces

de-spruced

Suburban Spruces

At the meeting of the streets
And the corners of the road,
So grows an unexpected copse
No seed has ever sowed.
It sprouts up overnight
Like a fungus on the make –
This squatter on the pavement,
Brings the Winter in its wake.
Its trees have all blown over,
And its needles all have shed
To the gutters and the breezes,
Until even these have fled.
Then suddenly one morning
We shall find the corner bare,
Save the grey of frost and concrete
And the chill upon the air.

Dry January

dry january

Dry January

I overindulged last month:
Had far too many ideas.
Now I’m a bloated, empty husk
Who’s run right out of tears.
My motor’s barely revving now,
From weeks of crunching gears.
My spark is fused, my wit is blown,
I haven’t a thought to call my own.

Plough Monday

Plough Monday

Put away the tinsel and put on a sober tie,
It’s time to all resume the working world –
Another year has started, another passed us by,
So it’s onwards to the future with a brand-new hue-and-cry
(While already planning holidays to sunshine in July)
And so into the cauldron we are swirled.
On the 7:22 with the paper on our thigh,
Or page 1 of the diary, with a hope or with a sigh,
There’s no escaping progress – tomorrow’s never shy –
And so into the New Year we are hurled.

How I Wonder What You Are

star

How I Wonder What You Are

I spy…well bless my eye,
A comet shot across the sky.
Is this a sign ?  For good or bad ?
Is this how God would toast the lad ?
I know what doubters say:
That comets happen anyway.

I spy…well how ’bout this:
Two planets close enough to kiss.
And sure they’re bright…but bright enough ?
Is that how God announces stuff ?
I know how doubters mock:
Conjunctions happen by the clock.

I spy…hang on…alright,
A supernova bursting bright !
Now those are rare, so what’s that worth ?
And yet…A death to hail a birth ?
I know how doubters sneer:
These things take months to disappear.

I spy…well here’s some more:
A nova ?  Or a meteor ?
I guess…but not the clearest clue –
Is this the best that God can do ?
I know the doubters’ line:
Why not just magic up the sign ?

I spy…I know, I know
A pagan myth that steals the show,
When ev’ry ancient hero born
Was heralded before the morn.
I know what doubters see:
That stars are stars, so let them be.

Just January

winter veg

Just January

There is time to be festive
And time to be restive,
A time for a breather
From excess and fun.
Janu’ry’s time is busy and new,
For getting to do what we should have got done.

There is time for the goblins,
And squirrels and robins,
A time for Orion
And waiting for snow.
Janu’ry’s time is starry and dark –
The weather is stark and the sun is hung low.

There is time to prepare
For the snowdrop and hare –
It’s time to plant onions
And harvest the swedes.
Janu’ry’s time is whitened and browned,
Spent prepping the ground and in sowing the seeds

There is time for mysterious,
Time for the serious,
Time to be golden,
And time to be grey.
Janu’ry’s time is the sober and young,
For getting things done in the short Winter day.

Quarter Days

book of hours
detail of December from the Très Riches Heures by the Brothers Limbourg

Quarter Days

In March the Ladies have their day,
In June, the Summer’s mid,
And Mickel holds his mass, they say,
In late September, come what may,
Just as he always did.
And then we get to Christmas…
That well known day for paying rents,
And hiring staff, and starting school,
And other secular events
That prove there’s nothing new, alas,
In monetising Yule.

Carol of the Robins

Carol of the Robins

They’re here all year are the robins,
The robins on their rounds,
Delivering their song.
But we barely see all the robins,
Barely hear their sounds
When they’re lost in the throng.
But come the Winter and come the cold,
And go the fairweather flocks –
But the robins are patient, the robins are bold,
As bright as the frost and as red as the fox.
With a whistle they come,
And they sing out the season
And snow cannot stop them from spreading their cheer.
They sing to each other,
They sing for no reason,
But we only hear them at this time of year.

They’re here all year are the robins,
The robins on their rounds,
Delivering their post.
We little think of the robins
Braving rain and hounds,
Till we need them the most –
Then comes the Winter and comes the cold
And on go the jumpers and socks,
And we need them to bring us the red and the gold
On the cards and the parcels they push through our box.
With a whistle they come,
And they bring us the season,
And snow cannot stop them from winging it here.
They come when it’s sunny,
They come when it’s freezing,
But we only see them at this time of year.

As I’ve discussed in another poem, robins are territorial and violent birds. However, they’re also a great source of pleasure to humans. So much so that Victorian postmen with their red waistcoats were nicknamed robin redbreasts and soon Christmas cards were featuring them in both human and allegorical avian form.

And when I suggest that the robins ‘sing for no reason’, I am aware fully aware of the many uses that their song serves, but there is increasing evidence that occassionally birds really might just sing for the fun of it.

Baubles

red blue and green balls
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Pexels.com

Baubles

Heads up, jaws set, eyes fixed – here we go !
Once more unto the tinsel and mistletoe,
Haul out the fairy lights, string up the streamers,
Censor the cynics and pander the dreamers:
For here comes December !  And there goes the quiet:
The balancing budget and sensible diet –
Instead, we get suet and Dickens by snow –
But brace up and take it, cos here we all go !

December the First

first door of advent

December the First

All through November,
We dash into Winter –
Not me.
November’s November,
And I’m not a sprinter
When leaves are still falling
And afternoons glinter,
You see.
All through November,
I’ll take my Autumnal sweet time.
I’ve no wish to onrush
The noise and the crush of the big pantomime.

But finally, here comes December –
From season of mist to the season of mistletoe,
Nip becomes frost becomes why-won’t-it-snow-?
Finally, finally, on comes December –
And finally, even I unleash the cheer…
So haul up the streamers and load up the larder,
For now is the season of twinkles and ardour –
Throughout a whole twelfth, and for only a twelfth, of the year.

Cyclamens

mauve in brown
Old Friends by Milos Golubovic

Cyclamens

In the Summer’s heat I bought ’em,
And they barely raised a leaf –
But here in the depths of Autumn
As the roses come to grief,
And while the first of frost is looming,
With the pumpkins come and gone,
So now the cyclamens are blooming
Just as though the sun still shone.