Three Songs for May

Photo by Pixabay on

Three Songs for May

May comes bounding down the year
As eager as a springer spaniel.
Ev’rybody knows she’s here,
A bursting, blooming, early annual.
May comes blowing from the south
As teasing as a cuckoo’s call
She’s closing up old Winter’s mouth
By throwing off her woollen shawl.

A little rain in May
Is sweeter than an April shower –
Though the high Spring skies may glower,
We know they will not last the day.
The clouds are silvery, not grey,
Less thunderheads than fairy towers,
Washing lambs and spritzing flowers,
Dropping by, then on their way.

May – the name says it all.
The month when it might,
When it should –
Ah, but will it ?
The month that may have a squall
Or a heatwave,
Or a dozen other weathers
Come to fill it.
Could be a late gasp of snow up on the hills
While the valleys open windows,
And the breezes spin the mills.
Such is the fortune
In the month of maybe May.
When all of this could happen
In a week,
Or in a day.


don't be cross


“And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.”
                                                                                                                                            -Mark 15:33

An eclipse, right ?  It sounds so fine,
Especially when we learn of one,
A total seen in ’29.

Alas, we now can calculate
Down to the nearest minute
And the nearest mile its fate –

And this one was November,
And only nine-tenths partial there –
The dark was still a glowing ember.

The near-miss of ’29 –
The sky was dim, the air was chill,
But the Sun could still outshine.

An hour or so to noon,
And lasting just a hour or two,
So it was over far too soon.

And anyway, it just won’t do –
For Passover was always held
When the Moon was full, not new.

But what about a Lunar one ?
There’s one in April ’33,
At sunset too – job done !

Except…it’s partial, still quite bright,
And it didn’t last an hour in all,
And the only darkness comes with night.

Some suggest volcanic ash instead –
Though that would last for days, and stretch
Throughout the Eastern Med.

Maybe just a heavy storm ?
The legend doesn’t mention rain,
But thunderheads might fit the form.

And yet…is that the best that God
Can rustle up ?  A gloomy afternoon ?
His climax barely gets a nod.

We’re better off with desert dust –
When heavy in the atmosphere
It tints the Moon with rust.

But as the moon sails higher,
So the dust is less through which we peer –
So this one’s not a flyer.

And anyway, how come
There was no-one else wrote down the fact
Of what should strike them dumb ?

Three full hours of dark,
Before the sun had even set ?
Now that should leave its mark !

In our hearts, we know the score –
The sky did not go dark that day.
The world still turned, just as before.

Furtive Fog

Photo by Jou00e3o Cabral on

Furtive Fog

It always starts a ways away,
Funny how it’s never close by –
Up ahead and off behind,
But over there, a little shy.
It seems I’m in a bubble,
In a force-field of my own –
And not a wisp may enter in
My fog-exclusion zone.
It’s not like wrapped in cotton-wool,
And more like in a ping-pong ball –
I’m in the hollow centre here,
And staring at the distant wall.
So only at a certain distance,
In it sweeps, like an afterthought –
Like chasing the end of a rainbow,
So the start of the fog can never be caught.
I’m all alone, like a solipsist,
In a world without a sun –
But where I walk I clear the air,
I drive it out, I make it run.
I’m boiling off the sunken clouds,
I’m pushing back the grey –
So this is no pea-souper,
But a crystal consommé.

Snow Angels

Shepherd Wedding by Jennie Hill

Snow Angels

Strange, how this day of love
Is a day of sneezes and fingers numb.
Why does it fall with a deathly chill
As the hothouse roses succumb ?
Maybe it serves to underscore
How love is often bittersweet –
Whereas, in the height of Summer,
This day would be lost in the endless heat.

Strange, how this day of red
Is a day of snowdrops and Winter mould.
Why does it fall when the days are short
And the nights are bitterly cold ?
Maybe it serves to warm the frost,
And give our torpid hearts a shove –
Whereas, in the height of Summer,
Who needs a reminder to fall in love ?

Snowfall in London

Photo by Yelena Odintsova on

Snowfall in London

Frost fairs upon the Thames, they never happen these days –
Snow just once or twice a year is all we get round here.
Curses to the Gulf Stream, damn your warming ways !
Snow just once or twice a year, and Spring is always near.
And it’s shut down the town again,
It’s shut down the town, my dear,
Shut down the trains and the drains and the pier.

Nobody is ever ready when it comes a-falling,
Never dressed for proper cold in proper Winter gear.
Nobody is ever ready when the snow is balling,
Before they’ve even had a fight, the flurries disappear.
And it’s back to the rain again,
It’s back to the rain, my dear,
Back to the grey – and it’s here to stay, I fear.

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.

Chrissie Cards

Chrissie Cards

Koala bears in woolly hats,
Emus strutting in the snow
Spruces march across the Outback –
Let it go, Oz, let it go…
I know you’re mostly immigrants
From colder, Northern climes,
But not all cult’ral heritage
Will work in modern times.
Ditch the chimney for a combi,
Lose the furry robes and gloves,
Let the gum replace the holly,
Let the budgies play the doves.
Embrace your new contrariness,
Your world turned upside down –
This Winter masquerade is not
The only game in town.
Santa chilling by the barbie,
Kangaroos to haul the sleigh,
Redback’s guarding Baby Jesus –
Season’s greetings, and g’day.

Autumn Layers

Autumn Layers

How far into the Autumn dare we edge
Without a proper coat ?
Using jackets and jumpers as a bridge
To keep our hopes afloat –
Pretending the Summer is lurking still
Whenever the morning’s bright,
But getting caught by an unexpected chill
That serves us right.
And yet, if we keep moving about
On the sunny side of the street,
It’s almost warm enough for going out
In the dying heat.
So please, just one more week before we don
Our bulky Winter coats,
When the pre-frost says that the Summer’s gone,
And the tardy North Wind gloats.

Lift thou Up thy Rod

salisbury cathedral withstands the wrath of god

Lift thou Up thy Rod

Just as a church is crowned by a spire,
And just as the spire is crowned by a cross,
So the cross is crowned by a stiffened wire
That points heavenwards and reaches higher,
Showing God that science is boss.
From king to serf to country squire,
Nobody’s prayers and nobody’s choir,
To God or Thor or Helios,
Can stop the bolt of electric fire –
Not any pope or priest or friar
Can tame the spark and spare the loss
Like copper can.  And that is why
There’s a spike that jabs the eye of the sky,
With a finger raised to the holy man on high.

Sparkle in the Rain

for once, impressionism's lack of detail pay off
A Rainy Day in Paris by Ulpiano Checa, finally finding a use for impressionism’s fuzziness.

Sparkle in the Rain

The very first drops and we’re under attack,
The sun is in hiding, the sky is in black,
We pull on our coat and we button our mac,
And we rush to get out of the rain.

Sheltered in doorways and clustered by trees,
We’re watching the drops as they dance in the breeze,
And cursing the spray and the drizzle and freeze,
As we long to get out of the rain.

Some make a dash, be they brave or naive,
Breaking from cover when showers reprieve –
Darting from shelter to harbour they weave
As they run to get out of the rain.

Some, with umbrellas, just pleasantly stroll,
Dry and protected with weather control,
But puddles and splashes may yet take their toll,
And so teach to get out of the rain.

The streets have all emptied, the crowds have gone home
The bird have all vanished, the bees seek the comb,
The colours are muted, the world monochrome
As the world must get out of the rain.

The gutters are flooding, and eaves getting drowned,
The kerbs are a torrent, the drains are unbound,
The fountains are pointless, and springs are uncrowned,
As they wait to get out of the rain.

But beauty is here, of a different strain,
For not ev’ry downpour’s a twelve-hurricane,
Why, just ask the ducks why they choose to remain,
And never get out of the rain.