Flower Power

There is a Flower, the Lesser Celandine,
That shrinks, like many more, from cold and rain;
And, the first moment that the sun may shine,
Bright as the sun himself, ’tis out again!     (Wordsworth)

hossoil 8

This is a stream
a rivulet
a brook
a burn
on whose banks you’ll  find

the lesser celandine
ficaria ranunculus
a favourite
of  both William Wordsworth
and David Herbert Lawrence

and ferns
which purify the soil
cure centipede bites
soothe coughs and wheezes

and foxgloves
dead men’s bells
digitalis purpuria
floppy dock
fairy fingers
which are  diuretics
appetite depressants
cures for dropsy
and can
s l o w i n g
t h e
heart   r a t e
c  u  r   e      o  r
k   i   l   l  .

*    *    *    *

She found the celandines of February
Always before us all. Her nature and name
Were like those flowers, and now immediately
For a short swift eternity back she came.

(‘Celandine’ by Edward Thomas)

Poetic Love


Copy of moldau pica bb

Tom’s romantic nature meant that he suffered more than most when a relationship came to an end  but all the same I was shocked and saddened to see him so gaunt and woebegone.

” So. What are you doing with yourself these days? ” I asked him brightly.

He laughed a bitter laugh and spread his arms to emphasize his outcast  state.  ” I wander lonely as a cloud, ” he said.” I look upon myself and curse my fate. “

I put a counselling arm round his shoulder. ” You’ve got to get over Elizabeth sometime, ” I told him. ” I mean she’s married now. You’ve got to let go off  the past, Tom. Live in the present. “

He shook his head. ” Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds, ” he said gruffly, ”  or bends with the remover to remove.  It is – ”
” – But she’s pregnant! ” I interrupted. He smiled, a tired little smile in response to my shallowness.

” Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind,” he said softly, a quiver in his voice.   

” Listen, is there anything I can do to help? ” I asked, beginning to feel quite depressed myself.

He stood silent for a long time, head bowed and  shoulders slumped, then  straightening up and  looking at me with tears in his eyes, shook his head.

” Pour away the ocean, ” he said bravely,  ” sweep up the wood,  for nothing now can come to any good.



early one morning

 I saw this horse

standing like horses do

because lying down would entail  getting up –

all those long slender legs to organize

to raise its  heavy   barrel of a body

(not to mention the long neck

…..and that big head)

against the fearsome force of gravity.

Meanwhile the sun was lighting up the autumn leaves,

whitening and brightening the pale and acrid smoke,

casting long, long shadows

across the yellowing grass.

and later on I saw this hare

couched in the grass

(no, I didn’t mean ‘crouched’,

though ‘crouched’ would have done  just as well)

huddled in the long green grass,

thinking either it was invisible

or I was blind

or both

so I was able to sneak up quite close.


The whirr of the shutter

and it was off like a shot.


then in the sunny afternoon,

strange for our northern autumn,

two families wandered barefoot

onto the sunlit beach,

doing what people on beaches do:

drawing with  heel and toe,

geometric shapes in the sand


using  inadequate   buckets

and bendy  plastic spades

to build Canute castles and moats

against the incoming tide


rescuing odd things –

dolls’ heads, old ropes, tyres;

sea-sculpted pebbles

so good to handle;

sea-smoothed driftwood

sculpted by Giacometti;

ancient bottles with messages  for help

signed by Robinson Crusoe….

stuff like that…..


just gazing,

gazing out to sea

but not really looking at or for anything,

letting the mind  free-wheel

like a bicycle

on a gentle downhill slope,


like Sisyphus,

standing, hands on hips,

watching his  great lump of a stone

go rumpetytumpetytumpetytump

all the way


to the bottom




Then out of  Tay’s curacao-blue

I saw this weathered mooring stick

rise from its own reflection and –

Excaliber  minus holding hand –

impressively priapic



And now

when on my couch I lie

in vacant or in pensive mood

and  find

only these pictures

flashing  through my mind,

and  sip my drink and  reminisce……

while I grant that this,

remembered images, the stuff

of poetry, the bliss

of solitude,

may be for some reward enough

it’s  not for me

so, like the man from Porlock,

please  intrude.