Passing Storm

Once again, as often before

Angry waves torment pebbled shore

Streams and river can hold no more

Gorged, they greedily flood and score

….

Boughs and tree tops bend, submit

Dancing, possessed, as some mad fit

Corn lies flat against the ground

Wheat and barley, bent and drowned

….

Wind howls around a shabby cottage

Lichened thatch, now in its dotage

Uneven windows rattle and crash

Climbing roses twist and thrash

….

Smoke struggles up the sooted stack

Puffing and swirling, blowing back

Flickering candles show eddies within

Guttering answers to the banshee din

….

The moon, it seems, races each dark cloud

Revealing weathered hills, stood solid, proud

Brighter still flash exploding bolts

Snapshots with ten thousand volts

….

Lightning shatters an oak asunder

Earth itself quakes with the thunder

Sheets of rain now throw themselves down

On cobbled streets in the nearby town

….

In the cottage, through the open door

A silent shadow peers out in awe

Hears distant rumbles, sees the oak aflame

As, passing, the storm echoes its name

Personal Demons

It needs only half a mind

To have demons of some kind

And those which make one doubt

Are the hardest to cast out

….

Some trouble the happy state

With worries over fate

Others sneer at good intention

And distract your full attention

….

If you would push these demons back

Counter every cruel attack

It can calm your mind like stone

To remember you are not alone

Flying

Why, oh why, can I not fly

To chase the birds across the sky

Soar on thermals over the land

Pass above the sea and sand

….

Laugh at those in gravity’s maw

Earth-bound terrestrial plodding corps

Whilst I pierce silvered fleeting clouds

Divorced from two dimensional crowds

….

Feel the lift above my wings

Glory exceeding the heights of kings

Eschew the paths mankind must tread

Know freedom of the winds instead

Bird Trivia

Robins and blackbirds like people

Hawks prefer to perch on a steeple

Crows can recognise human faces

Pigeons favour urban spaces

…..

Blue and great tits love bird feeders

Cuckoos use surrogate breeders

Owls twist their heads by 360 degrees

Swans are never seen in trees

….

Starlings swarm in a murmuration

Magpies have a shiny fixation

Pheasants and grouse are not fond of August

Albatrosses have a keen wanderlust

….

Kingfishers dive for small things that swim

Whilst petrels look for waves they can skim

Ravens guard the tower of London

Nightingales sing second to none

….

All these and more are a joy to behold

Many others of whom I’ve not told

Nature can lift the troubled soul

Keep a lookout when next you stroll

Covid-19 and Racism

One is an arbitrary killer, which puts no value on life

The other holds an unspoken tenet: that some people are worth less than others

One is without consciousness, the other without conscience

One attacks vulnerable people, the other makes people vulnerable.

Both exhibit a lack of humanity, compassion, and reason

One is invisible to the naked eye; the other, insidious, is hidden in plain sight

One will, with perseverance, eventually be driven away by the ingenuity of mankind

The other will endure in the dark corners of men’s minds, until a cure can be found for prejudice.

The Rose and the Grass

One day a gardener planted a young and elegant rose bush in the border surrounding her well-manicured lawn.
‘Hello and welcome, friend rose’, said some of the grass nearest to the rose. ‘Our owner is a keen gardener and has chosen a fine sunny spot to plant you. You should do well there.’
“Quite so”, said the rose, somewhat haughtily. “My owner has placed me where I might display my wonderful flowers to the best effect. This clearly shows she is a keen gardener.”
‘Ah’, said the grass, ‘we can hardly wait for the summer to see what colours you will have’. “You must be patient”, said the rose,” it will take me no little time to prepare for the glorious show that I am to give. But what of you? What is your role in the garden and is green really your only colour?”
‘Sadly’, said the grass, ‘we cannot claim the brilliance of the colours you will bear, though we have the most vibrant shade of green imaginable and we work together to provide a velvety soft carpet for our owner to walk upon’.
“My owner cannot care for you too much then”, said the rose, “for she tramples on you daily and even the birds have little regard as they root for grubs and worms between your shorn down stalks”. At this the grass grew silent for a while, and a humble mood spread across the whole lawn as the grass stalks pondered just how keen a gardener their owner was.
The days went by and spring gave way to summer. The owner tended and fed the plants lovingly, and with a growing sense of pride as the garden was readied for its coming splendour. The lawn was given a dressing of fertiliser and had its hair cut at least once a week. The rose was inspected regularly and sprayed to prevent blackspot and mildew. The rose did feel it somewhat degrading when, in full view of the lawn, it was also sprayed to remove the greenfly that had cheekily moved in uninvited. However, this was better than having the pesky things greedily sucking its sap.
The rose pointed out to the grass that, being a keen gardener, its owner was merely taking proper care of it. “After all,” it said to its now weary audience, “all my sap is for my magnificent flowers. See how some of my buds are already beginning to burst. My owner must be overcome with excitement”. The grass gave no reply, but did note that a beautiful fragrance had begun to accompany the young and radiant blooms on the rose.
A few more days of warm sunshine later, the lawn woke to hear sobbing coming from the rose. Even though the grass had regularly been subject to the rose’s arrogant attitude, the stalks remembered their common bond as plants, and inquired what the matter was.
At this, the rose wailed and roared; “My prize flowers, they are all gone!” ‘Quite so!’, said the grass, ‘Our owner is indeed a keen gardener, but she is an even keener exhibitor at the local flower show’.