The first to step these steps stepped forward cautiously Warily they trod not knowing what they might find But those who followed drew faith from those who crossed before Their hesitant tracks became a guide to confidence And soon a path carved deep was etched into the land Markers were placed identifying its location Presently stones were laid to make the tread secure And along the avenue buildings began to spring The bustle grew, the noise of thoroughfare, as traffic Started to flow along the freshly tarmacked road Past houses, shops, and families at play and war Suburban sprawl, sprawled out, the belt loosened as when Our Sunday lunch digested we kick back replete And sit silently wondering how we came to be There in the first place, ignorant of those cautious pioneers
Over the last year I’ve discover the fantastic writing of Robert MacFarlane. His poetic prose musing on the nature of walking, the landscape and language has captivated me – if you’ve not discovered him yet go now and go find him! His book, ‘The Old Ways’, was the first I found, which led me to this verse. (30.11.22)
A pigeon coo accompanies the cries, Of urgent sirens wrestling for attention. Although distant, their wail reaches across, To where I sit in Euston’s Tolmers Square. This serendipity, this place of peace, A patch of green, affords some small respite. Chairs rattle as a barman sets his tables, Outside in preparation for midday. I catch snatches of conversation from, Engrossed commuters passing quickly by. The Tube rumbles below my weary feet, Whilst up above the whine of hybrid cabs. No more the peel of oranges and lemons, But still distinct the cry of London calling.
Today I headed into the capital to meet with colleagues. I arrived early. Exploring the local area, I found one of London’s many peaceful squares to spend a few minutes before heading in. (29.04.22)
I carry memories of this land, It’s fingerprints impress upon me, And looking back it springs to life, With speed and vivid recollection. Oppressive dense humidity, Immediately dampens both my palms. Salone’s sweet earthy scent invades, My nostrils, dust my garment lines. A grimy vulture perched nearby, Awaits upon a skip hopefully. It makes me nervous, is it me It waits for? Shooing it away, I hear across the rusty roofs, The sounds of hustling street vendors, And traffic, loud with horns forming, Customary queues down Kissy Road. Elsewhere a coastal paradise, Untarnished white and vacant sands, Where fishermen haul in their catch, Dragging bright painted boats to land. Enthusiastic introductions, Their welcome offered up in song, Loud ululations, fast drum beats, With laughter loud and handshakes long. Despite Ebola’s touch and times Of bitter strife, this is a land Where riches can be found but not In stones, the people are its diamonds.
Sierra Leone is a special country for me. Despite its many struggles and traumas, it is also a country full of life. The latest Marillion album caught me by surprise with a track about it, bringing back all sorts of memories (listen below). (25.04.22)
The storm did rage throughout that hateful night Roiling, possessed by evil spirits’ anger Tossing our ship about with frightful might
We prayed, the crew, in fear about our plight Hoping our god might rouse from his deep slumber The storm did rage throughout that hateful night
Naive, a cry, ‘I see a shining light!’ Giddy despite the gale becoming grimmer Tossing our ship about with frightful might
Alas, this hope it seems was simply spite The taunting glimmer just St. Elmo’s fire The storm did rage throughout that hateful night
And those who climbed towards it felt its bite The storm shredding once glorious sails to tatters Tossing our ship about with frightful might
So I, the priest, read out our ship’s last rites As to the deep, dark, depths it did surrender The storm did rage throughout that hateful night Tossing our ship about with frightful might
My son is doing a writing course at university and has been given the task of writing a ‘villanelle’. Thought I’d have a go. Villanelles have a formal structure of three line stanzas, where the first and third lines of the first take it in turns to be the last line of those that follow. The final stanza has four lines, with this alternating pair becoming the third and fourth lines here. The first, third and in the last stanza’s case, fourth lines rhyme, as do all the second lines. Got that? (17.03.22)
In Africa I once saw boys Suspended from the back of A speeding truck ahead of us My heart was beating in my mouth My hand firmly clutching the seat belt Afraid for their safety, but they Just laughed and waved, content, at ease
Now looking back it seemed like fun
Today I wrote a risk assessment It made me wonder if we’ve got Our sense of risk confused because It seemed to me there was more chance Of my getting repetitive strain From typing it up than any Disaster striking those who come To stand outside to sing a song….
Today I sent off a risk assessment for an outdoor church service. The form was extensive and not really suited to what we are planning. I can understand the need to be careful, especially in public events, but sometimes… (11.02.22)
First of all I sense it coming Growing tension in the air Building pressure ominous, the Beast approaches drawing near
Then I hear a snarling note with Pitch increasing, Doppler lift Whining of four spinning wheels Aggressive, through the gears it shifts
Body tensing, past experience Muscle memory plays its part Instinctively I know what’s coming Snapping heels, approaching fast
Swift, it steals manoeuvre room by Leaping, yapping, at my side Adrenaline floods through the system Now its time for flight or fight
Finally it cuts inside, a Reckless swerve inches away Pounding heart within my chest, I’m Left exclaiming, all in vain
News of impending changes brought a cheer in our household. As a cyclist, I have experienced too many occasions where drivers have aggressively overtaken me, passing far too closely and cutting in dangerously, even turning left across my path (please note, I’m not saying all drivers are villains, or cyclists good road users).
The manual makes it sound so easy, ‘Loosen the clip, unscrew, replace.’ Experience shows it rarely goes, As smoothly as this might suggest. Where does the boot release switch hide? Should the clasp casing hang like this? How can I get my hand round there? Which way is it supposed to twist? In light of this, there’s no surprise, That when our headlight faded fast, I did not fix it on my own, But asked the garage, I’ve learned at last!
I think this one speaks for itself! Car maintenance is never as straightforward as the manuals make it out to be… (16.01.22)
Clear skies allowed a freezing night’s trespass, A trail of frosty tracks hard evidence. The dawn’s spotlight reveals its icy prints, Deep etched forensics cross our car’s windscreen. So armed with scraper in my gloved numb hand, I set to gustily restore the scene, And clear the way to safely drive, whilst not Breathing, in case the mist offends my view.
Storm Arwen has departed leaving in its wake dropped temperatures, adding a extra step before my wife’s morning commute.