Poem 57 – Season’s End

All gone! The brilliant greens and vivid blues
Are drained of their vitality as winter
Cuts it’s teeth and autumn fades
Its timorous light barely heats before
Withdrawing into early evening dark
And even our speech seems subdued
Under the laden air that heavily hangs
Until whispering we withdraw home too

The usually colourful Lea Valley suddenly felt dulled on today’s afternoon walk.

© Ben Quant 2021

Poem 40 – From the New River to Top Field

We begin by strolling along the New River, ‘London’s Tap’,
Ponderously supplying the city’s water under hungover skies.
Passing a bridge that goes nowhere reclaimed by ivy,
Dry curled sycamore leaves form a path along the bank,
Protecting boots from the damp clogging clay beneath.
Today the water is dark and heavy, rolling slowly.
We look for our swans to feed but today they are absent,
Only cocky mallards traverse her dulled waters,
Even they seem subdued and stilled.
As we leave our watery guide we pass construction works,
Homes rising like the scattered oak saplings espied,
Emerging from squirrel scattered acorns perhaps.
Indeed other than us, they are the only ones moving,
Fattened, scurrying to prepare for winter hibernation,
Whilst diggers stand stationary and sites are vacant.
Perpendicular to her flow we rise from Lea Valley,
Reaching Top Field whose spectacular wildflower meadows,
Have been mown, leaving damp stalks and pregnant potential.
The dip becomes clear as we look across to the parallel rise beyond.
Departing, a momentarily surprise, a snatch of distant urbanity,
The towers of Canary Wharf winking their warning.
It seems astonishing that our haven is so near.
Leaving their gaze behind we enter Bell Lane’s woods,
A contrasting lightness, a gaiety absent before,
Leaves, sweetcorn and peas, speckling silver birch skies.
Exiting, our path crosses a field where bedraggled horses munch,
And an S shaped brook snakes between its mounds.
Momentarily they lift their necks to consider as we pass.
Back down Church Lane descending into Wormley,
Peace again broken as we return above the thundering A10.
Passing the sports club we transition from pastoral to people,
Navigating between parents’ cars parked on the verge,
Delivering budding footballers as they grasp hand warming coffees.
What views they have missed by arriving cocooned in these cabins!
Finally, the New River again lies at our feet, ready to guide us home.

Most of our daily walks involve the River Lea to the east of us, but sometimes, we take wander by the New River to the west, cut to deliver London’s water.

© Ben Quant 2021

Poem 39 – Baked Apples

Two lopsided apples freshly plucked from
The branches of our garden tree hanging
Within easy reach scrubbed clean and
Checked all over for signs of wildlife

Circumference scored with small knife then
Core carved out its hollow packed with
Dried raisins and dates and sprinkled
With bittersweet cinnamon to season

Placed in an oven hot to swell a
Fruit sauna sweating juices flowing
Until soft throughout then served with
Fresh cream poured perfecting

Baked homegrown apples make a perfect autumn dessert.

© Ben Quant 2021

Poem 37 – Lea Valley on a November Afternoon

Balanced on horizon’s tightrope
The sun’s golden glow
Filters through autumn’s gloom
Bathing the silhouetted canopy
Creating an ethereal pathway
Jacob’s ladder highlighting vegetation
With otherworldly emerald
Quickened and strangely luminous

Afternoon walks amongst the trees of Lea Valley is an optical treat with the autumn sun revealing and creating vivid and unreal colours.

© Ben Quant 2021

Poem 35 – Interval

Half past four
Night lowers its curtains
These dark navy drapes
Announce the act’s end
Accompanied by birdsong

Once enveloped
Orchestra and players
Can rest unseen
As they do
We too draw our curtains

Affords the chance to stretch
Relax body and mind
Assimilate experiences
Be renewed

The alarm rings
Shrilly declaring interval’s end
Bleary we reclaim our seats
And wait for dawn’s revelation
Of today’s set

I love these late autumnal days when night comes so early, allowing us to close the curtains and shut out the world. Not so keen on it being dark when I rise however…

© Ben Quant 2021