Poem 165 – At the Edge

The nip of winter tarries
But spring has tentatively
Emerged to test the waters
One toe at first, before
It casts aside its towel
And joyously commits to
An eruption of colour and life
One glorious bellyflop!

The days are beginning to stretch. Bulbs are putting out their feelers. The car didn’t need scraping this morning…

© Ben Quant 2023
Photo by Oliver Sjöström on Unsplash

Poem 160 – Four Faced

A pool of many personalities.
    Its winter water takes a earthy shade
    Of darkened substance, solid, birds can wade
Upon its surface, under weary trees.
Last month it shivered, sharp, began to freeze
    And whilst the shrieking scarf-wrapped children played,
    Across it’s face an ice-white mask was laid,
Its morgue-like stillness made us ill at ease.
But soon the hope of life will bud and spring,
    The water turn, aping the light’ning skies,
And nests constructed, frisky foul will play.
    Look, summer migrants come on tired wings!
Descend, this paradise their temporary prize,
    For now, its Janus face, a place to stay.
Today, as is often our practice, we went for a stroll around Lea Valley’s lakes. These water filled pits are constantly fluid, their faces changing with the season. Today they were dark and moody, matching their muddy banks. Another sonnet.

© Ben Quant 2023

Poem 153 – Blank Canvas

This is a liminal place,
Where sky and earth do meet,
And merge in bright harmony.
Autumn’s colours spent,
Erased, left brilliant white,
Perhaps, a new beginning?
A chance to make our mark,
Afresh. Along with spiders,
Who have already traced,
The outline of each edge
In brittle silk, picked out
And sparkling, crystalline.

Yesterday we woke to find Lea Valley submerged in snow. Beautiful and mysterious. On our afternoon walk, at each turn I expected to find Mr Tumnus, but alas he never showed, only the muntjac deer and robins. We did not return, however, disappointed.

© Ben Quant 2022

Poem 152 – Sharp December

The paper air is sharp
Airways are invaded
Eyes begin to water
Cold smears across my face
Malicious needles prick
In bitter unison
My feet go numb and die
A death by a thousand cuts

This morning’s North wind brought a bitter bite alongside Jack Frost’s winter beauty.

© Ben Quant 2022

Poem 147 – November Walk

Four pm. November walk along
The Lea, the light is fading fast and all
Is dim. Like children’s plasticine the colours
Merge, the palate turns to shades of brown.
The sky blends with the gently lapping waters.
By naked trees who’ve shed, their colours bleed.
The air is mute, its voice is muffled, dull,
Only the Christmas lights dare interject.
From bankside windows, hope defiant flickers.

To end a period of Covid isolation, I took a walk along the River Lea this afternoon. I’ll never get bored of how the same stretch of water changes throughout the year. I didn’t think to take a photo, this one is from the same time last year, towards the river.

© Ben Quant 2022

Poem 95 – The Scandal of Spring

Without our noticing, the velvet bud
Protrudes. This act of annual resurrection
From naked branch to clothed, a strip tease in
Reverse, so tantalising in modesty.
Before long, it will be scandalously dressed.

The bite of winter receding, our fruit trees are coming back to life once more.

© Ben Quant 2022

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 47 – A Winter Crime

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.


© Ben Quant 2021

Poem 38 – A Hokey Cokey Time of Year

Tentative November’s a folk dance month
Unable to decide if it’s out or it’s in
Leaves bravely clinging to branches above
Fallen companions raked into the bin
The sun always rises but never quite makes it
Descending before it reaches the top
Fireworks shrill as Fawkes interrupted
But bombers press on and their plots do not stop
The eleventh we remember but still stand conflicted
Pushing and shoving to remain best of the lot
Decisions announced but next day rejected
Political turnarounds made on the spot
Superstore isles full of crackers and tinsel
Seasonal adverts promise festive fun
Christmas is here piped music’s proclaiming
But November’s not finished nor Advent begun

I always find November a confused month, a strange transition from one season to the next with Christmas looming large in the distance. This confusion seems to be seeping into our current affairs this year.

© Ben Quant 2021
Photo by Bryan Ledgard – https://www.flickr.com/photos/ledgard/10254453475/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=58259782

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