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 74 – Perfectly Formed

We stroll along the muddy banks
Mid-January Sunday afternoon
Opposing the New River’s waters
Breath catching in the growing gloom
Peripheral vision glimpses movement
A twitch descending accompanied by
A plop, the sound of water applauding
I turn but did my vision lie?
Scanning the water I seek the cause
But only ripples linger on
Alluding to that past disturbance
The water bare, the culprit’s gone
Look over there five metres past!
Its long beak piercing through the surface
And bobbing on the waters cold
A speckled cormorant emerges
It briefly turns acknowledging
Our passing presence, two chilly guests
Before descending once again
An artful dive into the depths
I marvel at its perfect form
So naturally adapted to
The river life when mud hinders
The ease by which we pass on through

Yesterday afternoon we managed a brief walk along the New River as it leaves Cheshunt before it got dark and were delighted to see a juvenile cormorant fisher in the water alongside us, something we haven’t seen before.

© Ben Quant 2022

Poem 61 – The Touch of Frost

The touch of frost caresses me, running
It’s icy fingers across my earthly skin
And tracing limb and fold they penetrate
With cold embrace that draws from me a moan
Its bitter kiss breathes chill into my bones
An intimacy that lasts until love thaws

We woke today to find the outside world white with frost, a magical scene, at least from the warm indoors that is!

© Ben Quant 2021

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