Yellow Warning

sky melts
pelts and helter skelts
roads river
drains spout streamspit
surge and gutterspill
down down down

now soilsilt slithers
fields edge under hedge
fillditch flowthick
redrun clayslips
sheen and sheet

waterrope Axe
roars in narrows
before the burst
to swallowgollop up the lane
drowns tarmac and tramline
makes meadows lakes
cows kneedeep it
by sudden swans

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First snow

first tonguetip flakemelt
…..white freckling the blue night

so she whirls across the hill

is a blizzard of light
… this joy of firstness

this coming
…..was always coming

delight or disaster
…..welcome it

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Mammoth Tasks, Or – Why The Mammoth Became Extinct.

Eat grass.
Eat more grass.
Rub tusks on tree trunk.
Eat grass.

Make huge hairy trumpeting noise
With my lovely mammoth trunk –
Attract beautiful lady mammoth
Make mammoth music together,
Make baby mammoths,
So that mammoth kind will never vanish from the earth…

Right now
Eat grass.

(World Book Day 2001 – The Horrible Headmonster – Macmillan)

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she paints the many-petalled poppy

I’ve been guest blogger on a friend’s site:
O is for Georgia O’Keeffe, Artist, #AtoZ Challenge 2017

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in the partial light of candles
we imagine a garden

delicate with thin spring leaves
invite us in

but the candles are too tall
too stand up straight
to be those men
slumped that night

they were not flames
they slept

the wafer
at the centre
pale and pearly grey
throws out no light
is odd man out
in all this shinery
that loneliness
feels right

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Toddler Group – Incarnation

she is storytelling the glory of God
in gold annunciation

threads spinning from the messenger
shining round and through the frightened girl

which settles to a nub of joy
beneath her beating heart

she tells of journey
and the anxious tramp from no to no

until at last there’s somewhere
a blessed anywhere

a billet in the shed behind the pub
straw stacks shelter from the bitter night

and then the baby

she tells of shepherds on the hill
of stars the sudden blitz of light

all through the telling
the toddler stays on note

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah        loud
unwavering                        aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah

but now the storyteller smiles
moves closer

yes she says that’s right
the whole sky’s singing aaaaaaaaah

child and teller eye to eye
he gives voice    she meets the cry

together they are             aaaaaaaaah
you’re right she says that’s how those angels sounded

that’s what they sang – aaaaaaaaaaaaa – llelujah
aaaaaaaa – lellujah                         aa – llelujah

together they fall silent                 still
now the boy listens

for the coming of the kings
the jingle of the harness bells

the long stride of camels
strange gifts

gold       incense    myrrh
a long determined human cry

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Big in the 80’s

I didn’t know until today
that Bombus Terrestris
was the buff-tailed bumble bee,
but I like the thumping heft of it
and the drawn out hiss.
I will say it often,
find ways to Latin drop.
I will chant it as I chop chives,
it will be the theme song of vacuuming.
Bombus Terrestris
will carry me away.

That buff-tailed bumble bee
on a sprig of bramble blossom
against unreasonably bright blue sky,
‘17p’ printed in black, the Queen’s head in gold.
Cards, cards, and more cards,
all those buff-tailed congratulations –
…..I would say swarming
…..but bumble bees are not hive-minded.
Those stamps were big in 1985.

Dead or Alive were in ‘the charts’-
… there’s a phrase that’s not worn well –
you spin me round, like a record, baby,
round and around.
It’s almost a foreign language
words left dangling from obsolete machines.
But that was the song
the first you ever hear with outside ears,
played over and over in Maternity.

The singer’s dead now,
first class post is more than halfway to a pound,
but bees and buzzing spring
still speak of life and energy and wonder.
We love our children
and when they love us back
it still spins us round and round.

Jan Dean

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What’s the point of jellyfish?

I asked another jellyfish
who being all curve and wobble
could not compute the concept ‘point’

direction was a problem too
we float we float
our liquid selves within the liquid sea

and then I understood something about tears
and grief
and oceans
and remembering you were lost
I cried for you

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In a name

I read it in a book      bubble&squeak
they ate it                   I wanted it


how could you not want bubble
on your tongue         to chew squeak


my mother gave me a look and gravy
on Sunday veg         fried up on Monday


she never said as she dished up
this is it you fool       I grew out of stories


with hard boiled eggs and lashings
of whatever there were lashings of


I never tasted their other life
though I’d been eating it the whole time


today I learned that Bengal candles are sparklers
maybe it’s time to meet a tiger in the fire


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