Weather Forecastings: One A Week 2020

I’m sure it’s obvious why this week’s poem, inspired by and created from the work of the late Hampshire writer and broadcaster Norman Goodland, briefly escapes through the window and into the open air. Life’s changed but thankfully Nature – in her inimitable and unstoppable way – is busting out in the UK.
This morning brought evidence of low temperature overnight, a test of strength for tender shoots. (A dozen neighbours’ cars stand patiently outside, waiting to be needed again, frosted like Christmas cakes.)
As those brave shoots insist on pushing on through, my posts will stay in Norman’s countryside for the next couple of weeks.
Holding good thoughts for everyone, especially our amazing frontline workers, in these uncertain times.

Weather Forecastings

Cirrus clouds will forecast rain
with curving plumes
that country folk call mares’ tails
For fine weather the sun sets red,
the moon and stars shine clear
Sunrise is unspectacular
but flocks and herds
spread loosely in the fields
Come rain or sun
the lark sweeps upward
and disappears to spin
her endless story in the sky



This Is My Space – One a Week 2020

What a difference a few days can make – a real lesson in life to anyone who, like me, just doesn’t really pay too much attention until that unavoidable wake-up call yells in her face. I think I’m still kind of in shock because I’ve only just got to posting my One for this week and I no longer felt right about the poem I’d planned. Around this time last year I had just returned from several happy weeks in Seattle. A year later and suddenly freedom to travel and reap all its benefits, then write about it in the way of this week’s poem, is now currently denied to almost everyone in the world. So. I’m awake. Still in shock but I’m counting my blessings. Sorry for the cliché but I surely am! And I am sending a good thought to everyone and, if you have been, thanks for reading this long preamble.

This Is My Space

Today the Hampshire hills are softer, greener
than I remembered them
The High Street is busy
and I like the noises
The natives are friendly
Swans are courting on the pond
The sheltering trees are coming into leaf
There is fresh enchantment in bird hierarchy,
the way everyone politely puts a case,
to keep his distance and her space,
I relish the entertainment of a squabble
A few fluffed feathers of dissent
The pleasure of this homecoming
is my final gift from Seattle, the generous city
that welcomed me
I liked its style, the cut of it
I would go back
I will go back
However I am surprised
how good it is to be back here
I would suggest, if you don’t mind,
to souls enduring periodic aimlessness,
get away for a while
When you return you may know for certain
where you belong,
and whether, this time,
you have really found
your way home



First Night After the Fall – One a Week 2020

(From “A Fellow With A Poet’s Face” – the tale of a most unusual, and ultimately tragic, love affair)

My happy heavens cracked and shattered yesterday
You stumbled and collapsed here on my garden path
and closed your eyes and left me one last time
Ours was a fairly well-kept secret, yours and mine
Now I must hide my broken heart from weekend guests

How I could use a rich mix of high-key tonight:
a deep, strong shot of Gladys Cooper,
a generous ounce of Mrs Patrick Campbell
and a dash of Marie Lloyd. I fool myself. I could not veil
my misery with every silk the daughter of Herodias owned

I sense you by my side as ever, love of mine. You gave me
a strongbox full of joy and the courage, the will
to crack its code and I went for it like a wide-eyed girl
on life’s strange stage, and you made sense of everything
No appetite, my darling, for the lines I’ll speak tonight

Guests depend on their hostess. I shall do my very best
but it’s agony to give this voice you’ll never hear again
I watch my right hand clasp a small bouquet
and I return the giver’s smile as if I am quite sane
I even make small talk of books and summer rain

I want to scream. I want the past, the sweet fresh blooms
from my garden, the stairs, our quickening pace, our giggling
whispering lovely flight. Remember? Two perfect flowerheads,
two people, and one bed. When I unwrapped the stems,
petals dropped and bonded with our skin, like skin

I could use a rich mix of high-key tonight
A strong shot of Gertie Millar
A generous ounce of Fanny Burney, and a little Lily Elsie
Nothing will entirely cloak and veil my misery, not tonight
nor ever, love of mine

The Marriage Song of the Land Girl – One a Week 2020

The Marriage Song of the Land Girl

With my long hair loose I wore Jenny’s khaki shoes
and that brooch you found in a puddle by the Ouse
My threads were khaki too but my ribbons powder blue
I got wed in my working dress the day I married you
We were married in a place where the wild hares race
We made our vows at an altar of grey hay
Honey-makers sang on the way to their hives
Pollen-stained confetti blessed our lives
and our bridesmaids were a cuckoo and a jay
Our vows were sealed in a soft-scented field
Corn husks hymned to the yellowing day
A warbler called from the sparkling brook,
silky rhythmic notes with a big band hook
and a scarecrow caught my bouquet
With my long hair loose I wore Jenny’s khaki shoes
and that brooch you found in a puddle by the Ouse
My gown was nearly new–I was back at work by two
I went to work in my wedding dress the day I married you

Sugar on the Bee – One A Week 2020

Sugar on the Bee

I want to be
the sugar on the bee.
The sugar on the bee?
You’ll see

The bee man said
if the bee looks dead
drop sugar on his head,
drop some sugar on his head
and up gets the bee,
you’ll see

He’ll fly like a new bee,
an I can do bee.
Sugar-headed baby,
wings strong and crazy

So I want to be
the sugar on the bee
If you be the bee, you’ll see
When you become a carer
I’ll drop some demerara
When your luck is dicing
I’ll hit you with the icing
(You’ll fire like a pistol
with a little coffee crystal)

I want to be
the sugar on you bee.
I’ll bust you full of living
just by being


Moving House – One A Week 2020

I need somewhere to put my love


It’s been such a long while now
I’m sure I’ve done my time
I can take the blame
Okay, the credit is all mine
Now here I stand
with your photo in my hand

All those days of trying,
All those nights of lying
Now I need somewhere to put my love
I had a drawer where it was before
Now I need somewhere to put my love

It’s nothing like the life I planned,
staring at a photo in my hand
This old house is my new house
And it’s hard to live alone
I had a drawer that I used before
Now I need somewhere to put my love

All those nights of trying,
All those days of lying
Now I need somewhere to put my love
All those days of trying
All those nights of crying

I had a drawer where it was before
Now I need somewhere
to put my love