Sunday, March 18, 2018

A Shropshire Summer Poem

Here is another poem from my steadily growing Shopshire material.

This one is rather more cheerful than  'High blue air' featured in my last blog. It is based on fond childhood memories of one of my favourite bird watching haunts near the little Hamlet of Rushmore in the parish of Wrockwardine.
It was a place where I could regularly watch kingfishers and still, for me, any day is a good day if I've caught a glimpse of  these bejewelled marvels.

I'm also working on a compilation of my illustrated animal poems to release as a hard copy paperback so I will keep you informed on that score too.

If you are feeling cold take heart -  'Sumer is icumen in' (The Cuckoo Song, circa AD.1260)

The Dazzling Brook

All along the dazzling brook
The velvet bullrush forests high
Where willow veils and twisted crook
Are heaven wrought on earth and sky.

The Emperor unfurls his wings
And with the courtly damselfly
Pavanes above the mayfly rings
Where dappled trout keep watchful eye.

The listless breezes laced with scent
Of may and honeysuckle sweet,
Strike the scene of spring now spent
To lay the summer at my feet.

Marsh marigold (a thousand suns)
Warm the Heron's patient feet
That tip-toe where the crayfish runs
And beetle boatmen take their seat.

Tufted ducks in centric flight
Divert the launch of startled rail
While Jays with sleeves of sky blue bright
Rob thrushes of their lunchtime snail.

The circumscribing whirligigs
Go giddy in the glimmer-glare.
Great crested grebe's fine periwig
Resists the flow of noiseless air

But now here speeds the brightest star,
A meteor of sparking blue
That flashes through the culvert bar
To clasp the Alder, wet with dew.

Fishgig poised with focused gaze
Upon the scintillating fry,
Held ready on this best of days
To dive and spear before my eyes.

All along the dazzling brook,
Are denizens bejewelled and fair,
The pages of a secret book,
Illuminated, rich and rare.

By the way, if you like this illustration it is in fact composed of various elements from my card craft cd series  available from Card Hut (see the link on my website)

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Poetry on Shropshire

A Shropshire Child.

While things have calmed down a bit and feet are being warmed by fires I have been writing poetry about Shropshire where almost all of my schooling took place.

Initially inspired by a fresh look at Alfred Housman's iconic work 'A Shropshire lad', I decided that it was time to write seriously about this fascinating county where, to be fair, I spent far more time than Housman did ( he was in fact reared in Worcestershire and rarely set foot in Shropshire).

Only 16 of the 63 Housman poems in 'A Shropshire lad' actually reference Shropshire and only 15 specific Shropshire locations are referenced in total - that's less than the amount in one of my Shropshire poems!

The problem and dare I say, disappointment for me and possibly many other readers is that, rather than being a series of odes to Shropshire, the collection is rather introspective and melancholy and has very little to say about the County itself.

My self appointed challenge then, is to write 63 poems (I was born in 1963) all of which reference or are inspired by my relationship with Shropshire, its landscape, life and history.

Here then, is a first taste of that effort. Humour tends to be my area but I am thoroughly enjoying writing something a little more weighty. I haven't decided how I might publish this material yet but let me know if you are interested or would like to pass any comment.

The high blue air

Give me days in the high blue air
Where the tide of care recedes,
Where my feet stand firm on solid ground
And my heart no longer bleeds.

Let me lie on a counterpane
Of scented mountain green,
To follow the lark's ascending flight
And see the things unseen.

Catch me when I fall to earth
In the honeyed heather soft,
Where the swifts and martins multiply
Like arrows hurled aloft.

Where whistling swallows dart and dive
At the mayfly's fractured light,
Let me lie and sink in deep
Till the fall of velvet night.

Give me days in the high blue air
When the hovering hawk is near,
High in Shropshire's verdant hills
For I know my heart lies here.

Copyright; Mark Bardsley