poetry diary

I rhyme to see myself, to set the darkness echoing. (Seamus Heaney, from Personal Helicon)

Month: August, 2011


My love is like a river
searching always for the sea:
a cascade in the mountains,
and meander in the plains.
I long for days of ripples,
and undulating shade;
a splash and laughter,
the unrelenting, gentle flow;
warm towels and sunshine,
and afterwards, just you.


I had to decide today whether I should keep (and pay for!) the wetsuit I hired this year to do a triathalon. It was not too hard a decision – swimming outdoors in nature is wonderful (and maybe the wetsuit is for wimps (or just for racing) but this is England, and I am still a beginner).

Final holiday haiku

Rain falling slowly
Autumn reflected in pools
still warmed by sunlight.

Beyond poetry
rhythms of reality
my heart yearns for love.


Written while travelling home from Northumberland and Yorkshire after the holidays. It’s a bit early for Autumn, but that’s what it feels like. I was only just beginning to relax, too. Still, I am looking forward to the next few months – new beginnings and explorations.

In the garden

The ending was unexpected when it came;
a bee working the August blooms
and robin drawing closer, singing.
That day the clouds were mostly white,
unbroken, grey towards the hills, but light.
He knew the names of half the flowers
and felt he might in time embrace the rest.
Spiralling scents rose skywards,
creating there a private room.
Momentary cloud breaks made blue
puddles reflecting in the pool;
flesh-pink anemones stood tall, and a crowd of pale petunias looked up.
All tasks and lists and projects died
in this strange softness of so many flowers’ timeless knowingness,
and at last he understood:
gardens are not for passing through
or visiting or catalogues,
gardens just are
like nowhere else
places to be
and stay
and live
and see, at last:
here lies freedom, forever,
and all endings will be new beginnings.


Written in the loggia in the formal garden at Cragside. (It is called an Italian Garden, but is very English too). This is a uniquely beautiful place in August, especially in the early morning and evening, and for a week I can perhaps begin to appreciate it in the way the designer intended, because I’m staying in the old estate office and the patio doors open into these gardens.

Second hand bookshop

These books all concentrated lives you sense
we’ll all end up here in the end – 
stacked and indexed, fading bindings
hiding words which haven’t changed;
aged but still not read enough – 
wanting to be bought once more
(despite the dust)
and owned and loved and read again,
to change another life perhaps
and be restacked. 


In Barter Books in Alnwick – one of the largest second hand bookshops in the UK (with a great coffee shop and ambience) and a difficult place to leave

Cragside Haiku VI

Tumbling stream like life:
falling freely over rocks
into peaceful pools. 

Cragside Haiku V

Flattened nettle leaf
against wire fence, shadow-veined;
changed with each cloud pass. 

Looking at hills – three haiku

Wanting to speak truth
to the hillsides and forests
I feel overwhelmed. 

Thinking of people
like you being close to me
helps me feel hopeful. 

Time passes slowly
and almost nothing changes
while all is renewed. 


Three haiku to go together

Cragside Haiku IV

Green moss on grey rock;
shadows playing tricks with leaves
trembling with summer.

Cragside Haiku III

Finding a ruined hut
I could sit and watch the leaves
past their next falling. 

Cragside Haiku II

Alone in the forest
I want to sit down and weep
Is it the passing breeze?