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Exmoor humps and bumps delight

Beneath blue skies and golden light,

She bathes while ocean currents rise

In dreams that wash in with the tides.

 

 

 

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October Dawn

Living at the foot of Grabbist in the beautiful medieval village of Dunster is a blessing.  There have been many hours spent enjoying walks exploring woodland, moor, beaches and coastal paths and whilst I am finding it easier to be up in time for dawn, this was the first time I have ventured up through Grabbist’s woods to watch day break over the Quantocks.

Inspiration was at my side.  Images caught, words flowed to become the poem below.  I trust you enjoy and that you may catch a glimpse of how it felt and more …

Happy October everyone!

As new day dawns and wonder breaks

Grabbist’s woodland whispers wake,

Sun, frisky, round – his smile bold

Now risen shining dressed in gold.

Tis rosy pink and misty too

This quiet dawn October view.

The rabbits, blackbirds and the deer

They’re all awake and with me here.

A stag stands guarding peaceful doe

With quiet grace and strong repose

His presence proud, inspiring poise

Live well today and feel Life’s joys.

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Beauty in the Beast

DSC08621For the sharp eyed amongst you, yes the photograph above is of the notorious Sparrowhawk.  I’d been watching her for some time from the kitchen window, camera at the ready when I saw the yellow-eyed fiend lean forwards.  Anticipating take off, I took the picture only to discover that she was in fact bending over to go to the loo.  Not quite what I was expecting!

It’s April and since Spring’s welcome arrival, the air has been alive with trills, tweets and warbles of birdsong.   I didn’t see her fly in.  

Pausing at the kitchen window I breathed in the view.  Beyond the birdfeeders grow daffodils and primroses.  Pockets full of sunshine, they are scattered lovingly between the papal purple of crocuses and sweet heady hyacinth. I love this garden.

It was then that I noticed the unusual shape at the same time as the outburst of alarm calls before … silence.   I focus on the top of the arbour, something’s different.  Peering closer, the upright shape comes into view and I realise what I’m looking at is the creamy soft barred underside of quite a large bird.   

Everything’s gone quiet.  Smaller feathered friends have scarpered.  I look closer.  Her upperside feathers are a subtle brown, the colour of woodland undergrowth.  She’s quite a bird – not one of our usual bright eyed, chirpy visitors, this one is a killer. 

It’s the yellow that catches my attention.  Not the soft pale yellow of Easter primroses, no these are the scaly yellow of long spindly legs shaped at the end with hooked sharp talons.  I looked up – over the lethal looking curved beak and into her eyes.  Wide yellow eyes with dark piercing pupils, they stare unmoving over the medieval stone wall and up the Avill Valley.

I back away from the window slowly before dashing into the study to collect my camera.  Breathing heavily, my heart pounding she was still there when I got back.  Steady and unblinking.  She’s got a mean look in those eyes.

A bird of prey, the sparrowhawk masters the sky with speed, surprise and agility.  Combined with the attitude of a stealth killer, I often see her waiting patiently watching the smaller birds on the feeders until the time is right.   Occasionally the last thing I may see is her long, square-ended tail and broad wings, tearing through the air like a low flying fighter jet. 

At other times it’s all over in seconds, a few downy feathers are left floating in the air, or intermittent piles of fluff, a deadly reminder of this beautiful hawk’s power and precision. 

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The Meeting Place

 DSC01110The following words were inspired by my experience on the ‘Healing Words’ course, at the International School of Storytelling last summer.  It was one of those life experiences that can be challenging to articulate – and I share it now because this poem goes some way to express something meaningful to me.

 

Where lives the Meeting Place between All Things?

The quiet space, it holds the key

Where all that was and is to be,

The stillness and the pause between

The black of night and dawn is seen,

Or is it where the land meets sea –

A breathing edge of mystery?

Where lives the Meeting Place between All Things?

Amongst the pages and the words

Of writer’s prose and poet’s verse,

Upon the breath of songster’s voice

And in the artist’s palette choice –

It springs to life upon the verge

Where colour, form and beauty merge.

Where lives the Meeting Place between All Things?

There, heart meets mind in sweet embrace

And eyes light up a darkened face.

Round-raindrops fall from clouds of dreams

As thoughts increase and swell to streams –

With smiles we play as magic springs

And feelings soar on Eagle’s wings.

Where lives the Meeting Place between All Things?

There life expands to something new

There was one once, and now there’s two.

Each moment morphs to our desire

A passion burns, re-lights a fire

And there upon a path to tread

A journey springs to life instead.

Where lives the Meeting Place between All Things?

Rumi’s field is where we’ll meet

Beyond Life’s rights or wrongs to greet

Each other, and then side by side

We’ll hear Life’s rhythm on the tide

And where a stillness bridges space –

Between us grows, the Meeting Place.

Dunster Beach

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With smiles on their faces

And a waggle through their tails

The friends and folk of Dunster Beach

Today left sandy trails.

 

Twixt stormy seas and hailstones

Wild passion and raw grief

It’s good to feel the sun again

And with her light, relief.

 

The sea, she is a mile away

Beyond the scattered stones

Her breath so soft and gentle

Licking gently over bones

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While sky above is bright and blue

Large puddles shine below

For giant waves broke through these shores

As if you didn’t know!

 

And while the shadows lengthen

Stretching all the way to Wales

The friends and folk of Dunster Beach

Need no longer think of gales.

 

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Letters from Thurlestone

What a moment.  What a place.  What a time!

 

ThurlRockThe morning dawned clear, pink and bright .. time to walk, to stretch and remember the path to Hope Cove.  The westerly gales are back and sand blasts across the beach, stinging eyes and cheeks.

This was not the Cove of quiet cream teas or dreamy loganberry ice cream.  The sea was churning and even seagulls took their time, coming into land on gusty blasts.

Walking back along the sea-cliffs, our faces into the fierce wind made for quirky walking. Staying on the path now a game of balance and direction – with the wind winning for the most part, I swayed and sailed all the way back to the Cottage.

Rosy cheeks and shining eyes were my morning’s souvenirs … And I’ll close these letters with some poetry summing up the beauty of my experience in recent days.

Sunshine pours

Cascading love-light

Into sweet embrace

 

While Ocean

Pounds and paws the shore

Like a dog

 

Crested waves

Rush to greet old friends

Back again.

 

Eternal

Time turns in circles

True to Now

 

And shadows

Run from sunny thoughts

To dark caves

 

While giants

Wait in soft repose

For smugglers

 

And I sit

Bathed in warmth and glory

Allowing

 

Receiving

Senses alive as

Fire crackles.

 

Letters from the Cottage

What a moment.  What a place.  What a time!

LGCView2My second morning and I’m loving it!  I wonder why I’d tucked away the thought of coming here to write?  Now that I sit here tapping away however, with bright blue sea and sunshine pouring through the window, the clarity is total.

 

The detail makes me laugh. For what was once a bed with a view is now my chair with a view.   It is a home-coming of beautiful measure … a return to Self and childlike moments cherished.

Pausing, there’s a sudden clatter, as if many crabs race, side-stepping across the parquet floor.  Bezel lifts his head and brown eyes twinkle with curiosity.  Getting up I investigate, crossing the point between the sun-drenched cottage at the back of the room to the dark shade and sound of raindrops at the front…. another threshold and childlike footprints in the sand…..

I remember how she’d wear a gypsy scarf tying it back under her thick, curly red hair. There were long poles to carry with green nets on the end, a lined plastic bag and a pair of tough looking gloves that were rarely used.

…. Watching the dark squall head out across a sunlight sea, its black cloud heavy with grey showers, my mind turns to the beauty of contrast. How boring life would be without sunshine and showers.  Wet, glistening green leaves shiver in a stiffening wind.

I sit back and listen …. Memories come and go, carried on the breeze.  I like that where I am sitting now is where my pillow was nearly five decades ago.

I like that it’s still the room with the view.  And what a view!  Like a grey veil is drawn across the bright horizon, another shower heads out to sea.  The tide is on the turn.

Bezel comes over with ‘lunchtime’ in his eyes.  We head into what has now become a spacious, open, sunny open plan kitchen where Bezel enjoys a combination of fish and liver while I cut open a mango. Juice oozes, more memories by the sea….

“Ready?”  The tall woman with the gypsy scarf and flaming red hair is standing at the porch.  My seven year old hands grab a beach bucket and I beam a smile of rabbit teeth, we’re out the door and on our way.

It doesn’t take long to get down to the shore.  The tide is out and jagged rocks sit idle and exposed, while others wrapped in horsetail kelp, gleam in summer sun.

Mother leads the way.  Little legs run to keep up as she heads down to the eastern side of the beach.  She has a plan.  She knows where the best pools are, she’s been coming here for years.