Book Reviews and Poetry

Running in the Slow Lane

Running with the pace of life is fast
Journeys taken without concern or care 
Words used and carelessly abandoned
Targets and deadlines replaced there.

Among the burgeoning piles of file-paper
The overflowing nature of our lives
Where mindfulness becomes one extra chore
And our mental well-being's in demise.

Did it really take a global situation
To make us stop and take a different path
To see beyond our own limitations
To a different perception that was stark?

In every sense our freedom was clean taken 
Overnight the challenge made quite clear
To stop or simply be over-taken
By the warnings given and of course by fear.

And so quite simply we were shaken 
and everything quickly reassessed
In every home spread across the nations
Priorities that had to be addressed

Management of time became our own
To choose a little wisely than before
In the slow lane running - a different tempo
To listen and observe and gain far more.

Joy is found abundantly in wildlife
When we chance to stop awhile and look
To see how nature heals and restores
The balance of our lives so over-looked

Running, swimming out by sea or moorland
Birdsong and the colours of the skies
Consciousness of elemental beauty
Powerful healing for our lives.

I run in the Shadows

I run in shadows in the sunken lane  
And look above to laden oak leaved boughs
And see the turn from green to orange hue
And feel the sun go down in quickened hours.

On bracken fronds the webs are spun and clear
The wispy threads of clematis hang low
The Spindle with its orange fruits of fire
And leaves are kicked upon the road below.

The hedgerow fruits are laden and so ripe
For Crumbles and for jams for winter store
The apples drop and bruise upon the ground
The lane is dark and the air is raw.

The sun sets brightly low in western sky
The reddish glow sets the world
On fire
The dew already heavy on the grass
As I head home ready to retire.




Wild Swimming

Like a knife I cut the surface 
Of the deep dark saucer of the pool
And plunge down
Breath catching
And rising 
As toes and fingers
Are gripped by changing sensation;
The coldness
Seeps
Through 
Warm skin
Like a battery charger
Creeping into every part of me,
Leaving the world I know behind
To join me to this new place
In automatic union 
Of strange and raw freedom;
Where stress has vanished 
Drawn by osmosis,
Creating equilibrium 
In unknown depths
Of different rhythms,
Slowly Synchronised to my own;
Matching my strokes 
To the draw of the current;
My toes flexed 
Against a hidden force,
Breath is even
Energised and ready
Awareness is sharpened
The view is flattened
Levelled with nature;
I’m camouflaged
At one with the river;
My sight-line crossed
By those who travel other paths 
Unfazed,
Unknowing;
The rules are changed.









Evening on the Slapton Line

Elemental beauty 
Personified in the smile
Of the bay;
A ribbon of blue
Fading to pinkish grey;
The hue of the horizon
Giving way to a charcoal
Line - a smudge
Across the canvass
Of the silent sea
Save for the gentle
Rippling at the edge;
Soft roll of shingle
In and out;
In near darkness
Winking lights,
As vessels make their way
Into hidden ports;
Windows alight
From houses
Clinging like clams
To the rocks
Beyond which the luminescence
From the Lighthouse
Shines
White-
A beacon in the dark.


Summer Gone


Golden grasses hang
Suspended in warm air;
Gossamer threads string pearled strands
Across
In beaded chains;
Dew pools form
In grassy hollows.
Swallows have gone.

Blurred edges of the season;
Leaves torn by storm and rain;
Curled and ragged forms
Peppered lawns with
Debris strewn;
The party’s over-
The morning after.

On the brink of change;
Hold as we might to summer days;
We orbit on
Tilting from the sun until
Summer’s gone.


Big Skies above Dartmoor

Light box of the heavens
A Rembrandt sky
Painted and layered
An artist’s eye
Heaven drawn to earth
Held above
Shadows below
Clouds that grow

Haytor Vale

Sunken lanes 
Protection given
Strength of trees
Anchored and firm
Roar of the wind
High above
Scurrying clouds
The Sun chasers
Bring
Curtained rain
A rainbow sheen

Primeval ferns
Olfactory senses
Stirred
Of woodland spores
Drenched in moorland
Dew
Spongy moss
Clings
To marbled granite
Quartz and feldspar
Flecked with mica
Strength imbued.

Babbling brook
Gurgling stream
Slate-hewn
Ford
Ancient crossing
Dry stone walls
And drover tracks
Hidden from view
Fan like veins
At moorland edge
Hold secrets
Deep in valley floor
And rise through gates
To lush green grass
Bracken deep
Flecked
With gorse and heather
Open skies
And granite tors
Wild and free.

Running Beside a River in Full Flood

Mercurial bubbles of foam 
Twist and rotate
Spinning against the creased surface
Of blackened water
Effervescent as they travel
Downward towards the ocean
Then as I realise I’m travelling
At the same speed
At one weightless as those bubbles of air
On the water surface
My speed: the water speed
The sea 60 mins away
Onward the bubbles dance
Effortlessly over the churning
Waves
This is the river in full flight
Powerful and strong
Driving the current
Channelling the banks
Undercutting rocks
Carving its way
Onwards.
And so I too carve out the distance
Deepen the stride
Dig deep to ascend the hill
Onwards and upwards to home.

A Dartmoor Walk

The gentle rise of land
Through meadows of fine grass
Up ancient drover tracks
Cobbled and worn though time
Walls cloaked in moss and liverwort
Grey lichen hanging from stunted oaks
Draws the walkers upward to
The moorland gate.
Soft swathes of grass
And bracken flanks
Lead to the babbling of the brook
Over granite slabs
We nimbly step;
At Glasscombe mounds of stones
And ruined walls
Lead conversation to ancient times
The boundary wall becomes our guide
The eastern brook provides a ford
And then Ball Gate
Elaborate balls and granite columns
Tell of a forgotten age
The banks here adorned with flowers
Painted heather and flames of gorse Amidst jewels of berries bright.
Through lush growth we descend
On ancient routes that trace the edge
And finger down in secrecy
To meet the tiniest track
Like veins they wander and connect
And draw us down the hill
As moor is left and fields merge
Seamlessly a change
The track widens, becomes a road
Until the stream is met
And crossing a stile and past the woods
We have made our way right back.

Wild Swimming in a Dartmoor River

Lure of a swirling pool
Of rust brown moorland flow
Cascading over rocks
Covering orange sand;
The first steps in
Connect
With primeval force
And rhythm
To synchronise with nature
On eye level- a new world;
The energy released
To swim against the tide;
To swim and hold ones own
At one with nature’s force
The cleansing that it brings;
The mind is sharply focused
Sees things usually unseen;
The angled forms of rock,
The feel of rounded stones,
The sounds of rush of water,
Chains of bubbles spiral;
The freshness of damp air
The warmth of the water.
The freedom that is owned;
Breathe deep and inhale
An elixir for life is found.

The End of a beautiful Day

Warmth hangs on the evening air, 
Quiet breath of the cows,
Jewelled streaked sky unfurls,
Joins heaven to earth
In camera frame-
A world in stillness held.


Evening in Each Direction

Look West:
A golden band paints the western sky
Grey threads drawn through, 
Soft edges dissipate. 
Leaves which earlier were twisted and wind-blown 
Cast silhouettes;
The black moorland outline 
Is defined
Like the back of a sleeping giant.
Look North:
Cyan Blue and misty grey 
Softness as the light diminishes;
A world of stillness broken 
By the fleeting shapes that 
Cross the sky.
Look South:
The distant hills
Of violet hue 
Where the land meets the sea
Look East. 
Beyond the dark shapes of trees
A whisper of light
Pulsates once then twice
Through the night
The lighthouse beam 
Twenty five miles away
Look west:
Night.


Transient element of Morning

A veil of cloud hangs between moorland ridge and green lowland hills
Like grey cloth hung on a line;
The air is still;
A luminence behind signals transience of shower
And captures  the moment
before
Earthy spores release from heavy drops
In deliberate fall of summer rain
A primeval  dampness prevails
As arched stems bend forward,
Frothy clouds of spent willow herb shroud the foliage beneath;
Rain dances on the canopy above 
Drips steadily branch to branch
Of sodden grass
And slippery stones beneath;
The wind picks up 
In soughing of the trees;
The view diminishes;
Stillness is lost;
The haunting beauty
Becomes a memory. 

When hopes are Dashed

When hopes are dashed 
And all around seems dull
And uselessness prevails and all thoughts take downward turn 
Head to the lanes  
And breathe 
Look the mist and the rain in the eye
Run headlong into the wind
And stride towards the hills; 
Oh to be out on the road 
Going not wither or where
Taking all thoughts and questions 
Releasing them into the air. 

If I could

If I could, I would surf the waves
If I could,I would be a sky runner 
If I could,I would write a book
If I could,I would climb the world’s mountains.

Yet I can ride the waves of a storm
Run the depths of the lanes 
Write words that inspire 
And help in a way that moves mountains. 

Sunday Morning

When the mist languishes down the pane in rivulets of tears, speckling the glass in glistening bubble chains;
and the pendulous trees nod and bow in random motion against roar of the wind ;the spume of cloud moves across the sky in an unfurled carpet
Of grey;
and the moorland ridge is seemingly pellucid and the world beyond the tops of trees has gone,in hyaline cloak;it seems discernible to stay awhile in bed.
Ruth Partridge

From the Cliffs

First glimpse of sparkle on the sea
Glistening shards-
Fragmented light;
A luminance of glass
Shimmers effortlessly 
Across the flattened surface 
Of subtle hue of cornflower blue 
And teal;
A mesmerising amalgam
Between pastel land 
And powdery sky; 
That wide band of light 
Tye -died and fanned;
An array like
The stroke of a brush 
Glazed across the canvas;
A smudged horizon 
Boundless
Indefectible movement of sea and sky
Creating beguiling changes
From play of light; 
We are drawn to watch.

Haiku -Scandi Design

Memories to keep
Beautiful script from the heart
Simplicity shines

The Keepers- Stonehenge

Think of these as keepers,
Closed ranks
On hidden secrets
Form connotations of mystic meaning
Threaded through time. 
The world without
Dark mystery within
Waiting;
Questions surround;
Clear purpose inside.
What covert union
Maintains the recumbent secret
Unscripted in ancient rocks
From Welsh Pressili hills?
Behemothic bluestone
Hewn a hundred miles away
With Neolithic tools-
Rome wasn’t built in a day 
Or Pyramids by the Nile;
Which age considered primitive?
The stones  won’t enlighten our
Naivety
Or edify the secret;
Think of these as keepers.



Ruth Partridge

Cairns

Sculptural art
Or pile of rocks
The view aloft on mountain tops;
To one just a ragged mound
Another a safety line is found;
When lost in mist the drop is spared
By the site of stones ahead impaired.
One time with friend
We’d set off clear
Intentions sharp, maps set 
No fear;
We reached the ridge in record time 
And onward to the peak we climbed. 
Only then, did a shower of snow
Deplete the route we aimed to go;
At which with compass bearing checked 
Precariously we inched our way 
Knowing that the edge was near 
Impossible though it was to clear
So heavily it snowed and fast 
We were unsure how long it’d  last.
Nervously we stopped to think 
And suddenly the mist retreated
Enough to see that pile of stones
A cairn which every walker knows 
Marks a cross or sudden drop
We knew we were right to make that stop.
So as we pass that way marked spot
We place a stone upon the top
With care by some 
And others not 
But working together the pile will grow
And mark the place like lighthouse glow 
For all who chance on mountain slope 
The cairn is there to give some hope.

Ruth Partridge


Anchors

An anchor holds
Fast 
In a storm 
With strength imbued 
Taught and firm 
In calm 
Released 
The boat will drift 
What anchors us 
when things get hard?
Or do we come adrift?

Starlight Memories

Gossamer threads 
Spun gold
Join heaven to earth;
Whispered ethereal messages 
Across time 
And space
Chase conversations 
Across the skies;
Echoes of those
Who walk on distant shores
Who walk in parallel
Light and free
In time and space 
Tracing the stars.

Change within Miles

How lucky we are to live between the moors and the sea. Sometimes we feel in a bubble of our own micro-climate. A short drive and everything can be different.

A strengthening wind
And unsettled sky 
Grey mist intermittent over the moor
A short distance South 
To where land meets the sea 
Over the hill 
The sea comes to view
The colours transformed 
Cerulean and green
Sparkling in the distance 
We rounded the lane 
Drove down to the familiar beach again.
The difference so great 
Clear skies and wide views 
Start Bay at its best  
How quickly things change.

Beesands

Running with the Wind

It plays tricks in the lane
Like galleons in full sail
Trees high on the banks
Sound like rain
Cocooned between banks 
Is like the trough of the wave 
With every gate passed 
Another blast from the side 
The out run is fast 
Wind on the back 
With every turn there’s a change 
Debris strewn
Picking my way 
Wind in my hair 
Soughing of trees
Then roaring again  
Deep in the valley 
The shelter there
Stillness is held 
I can hear myself
Climb to the ridge
Meet it head on 
Air sucked from breath 
Big skies 
Reveal
High building cloud 
Towering above
A line of grey 
Intensity growing 
Another turn 
Wind in the hair
I’m flying again.

Faith

Trust in the things we cannot see
Injection of self belief 
Confidence to take
    A 
      step 
           and                                     
               Move       
from our comfort zone
To take a leap unknown
Resolve to leave things for
     Another 
            Day.
Courage to ask for help
Wisdom to know that
That we need to worry only about the
Things of today
Tomorrow takes care of itself
Acceptance when we get things wrong
Recognition of infallibility
And human limitations
Understanding that these
      abstract 
               nouns
Are as intangible as the words suggest
To unpick and define
As the complexities of the temporal lobe 
Limited by cerebral cortex
Faith is when
We hope in a better tomorrow
Faith comes from trust 
In love given from above.








They forecast thunder

They forecast thunder:
Looking above 
Marbled sky ever changing 
Sweeping like the dementors 
Of Harry Potter fame. 
A stirring overhead, 
Silent and heavy; 
A world in waiting 
Subtle changes 
Building cloud then dissipating
Heavy sporadic drops of rain
From no apparent source.
Enough to release the intoxicating smell of spores released from the earth.
The orange sky against intense grey- layers of smoke grey 
Bubbling clouds with cauliflower
Edges;
A Spielberg sky 
Intimidating 
Mesmerising 
Forces of nature
With
Strength building 
Into the night.
We’re still waiting
They forecast thunder.

Evening Light

Ribbons of pastel colours
Chalked across the sky
The heat dissipates
The colour intensifies
Above 
The silhouette of moorland ridge
Stars aligned and waiting 
A crescent moon aglow 
A hung stillness
Dampness creeps
And night waits in the wings
Until black 
Is chalked across the sky 
Enveloping all.
Haiku Poppies
Highlighter of verge
Of gateway or of the field
Brilliance displayed.

One day flowerer
A splash of red against green
Native of wasteland.

Resilient seed
To paper- thin endurance 
Poignant remembrance.
Ruth Partridge
Only in England known
Endurance of mist and rain
Dense blanket of grey.
Haiku:Mizzle- a definition 
Only in England known
Endurance of mist and rain
Dense blanket of grey.

Ruth Partridge 
Summer Solstice Stonehenge
The Heel stone marks the rise 
The crown of the year 
The sun in its meridian
Held momentarily clear;
Statistically recorded
Longest day of light 
Waning days till Yule
Bale fires alight.

Mystic ritual performed, 
Ancient Norse procession,
The light of Earth’s existence,
Mysteries of succession.

The sun reaches its zenith 
Upon these ancient stones;
Our planet in quiet alignment 
In  beauty is honed;
Connects something intangible 
Deep in DNA
Responding to those questions
Of Neolithic way.
Older than we can fathom,
None can reason how? 
Spirituality reawakened
To ask the question now. 

The orbit explained with physics 
Around this central star;
The planetary alignment mathematical
Seeks order out of chaos 
To be predictable.

Questions still unanswered 
Evoke such mystery 
Of time long discussion 
Summer Solstice agreed
A spectacle indeed.

Whatever belief or none 
Put science and faith together;
From this our wisdom comes;
The power of our Earth 
Is drawn from things above,
But the greatest thing of all 
It was made with love.

Ruth Partridge 
To understand 
To understand I have to place
my feet
In someone else’s shoes;
To smile and walk beside 
Is not a lot to lose.

Ruth Partridge

Compromise 

Nothing’s ever perfect
Nothing’s ever right 
Give and take 
Empathy 
We learn to see a point of view
To let things go
To see another way
We wrestle
The Acceptance of disappointment
To learn to live without
To let things lie
We pray for 
humility to accept defeat 
Forgiveness from
The one whose love
Will never compromise 
And so
We learn
The art of compromise.
Ruth Partridge 
The Stillness of Morning

Taking on the serenity of morning,
That first glimpse of the day 
Before sullied by things to be done; 
To simply ‘be’
In that moment 
Suspended in time and space 
Quiet and refreshed.
Alone,
Breath steadied and deliberate,
Still.

Ruth Partridge 



Ghost Routes

A narrow length of grey 
Disappears into black
Between high hedges 
Well aligned.
Ferns are  arched
With secrets held
In spectral stillness.
A Breath of wind
Casts
elicit conversations
Between the leaves,
Murmurs 
Of time forgotten
years
By long gone travellers
Whose spectres linger there
Above the moss 
And creeping ivy 
That twists around 
The gnarled trunks of trees.
Haunting stillness
Envelopes all and 
Takes me in to feel
And breathe that history.

Ruth Partridge








Hare
Brown hare at the gate
There on my wheel 
Power engaged
Turns on a sixpence
Gone.

Ruth Partridge

Shadows

Shadows form;
Charcoal stains splash across the road; 
Light is obscured
Thrown into darkness,
Hidden.
Shadows grow;
As daylight lengthens 
A tree in shadow 
Solidified,
its strength intensified;
Patterns play on surfaces, 
Undersides in darkness 
Silvered above.
Shadows define
The light at the end
Of a tunnel of trees;
The pattern of stone 
In a wall.
Shadows hide 
Those who don’t want to be seen.


Ruth Partridge 

Fog Haiku

Stealthy appearance
Resolutely unyielding
Enveloped in white.

Storm Approaching

Clouds of grey are churning 
High above in stratus;
Soughing of trees increases
With punctuated stopping
Under heaviness awaited.
Intensity foreboding;
Drawn to be outside 
To feel the storm approaching 
To feel the pressure dropping 
Into deep depression;
Oppressiveness in air 
A world more monochrome;
The road joins the sky;
Hedges lean in closer.
An air of caution heeded
With Heavy drop of rain 
The turning off of light 
Foliage  hanging heavy 
Birds going quiet.

Ruth Partridge 

Stolen Time?

Consciousness of sound
Momentary wakefulness
Awareness returns.

The calm grey of dawn
Recumbent cows are stirring
Sleeping world waiting.

The first sound of birds
An urgent call and restless
The flourish soon gone.

Blurred edges of day 
Nocturnal meets diurnal
Time stands juxtaposed. 

Thoughts like whispers flow 
Slowly losing clarity
Recrudescent dream.

Ruth Partridge

The Slapton Line

Long sweeping curve of the bay
Thread of yellow 
Meets mist 
And foreboding cloud
Disappearing into a charcoal sky,
Whipped up  waves
Churn against the shoreline;
Light plays on the ever-changing
Surface
Of indigo and grey;
A constant movement of the beast,
A heaving mass of rolling wave
Surges and falls;
Hides the creatures that live 
Beneath its surface.
No sign of porpoise or seal .
And where is that great Leviathan we once saw?
When eyes trained for hours
Were rewarded with 
That great spout of water and arch
Of the tail;
That spectacle so great;
Nothing today but
Random illusions from
Effervescent forces,
The damp wind in the face
And voices blown away on salted air.

Ruth Partridge 

Haiku Pattern – Tables Turned

At the end of March
We stepped off the planet
The world kept turning.

Our pace had to slow
With endless restrictions
Nature stayed at work.

We began to notice 
Sounds so more distinctive 
We listened more.

Birds became louder- 
The blackbird, wren and thrushes?
You just thought that way! 

We had quietened
And so insightful we saw more 
That was nature’s gain.

Unhindered by us 
Nature continued growing
The tables were turned.

What when this all ends- 
Will we forget this learning?
We owe it to the earth. 

Ruth Partridge 
A Walk along the Shore
  
Awakened with  childlike anticipation, 
the world gives way 
to a shimmering haze of blue. 
An empty swathe of pale gold sand 
meets the eye and 
catches the breath
with a haunting beauty. 
Wind-blown and almost deserted,
but for
a solitary figure some way West.
A setting unheard of
but these are exceptional times. 
As if stripped of all unnecessary
accoutrement of human activity,
unadorned  
where land meets the sea.
Fine dust and grit from an onshore wind,
A translucent sea
held still and glistening;
soft, turquoise blue- 
a sheen against a pastel sky.
Cool sun
and gentle beams of light
cast shimmering lines
on the water surface
as it 
gently tickles the shore.
A shallow skin of water 
forming undulating pattern 
of shifting sand
and rhythms
play 
under the ever-changing sky;
shadows modifying the colour 
in a mesmerising way, 
Ribbons of blue green stain.
A gust of wind 
entombs 
faded footprints
which lead to water's edge.
Intuitively,
drawn to follow,
we too sink feet 
and set  our footprints there 
in perfect line;
our pattern is the same.
And with flattened stones
Sea- worn smooth 
in palms,
we skim the mirrored surface
and watch the spring
on the meniscus
spit and ripple. 
Concentric circles 
widen
to dissipating pattern
repeated as we play.
Instinctive is  the need 
to hold a shell 
or turn 
sea glass in the hand.
These are tactile pleasures
reciprocated every visit
on a walk along the shoreline.
We tread lightly:
take nothing but the air,
the freedom of the open space, 
our voices on the wind. 
sand in the hair, 
the breath of the sea ,
the memory in our DNA.    
 
Ruth Partridge 
     

Lydia Bridge

An ancient bridge 
Spans moorland gorge
Deep running 
Clawing at the rock;
Smooth worn boulders 
Undercut 
And crystal pools 
Dark hollows block;
A cobbled path will take us still,
Smooth worn by constant tread;
Age old route beside the river 
Leads up to Lydia Mill.
Moss covered rocks line the way
Tumbling along its line;
Trees overgrown and leafy shrubs
Restrict this view of mine.
Sheep though graze beneath the boughs
To shelter from the rain,
Tucked in and hidden well
Till showers have passed again.
The way,though short,is special still
What waits is worth a view;
The water tumbles down with force
Primeval smells of  damp earth ensue. 
The climb is short 
An ancient stile
Of stone is at the ridge;
Beside darkened pools the final task 
To reach this ancient bridge.

Ruth Partridge

Rule of Three

The rule of three a writer's trick
Memory facilitated,
Three facts, that's it. 
In children's stories, threes found here,
The Three Little Pigs
The Three Musketeers.
In fiction we remember three
Beginning, middle and end agreed.
A story group- a trilogy.
A Narrative that shows progression
Built up with tension 
Then released  invention.
Even  stooges came in three
Shakespeare made good use of these.
A student learns with ease.
Letters too  have this restriction 
Salutation
And valediction.
There's strength in three for sermon too
Three points made, then conclude
Expected rule
To err would fool.
Consider other speeches then, 
'Friends, Romans, Countrymen!'
Slogans Pen: 
Stop Drop Roll,
The 3 Rs toll,
Three  goals.
There's power of three
Makes a cube 
Rigidity of strength imbued.
Take a power away and strength is lost.
A flat square is not as strong.
Power gone.
Three-leaved clover, a fourth is rare;
Nature's power of three is there,
Three elements in air.
The Bible too has symbols then:
The three wise men,
The cockerel crowed three times again.
The third hour,the third day,
Three times in the garden at Gethsemane
The disciples forgot to pray. 
Father, Son and Spirit given
At Trinity the power from heaven 
Omnipotence is riven. 
Omnipresent
Omniscience
Power over all with love is meant.
A triune God of one in three
Blessed Holy Trinity.
The rule of three. 
Ruth Partridge     
   

Hidden Secrets

All is calm below 
The soughing trees above 
Protect this hidden space 
The depths I've learnt to love.
 
Richness in these lanes
Hold such secret there,
A hidden wealth of nature 
Makes me linger there. 

Echoes in the wind; 
Gentleness beneath the trees ;
Vibrancy beheld;
The beauty of the leaves. 

Pastel shades of green 
Whispered feathers blown.
Muted creatures stirred
The lane gives up its throne.
 
The secret lives it holds 
Twisted stories it could tell
of folk who walked its path
This lane I know so well. 
Ruth Partridge

After Rain

A pastel glow beneath the heavy sky
Signals a sign of change. 
Warmth descends to valley floor; 
All nature held in the spell of rain. 
Breathe deep.
Droplets jewel from the fronds of ferns;
Earthy smell from moss and stone 
Heightens senses in this place; 
The knowledge of being quite alone.
Breathe deep.
In this world of darkened state
Of hidden boughs laid low
Musk of fox, rank smell of decay 
Spires of foxglove bright pink aglow. 
Breathe deep.
The tremoring call of the lark, 
A bird which  cannot be seen 
So high it flies above; 
The silhouette of the hare
On sodden field of green. 
Breathe deep. 
All nature seems awakened
The shower  for  now  has passed.  
Swallows skim close to the ground
Refreshment , nourishment
Elixir of life is found. 
Breathe deep. 
Ruth Partridge  
 

Summer Rain

 A leaden sky, 
dark grey marauds
 against
the brightness of the morning. 
A stillness;
with time
suspended;
all nature  waits.
Slow to fall 
the sound awakens,
perceptions heightened.
Olfactory senses  stirred by 
 primeval  smells 
of spores released.
A reawakening -
nature's release.
Rejuvenation or decay, 
water replenishes.
Droplets quicken- 
moving to a different tempo.
Sounds intensify against hard earth.
Nature responds:
Birds quieten, 
Plants stand tall,
Colours intensify
 against the grey.  

 With gentleness it falls ,
The weathervane redundant;
Windless 
Slow moving 
Thirst quenching
Life-giving.
Into pools and rivulets 
streams in the lane
each droplet  finding its course,
Repurposed,
Focused.
For each living thing
hydration.
Repurposed, 
Focused,
Changed.  
Ruth Partridge 
 

Early Summer Run

inspired after a run on a very hot day June 1st

A dusty road snaking down
 To sound of constant whine.
The rumbling sound of trailers carried,
Grass-cutting is the sign
Of summer in this ancient lane- 
A vein off an artery.
None will know that this exists
Save those whose lane it be.
To run this route is less well known 
But beautiful all the same.
It slopes away beneath the hill 
Contouring is this lane.
So stride is long and metres swift
From top to valley floor.
The river is a welcome sight,
The shade of trees assured. 
The river's sound is pleasant now-
A soft flow through the gorge.
Slabs of stone are now revealed
Undercut by constant force.
Sparkling water runs so clear
And tempting it would be 
To take a dip within its depths
As it glints and beckons me.
Instead the view of houses
Perched up on the hill;
The choice is there- short and steep-
Or even longer still.
Past the old kiln cottages 
The true height though is hidden 
A laboured run up the narrow track 
Roughly worn and pot hole riven.
This, an hour, is not so long
 As others on my rounds,
But offers up the best in choice
of running steep hills down.
The shelter though and trees contrast
And the river is a dream
And often favoured is this way
To run a while unseen.
Ruth Partridge

Inspired by a three Km stretch of lane which our family has always called ‘the thinking lane’- on account of us walking it almost daily, alone, together or with dogs. It’s a single-track road with few passing places, but mostly straight enough to see something coming and quiet enough to hear something coming. It is far from flat and the hills add interest as it follows the valley – one of the prettiest in South Devon.

Compline

A framed view of fields captured in 
The golden light
Of long shadows and filtered sun;
Where sheep graze , their coats full and heavy,
And lambs in groups
Charge to and fro in playful chatter.

Where dappled light is cast
And dark green of oak filters lime 
Through leaves caught by the sun
Down into the sunken lane;
Where the air is close;
The heat intense;
Breath is heavy; 
Holding on to the warmth of the day. 

Stirrings in the bank as I run past
Rustles and urgent calls of a thrush-
That elusive bird of dawn and dusk-
Darts across.
Bullfinches play out in final flourish 
Branch to branch- with seemingly no purpose
But to enjoy.

The flowers too-
Colours intensified
Of striking foxglove and blousy willowherb.
A bee works frantically 
Petal to petal
Bright yellow buttercups and campion
Face upward,
Tall grasses arch over.
The air thick with the scent of honeysuckle.

Time is running; 
I am stopping
To watch, to look and save the view.
Waiting.

A cloud of dust : a tractor passes;
The farmer waves
And makes his way home. 

The air settles and the view clears.
My breath is stilled.

This simple beauty of a world intensified
Just before the sun goes down in
Rhythm of the day.
Where all creation seems held
In harmonious pursuit of calm enjoyment.
This is their church and mine to share.

Before the ending of the day
Grant us a quiet night and a perfect end.    

Ruth Partridge


The Ridgeway Road

When I ran along this route the other evening, it’s comparable length and straightness challenged in a different way from the tiny lanes. As ever, I’m lost in thought and invariably think back. This was the evening exploring local history- something I wanted to do with the written notes I have to hand. Local friends may recognise the places. The poem dips and dives a bit, just like the road itself. Please enjoy.

Long and narrow upland road
Hugs the contour line;
Worn through time of toiling step
From abbey to the Devon coast.
The Ridgeway
For meditation and reflection-
A solitary journey,
A pilgrim on the route.
In Saxon times the name is changed
To Wheel Way, though still rough.
Wheels are made for ease of travel
Yet progress slow 
It's far from flat.
The reddish stain of Devon soil
Hugs
The rims and soils the boots
Of those who walk.
The views are good  where land is open
A safer way to go,
Yet sheltered too from deep set banks
Stones drawn: soil piled
As fields are made
And native trees line the path 
From the winds that cut across
Forested Dartmoor hills.
Romans may have aligned some straightness
Visible in Five-Mile Lane.
Sketchy knowledge they were here.
The Normans were and used the route
And named a field Vauldeveur.
Medieval times, manorial living
Gifted by the king.
Villain farms, 
A settlement, 
Beenleigh, Trimswell names remain.
From the ridge
Lanes steep and narrow
Connect the valleys
Thread like veins,
Farm to farm 
Hidden deep ,
Long ingrained. 
Still well-used this road through time,
What memories it holds
If only we could see.
The clues are there 
But nothing more- 
The love of history.  
 
Ruth Partridge 
    

Written this morning to catch the beauty before it is gone. 
South Devon Banks In May 
Elevated in tiered position,
Ephemeral clouds of white froth of Cow Parsley
Drift  above slender stems;
Elegant 
Queen Anne's Lace
In vogue and favoured.
 
The Violet velvet of Bluebells
Fades gracefully beneath;
Statuesque monarch 
To central orb.

Sparkling  woodland celebrities-
Fluted rubies of Red Campion, Robin Hood or Cuckoo Flower-  
And princess-cut diamonds of white Stitchwort
Dance amidst;
Heralding
The strong fanfare of emerald ferns
Unfurling their fronds to the sky 
Catching the light in multifaceted array.
These are the jewels of the season...

A long awaited
Regal appearance; 
Transient in beauty,
Perfect by design. 
Ruth Partridge  
First Light 
A petrol sky etched with pinkish hue;
The muffled cockerel cry;
A hazy outline of moorland ridge;
The first calls of a thrush imbue.
Recumbent cows with their faces alight;
Shards from the eastern sun;
A lone calf wanders, stirring the herd;
Sharp cry of a blackbird in flight.
Conspicuous by its reddish form,
A deer runs back and forth.
Green juxtaposed against the golden grass
The hedge-lined fields adorn.
A gifted morning, a savoured treat
So often going unseen;
A hidden world- a rhythmic pattern;
Opposed lives chancing to meet. 
Ruth Partridge 
 
Devon Lane
Ruth Partridge
 
High banks bear down on a ribbon of grey;
Undulations rise and fall;
A palette of colours brush one world
With another;
Hidden secrets: whispers heard
Of ancient labourers'  trail  
The Rhythms of time;
Work of the seasons kept marked;
Rough and worn down by tread and wheel;
Timeless, monotonous
Twist and turn;
Punctuated
Views through old gates that frame
Soft green against the grey.
A galleried work of smooth grass or plough,
Shows hill to climb;
The path goes on to destination end.
       

Ascension Day
This is the time of year 
When life springs from the cave
Pushing back the stone,
And vanishes to heaven
leaving blue stains in the woodland
Drops on sunshine on the meadows
New lambs bouncing in the backdraft.
Then we are alone , just
 Ghosts of memory on our shoulders,
The storms from events without, 
The dread of emptiness within,
Comforted by the softness of truth
Buried in our DNA.
Wordwool  mindfoxblog
Warmth hangs on the evening air, 
Quiet breath of the cows,
Jewelled streaked sky unfurls,
Joins heaven to earth
In camera frame-
A world in stillness held.


One thought on “Book Reviews and Poetry

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