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;
Apposed lives chancing to meet. 

Ruth Partridge 

Sundays in the Slow lane

Sunday 13th September

A beautiful day – perfect for another river swim. River Dart Henbury Woods. A dipper was on the waterline of the far bank with a tiny fish. I was able to swim right up to it- the only problem was – without glasses- I could not focus on it !

Sunday 6th September

A different walk from Shipley Bridge up to Black Tor. Looked like rain was possible but it held off. A lovely rugged top with a 360 degree view.

Sunday 5th July

A walk around East Portlemouth. Utterly beautiful and not that many people.

Sunday June 28th

A walk from Bolberry Down to Bolt Tail.

Lovely to be out in the air ( it was very windy ) and to hear the sea. The surging waves against the shore were dramatic and the clouds played marbled patterns across the surface of the sea.

A walk from Lady Wood to the edge of the Moors 6km .The beauty is that there is a little bit of everything: one of the tallest viaducts, woodland, streams, meadows, lanes, a cobbled way, ancient farmsteads and moorland.

Lovely walk across the fields with my besties.

Splash with Paint Day 4

Determined to paint before the end of lockdown, I decided to use one of my photos from a regualar running route. day 1 just messsing around ( far right) on a wet day. Problem – the gate. Simply hadn’t counted the bars or got the perspective. Day 2 and 3 (centre) rubbed down repainted , rubbed down again.The gate was better but the scene was flat. Day 4 – this is always the most fun, because all the structure is in place and I could have fun playing with colour, texture and depth.

I guess there is always something special about a Sunday morning. It is different from other days, by virtue of the fact that there is no work clouding the view. To say that there is nothing we have to do would be wrong – there is always routine but Sundays are different. The difference is usually that Sundays evolve and are not planned.

Sunday mornings don’t get much better than this: scrambled egg, a pot of coffee and a good book. @TheMontyDon

A walk from Lady’s Wood up onto the Moors

The feeling of going for a walk, other than from the door, was exhilarating. A sense of freedom, meant a walk done many a time seemed as fresh as if it were the first visit. Different sights and sounds abound along this route: the bluebell wood ( albeit a week too late); the close cropped pasture beyond the style leading to the Southern edge of Dartmoor; the narrow footpaths and the open moorland which opens up in all its glory, and the first call of the cuckoo in the scrub- land on the edge.

These routes once formed drovers tracks from our village to the moorland where sheep would graze over the summer months before being brought down to the pastures here for winter. Signs still exist of the ancient route, namely in the cobbled paths and dry stone walling. This contrasts with the high Devon banks, just a couple of miles away. I confess that I love this route on a warm evening, the moor gives such an ethereal backdrop for awesome sunsets and some memorable runs in crimson and purple haze. Today, by contrast, it was vivid and bright and one could not help but marvel at the open space and wide skies.

Blog

Running clears the mind to see new horizons.

I am going to share my world as I see it. Join me on my adventures . Enjoy the views.

Monday 10th May

Running : I am averaging two runs a week between 6 and 8km. Tonight 6km into the valley, along by the river and up the other side. It’s been incredibly windy and it was in my face for the downward stretch, which is probably why the hare I saw , sat still for so long – I guess it hadn’t heard me. Sheltered in the valley, there was chance to watch the flow of the water , dark under the trees, with a rich earthy freshwater smell as it tumbles over smooth walls of rock.

I counted about 28 different wild flowers tonight – I love this time of year . Bluebells, campion ,stitchwort and cow parsley are my favourites. And of course , the early purple orchids. Crazy weather means primroses are still out.

Sunday 11th October

Dartmoor Trail Running Adventures Blue and Me 9.5km.

It was one of those Sunday mornings that hold such promise . From the bedroom window, the moor looked clear and I was up early. Blue had just gone up on the bed when I called him down. He didn’t mind. The start was slow because he loves all the smells of the track by the car park. We passed a runner coming down so she was an hour ahead of me! Someone else with the same idea. The track opens into a series of fields beyond the viaduct and we quickened our pace through. It starts to climb after the second field and joins a steep drovers track to the lane. Once on the lane we had a few yards of road to the next track which rises to join the moor. This is very stony: it makes progress slow. At the moorland gate sheep were dotted on the lower slopes between the bracken so Blue had his lead on for a few minutes until we had crossed the stream. The pull up to Glascombe Corner was quite slow on account of soft ground and uneven from where the cows have trodden the ground. A Glascombe the river was fast- flowing and Blue swam across. I picked my way though boggy ground and used some makeshift stepping stones . Even so I splashed my way across: my Salomon Speed Cross didn’t fair too badly- Gortex has its benefits.

The run up to Ball Gate has so many interesting features- a stone row , Bronze Age hut circle and a huge burial Cairn. The run down the track runs alongside Corringdon and clearly an old route for taking the sheep up from the farm at the bottom. From there the low sun was in my eyes. It was quick back down to Lady Wood where we started ; Blue enjoyed another splash in the river. A grand start to the day.

Tuesday 5th October

This week and last it has been just a Tuesday evening run- just time before darkness falls. There has been something special in being able to get out on my own after a hectic day in the classroom. Tuesdays have no meetings and I’m in PE kit all day , so I arrive home itching to do something physically active. Last week it was 6.5km in 50 mins which was a PB. It was a calm still evening with the rising of the spectacular harvest moon and descending to the valley brought a change of temperature. There was a sense of chill beside the river and a mist forming above the water. The run home was the steep ascent of the narrowest lane on account of it being almost dark ( pitch black under the trees). Epic though and good for the soul.

So tonight I needed to clear my head. Completely different day. Rain on and off had rendered the roads greasy and muddy . Trail shoes were needed and luminous wind jacket. I had a headache to clear and only running does that after an afternoon on computer . I ran down the ‘thinking lane’ quite fast and up the other side . There wasn’t time for the whole route out or right around so I settled for 5km and quite slow back – putting the world to rights in my head! But this is what is so good- running is restorative : it makes me whole. It makes me feel alive and there’s something almost primeval about running in rain that just feels good. It’s good to feel this way.

Monday 14th September

Eventful 6km – fast run out to Westleigh. Local farmer warned me of contract tractors using the lane . However time was tight and I couldn’t do a round route . Had to come back the same way. In doing so met the tractor in the half light. Signalled to him to stop and back up to the passing point but he continued straight for me. I had no choice but to try to climb up the bank. Held onto ferns and bracken but the soil is dry and sandy . Had one foot on the ground. The first wheel passed mm from my left foot and I could feel the vegetation giving way . Six wheels of tractor and trailer and I was clinging for dear life – how it missed going over my foot I do not know.

Saturday 12th September

Wild Swimming in the River Dart at Henbury Woods was something I could not refuse- absolutely amazing. Such a long stretch of water to swim.

15th August A week of different activities

To be honest it was too hot to run after Monday. Instead, we did two walks at the coast and swam in the sea at Prawle Point Devon and Palace Cove Lanivett Bay Cornwall. I also enjoyed wild swimming in the River Avon at Aish. Today I swam at Gara Rock

Palace Cove – perfectly clear water over rocks and sand

The Benefits of easy Running

An interesting read- and it resonates with my approach.

Not every run has to be fast for you to become a better runner. In fact, the vast benefits of easy running are one of the core reasons as to how the …

The Benefits of Easy Running

The coastline around South Devon is stunning. Prawle Point is the most southerly tip of the land, hence a coastguard presence is there all year. Just around the headland is this amazing beach accessed down a steep path (some of it seated). Most people arrive by boat. The water was pristine, cold but that is what we have in the UK. Glad of my trail shoes getting down. A wonderful way to spend the afternoon swimming.

August 10th Dartmoor Adventures- Blue and Me

Early run from Lady Wood to Owley Gate towards Glaston Corner. Thunder on the edge of the moor and another cloud rising on the skyline so decided to keep to the edge. Some lovely views and total solitude apart from the start when the fox hounds passed us in the car park . Blue was such a good dog going through the field of them. Once out we were on our own. 6km.

Friday 10th August

I needed to run too: this week has been monumental . Firstly, the stress of clearing my Father’s house has begun. From his care home, he phones often and more often on who is collecting what, when and how. So my brother and I meet to decide. This week I had to collect furniture and artefacts . That meant hiring a van – a task itself. Next we had to reconfigure our house in order to accommodate things. Therefore I am in the swing of clearing out and reducing our home too. The stress is evident ( with so much to do) but cleansing and liberating to declutter. I am determined to continue just like I have tried to declutter my life and slow down.

Suddenly, I have lost that destressed state which I had acquired through lockdown. Tonight I was in need of a run ( with all going on I have missed four days). And so in the lane on a steady 6km it felt redemptive to release the tiredness of endless cleaning and clearing,placating ,justifying, defending which I have had to do this week .

Oh for the love of running (which was ultimately very slow as a teenager sped past me ) whilst I was lost in thought.

That lane earned its name as The Thinking Lane long ago -and for good reason.

Sunday 1st August Sunday Morning Run

Rarely do I run in the early morning, but today seemed to hold much promise.

Always starting on an incline means pace doesn’t settle straight away. I decided to go to the very top of the hill as Sunday’s are generally a bit quieter on the narrow descent; suffice to say, I had to pause four times to allow traffic to pass. Turning left at the bottom, follows the contour of the hill with the gentlest downward tilt. This is enough to get the stride correct and to achieve flow. For a kilometre and a half, the run is the best. There follows a short stretch on the main road to the bridges and then left along the river. It was already warm so it was good to be beneath trees. From the river, the road twists steeply to the village and then a steady upward slope home. 6.5km and the whole day still ahead!

27th July

8km around the local area in new shoes- Lincombe Westleigh, Beenleigh. Kept a constant speed and near- enough flattened out the time on the hills ( of which there are several on this route ). Short and steep inclines were easy. The long slow climb was more steady at 6km point.

24th July Interval Timing

I tried this : 2000m in 14 mins ;1000m in 8mins :800 M in 6mins and 500M in 5mins .In the rest after 2 Km I was level with the field where I saw 6 hares two days ago . I could see heads and ears which looked taller . Carefully, I climbed the gate : two roe deer grazing . Slowly, I walked along the perimeter until I was almost drawn level . Two hares were with the deer. The start of rain must have hidden the scent as I got so close. Typically, I was without my phone . When the deer saw me they moved with such leaps and bounds which was utterly amazing and made nothing of the jump over barbed wire into the woodland of the valley . The hares went several directions before deciding to follow suit. By now it was raining steadily . But what did I care – that was brilliant.

22nd July Running off the Route

Decided to be spontaneous inspired by Emilie Forsberg to be creative.

Took the footpath through three meadows. Did get a bit lost in the third and spent some time in woodland with barbed wire before retracing steps and working my way into another field and following the stream to the bridge. Rejoined the lane several miles on.

9.5km

22nd July

Determined to get a good view of comet Neowise before cloud returns later this week, we headed to the moors shortly after midnight. With biscuits and flasks of coffee , it felt like a min- adventure.

It was a total surprise to see so many Campervans parked up – everyone in staycation I guess. Anyway we duly parked in a small car park above Hexworthy. The same light pollution though that we get at home, though the sky was bigger. The comet last night was more faint than the night before – though the tail is long – and there was a fringe of light cloud near the skyline in the NorthWest.

It was fun all the same: we saw a few meteors, satellites and of course Jupiter and Saturn are bright side by side in the South. The Perseid meteor shower is not yet at its peak, so we shall venture out again another night when the skies are clear.

By Emilie Forsberg

We were all built to run – all you have to do is put one foot in front of the other

Emilie Forsberg

Tuesday 21st July

Short run training tonight 1km x5 working on flow and balance.

Sky Runner by Emilie Forsberg is such an inspiring read. She runs because she loves it and runs to live.

Run often, Run far,Run short,Run fast,Run slow
But never run away from the joy of running.

Saturday 18th July

6.5km out to Westleigh , Beenleigh, Christone Cross, Larcombe Corner.

Friday 10th July

9.5km in 1hr 8 mins . Route change as four twelve month shorthorns we’re blocking the lane and the farmer once called was going to take a while so I turned back and did the route the other way round. Beautiful evening for it.

Tuesday 7th July

4km Another straight forward run down the lane and back which was actually about 3km but I did 1 km at school this afternoon.

Monday 6th July

6.5km Combined two routes and criss crossed the contours tonight then ran along the ridge. Surprisingly warm considering the wind of the day – but there again a westerly wind does go to bed at night.

Sunday 5th July

4km in 38mins . Right on the end of the day with little light so decided to turn for home after 2 km as it was late. Also four cars passed which is unheard of and in a single track road there’s nowhere to go. Great run though short.

Saturday 4th July

‘There’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes’.

A local saying and so true. Just back from a lovely walk across fields along a flat ridge. No view as such but the sun not far from view despite the rain intensifying by the minute.

Shrouded white
Like ships in full sail
Galleons adrift
Trees moving against
A sea of soft green.
A flume of mist
To cloak the world
Swept across
Broad swathes of grass
Close cut
Windswept
Rain drenched
Earth.

Wednesday 1st July

7km average time. Out run by two faster runners – who by the time I was home – passed me on bikes for their second lap. A bit demoralising. Note to self – Not to do competitions!

Saturday 27th June

To run in strong winds I usually choose the SW gale behind on the outward route for speed on the first 3 km; to run straight back means the wind in my face for the uphill parts. If I go that way I have choice after the 3km to make a turn at the cross or run on to the next cross roads and that creates circuits of varying lengths. Tonight the turn at 3km opened up the view of cumulonimbus clouds bubbling up which had been chasing me.

The wind does funny things – sometimes it roars in the trees high above the banks which resemble ships in full sail; other times there is a complete lull as if caught in the trough of a wave deep in the lane. Dried leave tumble along the tarmac. Air rushes past and cars appear unheard.

Always a challenge to maintain speed but exhilarating 6.5km. Big skies on the hill down with the house diminished with such tall clouds.

Thursday June 24th

A walk with a friend along an ancient track, deep cut through rock. A hidden road.

Tuesday June 23rd

7km . Just before dusk when everything was still and quiet. A sense of being totally alone. No birds, no sheep stirring , whispers in the hedgerows. I did look round once or twice just to check!

Monday June 22nd

6.5km It’s midsummer – I wanted to run into the sunset but at this time of year it sets west north west – so far round it’s behind the hills. I settled for the hill down and the hamlet of Elwell . Stopped to watch a roe deer grazing in sunshine for 15 minutes. The river was dark and in total shade. The steep climb up to and through the village was in semi- darkness. Everywhere was quiet ( even the main road). Wonderful to be alone.

Saturday June 20th Solstice run

5km lovely empty lanes at 9pm to enjoy the longest evening . Blue sky towards the coast but cloudy to the west. Back in the garden the light was just enough to catch a few shots

Tuesday June 16th

It was good to be out on the road after work and to do the 7km Langford round. Again no stopping and the two drivers I met allowed me to continue to a gateway which was good. The sky was beautiful fantastic cumulonimbus clouds and the dense grey towards the north west against intense evening sun. One sudden rumble of thunder was heard from the other side of the moor.

Monday June 15th

8km good going and did not stop for anything except a delivery lorry.

Friday June 12th

There’s nothing like a time limit to increase the challenge and make me run faster . Tonight was a PB 5.7km in 50 mins. And back in time for Gardener’s World !

Wednesday 10th June

When I start, I often say that I am going for a short run. I never know how it is going to go until I have run the first Km . There is something to be said for settling into stride as this evening I started expectant of little , but with such an overcast evening , it was slightly cooler and I literally clocked the miles and chose a different lane as I got there. Constantly changing decision, led to 10.5KM 14,217 steps and 1114 calories burnt in 1hr 18 mins.

Monday 8th June

A lovely run of 8km – fast outward stretch and a chance to see the lovely garden of a friend, but a slow return and late for supper!

Saturday June 6th

8.5km Eastleigh and Langford . Saw this poppy on its own and it reminded me of D Day. 76 years .

Wednesday June 3rd

4km To run in rain was a lovely change. Everything seemed so much more alive- fresher smell, plants standing tall again, even the colours look crisper against a leaden sky.

Monday June 1st

To hit the lane down at rush hour is far from practical ,stopping three times for traffic coming up and down . Once at the bottom though it’s great to turn into the quiet lane and run for miles on a downward run with a gentle slope all the way. To then reach the main road for about 50 yards, I’m reminded that I last did this in the first week of lock- down when I could run down the middle of it. Tonight there were commuters. Before that was the whine of the grass cutting and huge tractors rumbled their way past. On reaching the returning lane, the joy of running under trees was welcome and the gentle sound of the river was inviting especially with the thought of the upward gradient to come.

Sunday 31 st May

8.5km my favoured route of late- the Langford round. Lovely to run through a wooded lane on a track only passable now with care. The difficulty is seen in the steepness around here. Literally steep down and along and back up again. There are few stretches where I can actually get proper long strides in- it’s great when I can. Down hill I have to be so careful to be kind to my knees. Uphill is fine but some of these are 1in 4 possibly 1 in 3 in places.

Saturday May 30th

Tonight was definitely slow after a full day in the garden. More photography was called for – 6.5km very hot in the depth of the lane. Stuck to the one lane – totally beautiful- the light, the flowers , the sheep, the birds – played tag with a pair of bullfinches . They went on ahead waited for me to catch up and flew to the next tree. It’s amazing how different male is from female . Probably our most beautiful song birds, yet they elude the bird table. So many secret gems in this lane.

Thursday May 28th

8.5Km Regular route. Don’t often plan my route ahead of time , but tonight I phoned a friend and it was great to catch up at the garden gate. Beautiful evening, lovely light. Divine smell of honeysuckle on the air. Bit of a headwind on the outward stretch.

May 26th History running in the Slow Lane

13.5 Km this evening took me along lanes less familiar, with opportunity to see where village originated. Our house is strategically positioned on an ancient route, believed to have been used by the monks of Buckfast ,travelling to Slapton, which is on the South Devon coast. The monastic order came from France. The road was called The Ridgeway, though in Saxon times the name changed to The Wheelway- a nod to the development of technology. A mile and a half from here is a signpost which used to point to a medieval settlement believed to be where the village originated. Today the finger-post is missing and so the lane I took goes nowhere apparently! We discovered Crabadon a few weeks ago, so tonight I wanted to explore.

Diptford is the village name, though Saxon in origin, it has been spelt in various ways: Dupaforda- Deepeford. It is most likely that the little stream which I crossed on the road near Crabadon is where the name arises from, not down on the Avon ( Avon means river and that is a Celtic word).

There is evidence of quarrying all around this area dating from the 17th Century. The evidence is seen on most old buildings, including our own of large rag slates used on the verges and eaves of houses peculiar to the South Hams, similar to those in North Cornwall ( another mining area).

Mining in the South West of England

The slate produced around Diptford and Harbertonford (Harberton Quarry) were mid -Devonian, producing very dark, grey slate of small random size. The quarry pool at Harbertonford is beside the lane and just before I reached it,the sides of a possibly bridge for a tramway remain. The farm beside the road, is conspicuous in appearance, being Gothic nodding distinctly towards a former life as a mine captain/ engine house.

I ran on to join the other lane at Rolster Bridge where the Harbourne river is measured for depth of a rise of 0.2M to 2.03 M when flooding occurs. I joined the road to Eastleigh and passed another medieval farm, Overleigh before rejoining my usual route at Westleigh.

Saturday May 22nd

8.5Km tonight . When we take the time to listen there are so many sounds : birds, small mammals in the hedgerows, the wind in the trees above.

Thursday May 21st

Quite still in the lanes but a strong SW wind heading home.


A morning like this holds promise- it’s what we choose to do with it that determines the outcome.

‘I know no greater delight than the delight of being alone’

D H Lawrence

8.5Km round the local route tonight. Noticed a well in the hedge, I’d not seen before- very similar to the one about a Km away- very different to the one in our garden.

Wednesday May 20th

8.5Km Lincombe-Langford -Eastleigh

Tuesday May 19th

SAS- style Lamping

We called it lamping- a group of five or six old boys would come stomping up the hill, out of the village, carrying Tilly lamps and bags over their shoulders. Always it was a warm, dark summer’s night after the fields were cut. They would disappear up towards the trig point for an hour or so looking for rabbits.

Last night, whether from just having watched ‘Celebrity Who Dares Wins’or whether it would have alarmed us any way, a flashing red light alerted us to a helicopter. It was hovering, which usually means there’s an accident over on the A38. However,a sudden array of searchlights scanning the sky set our imaginations going.

Searchlights-together with a helicopter- equal search and rescue, army exercise, missing person, murder- the fiction my husband reads.

One of the advantages of living high up on the hill is the view. Even at night the usual lights dotted against the approaches to the moor bring a sense of familiarity. Anything different ignites interest and questions.

We watched events unfold- searchlights swept the skies in anti-aircraft fashion. Huge beams stretched upwards and out like the lighthouse beam, before disappearing beneath the undulations of the hill, only to reappear further along.The helicopter moved closer, then appeared to set off towards Torbay.

Were the two events connected? Probably not, though that is what it seemed at the start.

All went quiet; we could see the depth to the stars. The night was dark.

Ten minutes later ( on the verge of sleep) a beam lit up our room with intensity. The clock said midnight.Four huge lights swept the field to our right, turned in different direction. Hedges were silhouetted in ghostly form; the yellow of the freshly cut fields was illuminated.

‘What the….?’ Then of course it was obvious. Boys out ‘lamping’ … young boys driving rough-shod over the fields at speed, recreating images of the SAS in training. Were they lamping? That may have been the intent- and modern day lamping equipment bears resemblance to SAS attire. Not a chance of many rabbits- any wild life would be long gone shielded by the depth of the double Devon banks.

What of the helicopter? My guess-it was stationary, dazzled by the display on the ground. ‘What the …?’ probably came from the crew. And their routine fly-in to the hospital suddenly became a little more SAS for them too.

Who says life isn’t exciting in the country?

Monday May 18th

Looking for the unusual in the everyday.

7.5Km run up to Westleigh across to Stert.

I once counted 130 + rings on this oak. 130 years of miners passing this spot en route to the quarry and farmers driving sheep up through the lanes to the moors.

Sunday May 17th

Rogation

  • Today is Rogation Sunday – sounds so similar to rotation: almost a picture where the revolving seasons of nature and agriculture meet with the mysteries of the liturgical calendar. Rogation (Latin) means ‘to ask’. In the midst of time, Rogationtide was as important in the calendar as the traditional feasts punctuate our year. Thomas Hardy would have been familiar with feast followed by fast in the set weeks after Easter. Traditionally, this involved asking for agricultural crops to yield and a blessing given on the uncertainty of the weather and the vulnarabilty of crops. Today, with our lives so much more complicated and multifaceted with many occupations within the urban setting, the idea of Rogation can broaden to allow us to ask blessing on every aspect of human employment- how amazing is that? How relevant to the past informing our future? We should keep our sights peeled to recognise answers.

A walk not a run – long though all the same 10Km. Took in several running routes: Langford-Harberton, Eastleigh-Murtwell-Beenleigh.

All along this route there are old buildings, stiles, wells and signposts.

High Cirrus – Love those mare’s tails.

Oh and I do cloud-spotting too! Mackerel sky – Change? Hmm.#cloudspotting

Saturday May 16th

A Buzzard- a lighter variant than most is conspicuous with its white bib and stands out in the neighbouring field ; a rook sits alongside. Nothing happens until she flies and the rook follows in close pursuit. It was seen early- about 7:30am and she was unfazed by the cows.

Poetry

Pack Cells With Joy

Pack your cells with joy 
Strip off all of winter’s sloth
Embrace the new day 
Celebrate the patch of blue 
Breathe deep and embrace the light.

Interlude

Squall and bludgeoning relent
Blackened end to winter’s claw
Naked trees claim dignity  
Somber skies,some respite bring 
Birds loud, in haste,intensify  
As clouds reform on western fringe
Unite a social call.

In the Roar of the Gale

Filigreed tips of naked branches  
Strain
Against the roar of the gale;
A solitary crow- in futile flight-
Relinquishes its path 
Carried by the current
On a different plane;
Carrying the ghostly
Conversations  of ancient miners 
Who trudged this route 
In twilight hours
As darkness and grey mist 
Descend
Deep into the sunken lane
Where carpets of spongy moss creep
Over sodden  branches and roots;
And dripping  ferns plug every gap.
Pot -hole riven,
The single track is stretched in girth and lined in running orange stain
Of tractor tread,
Leaching from the ancient banks
Punctuated only  by gateways
Splayed wide open 
Straining on the hinges
That hold them.

Who Really Knows me ?

Thoughts and entanglements from the limits of my mind 
Within in the cerebral cortex; 
Fissured and deep
The folded contours
The map of my life
In laminar flow across
Hemispheres;
Woven, those gossamer threads,
Tangled wires of emotion,
Beads 
Of thought
Which link us to places
Long buried;
When awakened, they
Resurface, fragmented
From the hidden depths.

Each of us carries
The map of our lives
On our skin 
In the way that we move 
In the people we meet.
Recognisable 
Of that inner cognition?
Or refined and guarded
A manicured exterior?
The mirror’s reflection,
Intricately complicated,
So I hardly know myself,
And yet in One 
I am fully known
For we are beautifully and 
Wonderfully made. 

Estuary

I turned my face to the sweeping sky
And the breeze drawn by the 
Eddying current;
I traced the snaking curve
Of the channel;
I watched the light play on
The mirrored surfaces-
Tiny rivulets spread like fingers
In the mud,
As Sandpipers picked their way 
With bobbing heads;
Their matchstick legs,
Angular and straight;
And beyond,a flock of avocets,
Their curved beaks
Stabbing like needles;
And wondered if their collective
Gathering was convivial;
Two geese nonchalantly grazed,
Comfortable together;
I looked across to ancestral roots
And connected to 
The view its beauty dawned.

Winter’s Vice

An insurmountable deluge of rain,
The dullest of days,
The coldest wind
As Earth,its struggle with winter 
In vice is held tight;
Even the snowdrops their
Heads nod low,
The ferns still resolutely furled, 
Fragile leaves languid curled 
Comatose from frozen state; 
All warmth squeezed out of 
These ancient stone walls
And dampness seeps.

Day to Night from the Window

With stealth the darkness creeps
And seals the day
With hardly a difference of 
Day from night;
Ink black rooks
From their roost 
Take flight,
Circle, then return to the
Same bare branches
Silhouetted against
The soot grey sky;
Wintery sleet
Falls;
The cold seeps
Through every gap;
Even the log fire
Struggles in the grate; 
There is no wind 
Just empty blackness. 
 Hope Love and Rainbows 
There’s always hope 
If we’re brave enough to
Feel it;
Light if we open our eyes
To reveal it;
Love if we allow our hearts 
To receive it
And tears
(enough to fill the sea)
To prove it.
Jewels in plenty to redeem
Life in all abundance awaits 
But patience awards
Those who wisdom have
With knowledge that
We are not alone.
Together we press on.
Remembering the rainbow 
In the sky. 
  

 A Winter Paradox 

A latent sun 
Which late had risen 
Seeping through the mist
Dissipated and weak in appreciation 
An embodiment 
Of apologetic proportion 
Lack lustre in warmth
Through which a murmuration
Of starlings flew 
In laminar flow across 
The far western sky
In mesmerising contorted pattern
Theatrical  synchronisation
Above the Slapton Line.
 Photo by Hazel Strange  
I dream in Silver 

In monochrome
Winter depths 
In haunting monotonous roar
Of the winter wind
I dream
Of the soughing trees
Their naked form
With fingered branches 
Protesting as they are
Bent low
And rain hammers down
On iron clad ground
Like sparks from
The farrier’s steel
On anvil 
Made as 
Headlamps light 
The dark road ahead 
A sparkling thread
Perchance I dream
In silver.


 Hoare Frost 
 This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img_3638-2.jpg
Photo by Phil Starky 




Through feathered leaves,sutured needles,
Icy spines 
Under the astral sky, 
Dark fingers charm; 
Crystals, thick which interlock,  
Breathe superstition 
Into the night of 
Supersaturated air;  
The silhouette is manifest; 
It’s stature changed,
Transformed to supernatural 
Spectral state. 




Earth lays Down her Mantle

Gripped within the jaws of bitter cold; 
Betwixt the Equinox of Winter and of Spring; 
When Earth her mantle, 
In frozen form lays down 
And leaden skies move across eastern soil ;
The wind,afresh, torments
The slender trees;
The door it rattles
And the signal comes;
Steeled ,the  weathervane turns anew;
Precariously, it points to unknown sights 
The garden,hauntingly now is stilled; 
The high banks,protection graciously afford;
The earth awaits the snow that still may come 
Reminding that winter’s chains are nailed and riven.
  


Under an English Sky 


 In laminar flow the colours,
Kaleidoscopic move
Across the moorland ridge;
Burnished bronze
And a torrid haze of straw
Unites with cooler greens
As the leaden clouds give way
To patches of powder blue 
And the world really does
Awaken to the promise 
Under an English Sky. 
 View from the bedroom window  

The Difference in one Day 

 Beguiled by beauty
The transient winter’s morn
With hint of white streaked
Across a cyan sky  
The palette of the hedgerow
Swapped for lichen covered 
Moorland rocks
And sweeping views
Candescent rise
From aloft the mighty 
Granite tors.

Air to breathe 
The warmth of sun
Respite from rain.
 



 


 Frost at Dawn
  
Uncertain,
That time between shaded 
Dawn and morning, 
Nature, 
In frailty  of perfection; 
Earth lays down on frosted ground 
Stillness and clarity 
To seduce the mind 
On distant views
Just out of bounds  
Though view,restriction cannot hold 
Unchained 
It serves to sate the soul;
Transient it embraces
Ephemeral white and laced 
Before transfigured it 
Resumes its green stained hue. 
Under a latent sun.



 


Lighthouse 


The strength of the beam 
Casts out  darkness
25 miles the light is cast 
Reassurance for those at sea
Enduring constancy for us at home.
 Start Point  


Dark Clouds 

Dark clouds are the question
But what of the answer?
Into the unknown
In fear and sadness
In isolation  and incertitude
Overwhelmed by events 
Beyond our control
We are falling
Moving in different directions

Yet the world still spins
In certainty
In smooth rotation

To look ahead is to look above 
In One who order out of chaos brought
And place our trust.

Winter Walk

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img_3458.jpg

A pale wintery light floods the bare furrows
As earth drops her mantle 
Laid bare to North Eastern winds
Dark fingered branches 
Frame the scene 
And steal the unexpected glow 
Locking secrets beneath their bows
Protection offered
In elemental fusion
As dry pine needles crunch beneath our boots
We skim the forest edge
Deliberately 
To keep the light 
And security of forest depths
Deep in thought 
Until we turn for home 
And into the raw wind that rattles 
The towering pines
Redemptive and free. 

If Ever there was a Robin

photograph by K Shuttleworth

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img_3454.jpg


If Ever there was a Robin

A well- rounded Robin if ever I did see 
Strong and confident
Insulated with down
And astride the bushes a beacon be 
Of hope in times as these.

Driving Home 


A marauding sky creeps over the skyline
Dramatising the moorland ridge;
Silver- fingered branches 
Steal the show
As their naked forms 
Stand sentinel on the banks; 
The moss - green of the holly
Boasts proudly against the
Impending darkness;
Sharply focused
The eye is drawn
To the silver lane snaking the   homeward mile 
As the moor vanishes
Blotted out
And heavy drops 
Land on the windscreen
Dispersing sideways.
And the rhythmic beating 
Begins.





Beyond the Blackened Pane 

Beyond the blackened pane 
Winter’s grip is strengthened 
Through fingered stealth
An iron clad armour
Drawn across the land
I feel its cunning-
The fire burns more brightly
In the grate,
A deeper red 
To its core;
The heaviness of night
Is carried
Only the setting moon with painted halo 
Peeps between the fluted clouds
To break the steel;
And our star
From black to indigo 
Intensely builds the dawn.






Yuletide  Sleep

 When against earth a wooden heel
Hammers aloud as stone on steel; 
When the Yuletide days of light
Seem most indifferent  to that of night;
When the wind pounds, rattling the pane 
And the sky relinquishes its  frozen rain; 
When stripped,the trees, seize ghostly forms
Standing sentinel on the lawn;
When bare stained fields harden at last
Iron-flawed cracks from ice are  cast; 
When the earth is tired, worn,cross and old 
Oh to hunker down out of the cold! 
 Artist Jessica Boehman
Snowwolfs Woodland Nook 

 
I dream Like a Child  


 I dream of clouds - 
Those castles in the sky;
Wide open spaces and sloping meadows
Rich with summer flowers
Of a picnic beside a babbling brook
Of painted landscapes - pastoral scenes
I dream of looking up into the endless blue
At the vapour trail of a jet up high
I want to dream like a child

Because to dream is to hope
And hope keeps us strong.
And ...we’re past the shortest day! 



  

The Solstice meets Advent  

The last solstice of the year
Obsidian and bleak
The fog all consuming
Dense and rain -clad 
Droplets running down the glass 
Channelled down. 
The celestial ‘Christmas Star’ 
Of this millennium 
Obscured
And hidden 
Announcing the advent of 
Christmas 
Also eclipsed by 
The bleakest of news
Borders closed
Nowhere to go
Tiers of restriction
Mirroring
That real story
Two thousand years ago
When everything was closed
Everything tricky
And Heaven came down to Earth.



Reflection on Advent 

Visitors bring their esoteric truths;
Friends their empathy’s are quickly shared;
Not one,but many, think by chance a country so could run.
What of these problems
Of the  year?
Maudlin talk from television screen
Broadcast hourly into every home;
When lockdown lifts this time tomorrow
New tiers to grasp
Wrangling in every sphere;
Oh to leave the record that is spun
To head outside into quiet stillness there;
To feel my feet on sodden winter soil;
The natural degradation of the year;
The rhythms that propel us through the seasons
By one who order out of chaos formed.
To Him we wait in patient expectation 
His advent how we need it so much more. 
  

First Sunday in Advent 
 
Mist low in the valley
Hangs
As the sun cuts through;
The cold
Burns as the stride breaks
Molecular strands; 
The breath is cut short
As feet pass
Sheep which stationary
Lie
In quiet contemplation make
Silver of advent dew sparkles
In drifts of white 
The damp tarmac glistens
A royal pathway
In clouds descending.
  

From darkness to Light 

Let the light glow 
Into the obsidian
Turn one grey pebble
Open the book and turn
The page
Rule a clean line
Start a new day. 

Islands of Existence  

Like an island chain-
An archipelago
Are we islands of existence?
Do our minds separate- 
Compartmentalise?
Hold onto secrets of the past 
Sailing to when we’re adrift?
Memories we return to
Like favoured holidays past?
Ferry crossings back and forth
Until we leave for good?
Or strands we take with us on our journey;
Connections, patterns,identities 
Drawn through time and space
Threads of gossamer tracing the stars
In laminar flow;
Those we love 
Those we meet
Those we pass 
A twinkling light
A warning flare 
Perchance we cross 
Or is it so? 
The chart  etched out in perfect ordinance 
Each choice is ours
Each decision
Freely given
To navigate those paths
With love.

  

A walk along the Shoreline

A walk along the broken shoreline;
The ragged waves crash against the rise;
Wind and rain drive 
Near horizontal;
The spray is mixed with mist 
Along the line. 
The grey sea ever deepens in its movement 
The sky sinks closer to it still;
The noise grinds relentless in the union;
Spirits are lifted higher than before.
  
Woodland in Splendour 

Branches- pendulous and jewelled-
Leaf dots of orange and yellow,
Stippled against silvery papered
Slender trunks;
The birch- a key player on the woodland edge;
Along the track we
Descend steeply into
The dense forest-
Alight with fiery glow
Above the wide smooth trunks of beech;
A kaleidoscope of colour-
Ambers and tortoiseshell-
Vintage greens and golds
Knit the canopy above
Like fairy lights;
Dense Holly 
Statuesque below 
Holds bright berries above 
Glossy leaves
The woodland floor
Is carpeted by a
Deep dry fallen leaves
Bright limed fronds of ferns and moss
Cling to the forest banks
The purple smudges of whortleberries
Are long gone 
Glimpsed through broken foliage 
Filigreed fingers
Across the valley
Where Bare trees
Naked 
Line the ridge 
Their form with distinct shapes
Textbook drawn.
Woodland in splendour.
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is pexels-photo-1585894.jpg
Footsteps without words 

The eye is drawn 
To capture 
The broad sky
Soft haze of the shoreline
The filtered light
The beauty 
Of defined grandeur.
The ear is drawn 
To rhythmic motion
Sounds without calls
Powerful and resolute 
The heart is drawn 
To footsteps without words.
Be still my soul.
 




Ayrmer Cove South Devon
 
Light on a Stormy Sea

Softly filtered light 
Shines through the
Spume filled air
Waves toss the flurries 
Into sheltered coves
Funnelling foam upwards
Like snowflakes
To the tops of cliffs
Above the noise of the sea
Nothing can be heard
As waves thunder and pound 
With every ebb and flow
In mesmerising movement 
The camera fails to catch
The churning of the sea
The call of the tide
The retreat of the waves
Just beauty of the scene 
A moment of serenity
Amidst the storm.




This bleak Day 

Rain greases the pane
A steady sound on the roof glass
It’s not yet light
Yet the day ahead feels bleak
A day clearing my father’s house
Same pattern; same house
That overwhelming feeling 
Stealthily creeps into the grey hours
It’s a job to be done.
That’s my mantra.

Slow traffic and misted windscreens
Moving in time to the radio beat.
Was it ‘72 or ‘74?
The quiz goes on
Traffic at a standstill somewhere 
On the M5.
Once stuck in,the hours dissipate 
Time is measured by trips to the tip 
The bin bags we’ve filled 
Inch by inch a room is cleared
Memories charged 
Then lives erased
Leaving no trace
Swallowed in black plastic
Ironical really 
For a family that tried to use less
Here is more 
Fifty years to recycle
To Landfill
Guilt merges with forgiveness 
The house is released.
It fees redemptive.
Until we go again. 

The rain intensifies
It’s still dark.


Look for me by Moonlight 

 The paper- white moon
Paper thin 
Hangs in the powder blue sky
A clean saucer with 
Milky white edge
Due East
Against a sky to the West 
Alight with evening glow
Ghostly grey shapes rise 
South West
Cauliflower topped rising to steep anvils
Flame -laced as singed by blacksmith’s forge
Like galleons broadside for battle  
Clear silhouettes of 
Naked trees 
Behind which the moon now rises
‘The road ‘is’ a ribbon of moonlight’
Words loved and familiar  come to the fore
Tonight the owl will fly 
It’s call will be sharp in the October air
Highwaymen still may ride 
The light will see them home. 

  



I wrote this poem 'The last Weeks' starting three weeks before my father's death on Dec 9. He was drawn to the rhythms, seasons and patterns of the natural world and always was astutely conscious of the weather forecast. In the Last Weeks there are poignant anecdotes pertaining to observations - he had been in a nursing- home  bed, for one whole year. This is a tribute to him.    

The Last Weeks 

That day the sun didn’t shine 
A voice was not heard
One star left the sky
The tap didn’t flow
A cup was left standing
Clothes on the chair
Leaves dropped to the ground
Littered the floor
Crumpled and worn.
There was no wind;
Everything was still
Fields ploughed and ready
The year come full circle,
Poised and waiting
You were slipping away- 
Unseen;
The clocks go back next week;
You wanted to know- 
I shall shout it out.
I said and I did.

Today the sun did shine 
Your voice was heard 
One star joined the sky 
The tap did flow 
There is no cup standing
All clothes are put away
The leaves have been swept
Frost glistened on the lawn
Everything was white  
The air was sharp
Beauty adorned
A world in waiting 
You slipped away
The wind is in the North East
You would want to know 
And I shall shout it out. 
Polperro

Spindrift line of silver grey
Tide on the turn
Red stain of paint 
Across the harbour ground 
Hemp ropes are  straining
Against
Hulls wedged in sand
The freshening wind
Throws fresh spots of rain
Drawn lines of grey
From the cloud’s edge 

Behind the harbour wall
A narrowing beach
The water rushes in
The dark mouth of the cave 
Hides a smuggler’s tale
Sea worn
Smooth steps
No tread
White walls and narrow lanes
Cling to the edge
Juxtaposed at odd angles
Misshapen doors and windows
Signify age and subsidence
Strange names etched of
Spanish vowels and Cornish girls
Do tell of strange liaisons 
Stranger trades of contraband 
And tax laws
Evasion and subterfuge
Do tunnels lead dreckly to the shore
As Poldark would have us to believe?
Dark tales in this traditional scene
So easily conjured there.
Electricity 

Beneath my hand a distorted energy 
A flickering page 
Electrical disharmony 
Overload and charged 
Flickering screen
Pulsating lines
Distorted rhythm 
A heart trace uneven
Unsynchronised
The whir of a hidden force field 
Blurred edged 
Blank screen 
Dissonance radiates like a crawling mist 
Enveloping substance
Hidden forces
Overhead cables play tunes above 
Static tension below 
Pulsating noise 
Chaotic motion 
Babbling voices
Blank screens
Without charge 
Without patience
Buttons pressed with frantic motion
Random commands
No time to wait 
All time to lose
Head spin 
Headache 
Pressure mounts 
No backup
Fear and adrenelin
Neurons fire sparks 
To random
Distorted ideas and
Forced
Unrealistic expectations
Irrational thoughts seep through the cortex 
Cancerous in motive they seek to destroy 
Caustic and marauding
A spiral of disillusionment 
Hopelessness resonates
In spirals.

Reverse the spin.

Regain control
Change gear and 
Change thought with a
Different energy
Head up
Run though the rain 
Under the pylons 
A different electricity  in the 
Soughing  of trees 
The sting of the rain and lick of  the hair 
The force of the wind full in the face 
The splash of the heel 
The rhythm of pace 
Shout into the air 
Release it aloud 
Into the void
Nobody hears 
Somebody hears 
We are heard
We are known
Wonderfully so-
Free radicles
Connected but free. 





From West to East 


From West to East
Granite exchanged for broken flint
Cloud and cold for warmth of sun
An autumnal morning for late summer afternoon
Overcast moorland to glinting sea
A jewelled picture
A precious time
Coming home.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img_2865.jpg

We Live with Dreams

We live with dreams
When hopes are raised
And lines are changed 
Excitement looms
Everything is bright
Colours shine
And energised and bold
Life feels good.


All it takes-
A hidden agenda
Not what it seems 
Tables are turned
Warnings given
A realisation
Disappointment
Tries to overwhelm
To bring us down 
Seeking to undermine 
Confidence dwindles
Cheated
Deflated 
We feel lost. 

A new day
New horizon
A new goal
There’s always choice
To turn it around 
Look forward
We hope 
We trust again
In one who knows
Who shares the journey 
And so we move on
To live with dreams.

Pack Cells With Joy

Pack your cells with joy 
Strip off all of winter’s sloth
Embrace the new day 
Celebrate the patch of blue 
Breathe deep and embrace the light.

Interlude

Squall and bludgeoning relent
Blackened end to winter’s claw
Naked trees claim dignity  
Somber skies,some respite bring 
Birds loud, in haste,intensify  
As clouds reform on western fringe
Unite a social call.

In the Roar of the Gale

Filigreed tips of naked branches  
Strain
Against the roar of the gale;
A solitary crow- in futile flight-
Relinquishes its path 
Carried by the current
On a different plane;
Carrying the ghostly
Conversations  of ancient miners 
Who trudged this route 
In twilight hours
As darkness and grey mist 
Descend
Deep into the sunken lane
Where carpets of spongy moss creep
Over sodden  branches and roots;
And dripping  ferns plug every gap.
Pot -hole riven,
The single track is stretched in girth and lined in running orange stain
Of tractor tread,
Leaching from the ancient banks
Punctuated only  by gateways
Splayed wide open 
Straining on the hinges
That hold them.

Who Really Knows me ?

Thoughts and entanglements from the limits of my mind 
Within in the cerebral cortex; 
Fissured and deep
The folded contours
The map of my life
In laminar flow across
Hemispheres;
Woven, those gossamer threads,
Tangled wires of emotion,
Beads 
Of thought
Which link us to places
Long buried;
When awakened, they
Resurface, fragmented
From the hidden depths.

Each of us carries
The map of our lives
On our skin 
In the way that we move 
In the people we meet.
Recognisable 
Of that inner cognition?
Or refined and guarded
A manicured exterior?
The mirror’s reflection,
Intricately complicated,
So I hardly know myself,
And yet in One 
I am fully known
For we are beautifully and 
Wonderfully made. 

Estuary

I turned my face to the sweeping sky
And the breeze drawn by the 
Eddying current;
I traced the snaking curve
Of the channel;
I watched the light play on
The mirrored surfaces-
Tiny rivulets spread like fingers
In the mud,
As Sandpipers picked their way 
With bobbing heads;
Their matchstick legs,
Angular and straight;
And beyond,a flock of avocets,
Their curved beaks
Stabbing like needles;
And wondered if their collective
Gathering was convivial;
Two geese nonchalantly grazed,
Comfortable together;
I looked across to ancestral roots
And connected to 
The view its beauty dawned.

Winter’s Vice

An insurmountable deluge of rain,
The dullest of days,
The coldest wind
As Earth,its struggle with winter 
In vice is held tight;
Even the snowdrops their
Heads nod low,
The ferns still resolutely furled, 
Fragile leaves languid curled 
Comatose from frozen state; 
All warmth squeezed out of 
These ancient stone walls
And dampness seeps.

Day to Night from the Window

With stealth the darkness creeps
And seals the day
With hardly a difference of 
Day from night;
Ink black rooks
From their roost 
Take flight,
Circle, then return to the
Same bare branches
Silhouetted against
The soot grey sky;
Wintery sleet
Falls;
The cold seeps
Through every gap;
Even the log fire
Struggles in the grate; 
There is no wind 
Just empty blackness. 
 Hope Love and Rainbows 
There’s always hope 
If we’re brave enough to
Feel it;
Light if we open our eyes
To reveal it;
Love if we allow our hearts 
To receive it
And tears
(enough to fill the sea)
To prove it.
Jewels in plenty to redeem
Life in all abundance awaits 
But patience awards
Those who wisdom have
With knowledge that
We are not alone.
Together we press on.
Remembering the rainbow 
In the sky. 
  

 A Winter Paradox 

A latent sun 
Which late had risen 
Seeping through the mist
Dissipated and weak in appreciation 
An embodiment 
Of apologetic proportion 
Lack lustre in warmth
Through which a murmuration
Of starlings flew 
In laminar flow across 
The far western sky
In mesmerising contorted pattern
Theatrical  synchronisation
Above the Slapton Line.
 Photo by Hazel Strange  
I dream in Silver 

In monochrome
Winter depths 
In haunting monotonous roar
Of the winter wind
I dream
Of the soughing trees
Their naked form
With fingered branches 
Protesting as they are
Bent low
And rain hammers down
On iron clad ground
Like sparks from
The farrier’s steel
On anvil 
Made as 
Headlamps light 
The dark road ahead 
A sparkling thread
Perchance I dream
In silver.


 Hoare Frost 
 This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img_3638-2.jpg
Photo by Phil Starky 




Through feathered leaves,sutured needles,
Icy spines 
Under the astral sky, 
Dark fingers charm; 
Crystals, thick which interlock,  
Breathe superstition 
Into the night of 
Supersaturated air;  
The silhouette is manifest; 
It’s stature changed,
Transformed to supernatural 
Spectral state. 




Earth lays Down her Mantle

Gripped within the jaws of bitter cold; 
Betwixt the Equinox of Winter and of Spring; 
When Earth her mantle, 
In frozen form lays down 
And leaden skies move across eastern soil ;
The wind,afresh, torments
The slender trees;
The door it rattles
And the signal comes;
Steeled ,the  weathervane turns anew;
Precariously, it points to unknown sights 
The garden,hauntingly now is stilled; 
The high banks,protection graciously afford;
The earth awaits the snow that still may come 
Reminding that winter’s chains are nailed and riven.
  


Under an English Sky 


 In laminar flow the colours,
Kaleidoscopic move
Across the moorland ridge;
Burnished bronze
And a torrid haze of straw
Unites with cooler greens
As the leaden clouds give way
To patches of powder blue 
And the world really does
Awaken to the promise 
Under an English Sky. 
 View from the bedroom window  

The Difference in one Day 

 Beguiled by beauty
The transient winter’s morn
With hint of white streaked
Across a cyan sky  
The palette of the hedgerow
Swapped for lichen covered 
Moorland rocks
And sweeping views
Candescent rise
From aloft the mighty 
Granite tors.

Air to breathe 
The warmth of sun
Respite from rain.
 



 


 Frost at Dawn
  
Uncertain,
That time between shaded 
Dawn and morning, 
Nature, 
In frailty  of perfection; 
Earth lays down on frosted ground 
Stillness and clarity 
To seduce the mind 
On distant views
Just out of bounds  
Though view,restriction cannot hold 
Unchained 
It serves to sate the soul;
Transient it embraces
Ephemeral white and laced 
Before transfigured it 
Resumes its green stained hue. 
Under a latent sun.



 


Lighthouse 


The strength of the beam 
Casts out  darkness
25 miles the light is cast 
Reassurance for those at sea
Enduring constancy for us at home.
 Start Point  


Dark Clouds 

Dark clouds are the question
But what of the answer?
Into the unknown
In fear and sadness
In isolation  and incertitude
Overwhelmed by events 
Beyond our control
We are falling
Moving in different directions

Yet the world still spins
In certainty
In smooth rotation

To look ahead is to look above 
In One who order out of chaos brought
And place our trust.

Winter Walk

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img_3458.jpg

A pale wintery light floods the bare furrows
As earth drops her mantle 
Laid bare to North Eastern winds
Dark fingered branches 
Frame the scene 
And steal the unexpected glow 
Locking secrets beneath their bows
Protection offered
In elemental fusion
As dry pine needles crunch beneath our boots
We skim the forest edge
Deliberately 
To keep the light 
And security of forest depths
Deep in thought 
Until we turn for home 
And into the raw wind that rattles 
The towering pines
Redemptive and free. 

If Ever there was a Robin

photograph by K Shuttleworth

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img_3454.jpg


If Ever there was a Robin

A well- rounded Robin if ever I did see 
Strong and confident
Insulated with down
And astride the bushes a beacon be 
Of hope in times as these.

Driving Home 


A marauding sky creeps over the skyline
Dramatising the moorland ridge;
Silver- fingered branches 
Steal the show
As their naked forms 
Stand sentinel on the banks; 
The moss - green of the holly
Boasts proudly against the
Impending darkness;
Sharply focused
The eye is drawn
To the silver lane snaking the   homeward mile 
As the moor vanishes
Blotted out
And heavy drops 
Land on the windscreen
Dispersing sideways.
And the rhythmic beating 
Begins.





Beyond the Blackened Pane 

Beyond the blackened pane 
Winter’s grip is strengthened 
Through fingered stealth
An iron clad armour
Drawn across the land
I feel its cunning-
The fire burns more brightly
In the grate,
A deeper red 
To its core;
The heaviness of night
Is carried
Only the setting moon with painted halo 
Peeps between the fluted clouds
To break the steel;
And our star
From black to indigo 
Intensely builds the dawn.






Yuletide  Sleep

 When against earth a wooden heel
Hammers aloud as stone on steel; 
When the Yuletide days of light
Seem most indifferent  to that of night;
When the wind pounds, rattling the pane 
And the sky relinquishes its  frozen rain; 
When stripped,the trees, seize ghostly forms
Standing sentinel on the lawn;
When bare stained fields harden at last
Iron-flawed cracks from ice are  cast; 
When the earth is tired, worn,cross and old 
Oh to hunker down out of the cold! 
 Artist Jessica Boehman
Snowwolfs Woodland Nook 

 
I dream Like a Child  


 I dream of clouds - 
Those castles in the sky;
Wide open spaces and sloping meadows
Rich with summer flowers
Of a picnic beside a babbling brook
Of painted landscapes - pastoral scenes
I dream of looking up into the endless blue
At the vapour trail of a jet up high
I want to dream like a child

Because to dream is to hope
And hope keeps us strong.
And ...we’re past the shortest day! 



  

The Solstice meets Advent  

The last solstice of the year
Obsidian and bleak
The fog all consuming
Dense and rain -clad 
Droplets running down the glass 
Channelled down. 
The celestial ‘Christmas Star’ 
Of this millennium 
Obscured
And hidden 
Announcing the advent of 
Christmas 
Also eclipsed by 
The bleakest of news
Borders closed
Nowhere to go
Tiers of restriction
Mirroring
That real story
Two thousand years ago
When everything was closed
Everything tricky
And Heaven came down to Earth.



Reflection on Advent 

Visitors bring their esoteric truths;
Friends their empathy’s are quickly shared;
Not one,but many, think by chance a country so could run.
What of these problems
Of the  year?
Maudlin talk from television screen
Broadcast hourly into every home;
When lockdown lifts this time tomorrow
New tiers to grasp
Wrangling in every sphere;
Oh to leave the record that is spun
To head outside into quiet stillness there;
To feel my feet on sodden winter soil;
The natural degradation of the year;
The rhythms that propel us through the seasons
By one who order out of chaos formed.
To Him we wait in patient expectation 
His advent how we need it so much more. 
  

First Sunday in Advent 
 
Mist low in the valley
Hangs
As the sun cuts through;
The cold
Burns as the stride breaks
Molecular strands; 
The breath is cut short
As feet pass
Sheep which stationary
Lie
In quiet contemplation make
Silver of advent dew sparkles
In drifts of white 
The damp tarmac glistens
A royal pathway
In clouds descending.
  

From darkness to Light 

Let the light glow 
Into the obsidian
Turn one grey pebble
Open the book and turn
The page
Rule a clean line
Start a new day. 

Islands of Existence  

Like an island chain-
An archipelago
Are we islands of existence?
Do our minds separate- 
Compartmentalise?
Hold onto secrets of the past 
Sailing to when we’re adrift?
Memories we return to
Like favoured holidays past?
Ferry crossings back and forth
Until we leave for good?
Or strands we take with us on our journey;
Connections, patterns,identities 
Drawn through time and space
Threads of gossamer tracing the stars
In laminar flow;
Those we love 
Those we meet
Those we pass 
A twinkling light
A warning flare 
Perchance we cross 
Or is it so? 
The chart  etched out in perfect ordinance 
Each choice is ours
Each decision
Freely given
To navigate those paths
With love.

  

A walk along the Shoreline

A walk along the broken shoreline;
The ragged waves crash against the rise;
Wind and rain drive 
Near horizontal;
The spray is mixed with mist 
Along the line. 
The grey sea ever deepens in its movement 
The sky sinks closer to it still;
The noise grinds relentless in the union;
Spirits are lifted higher than before.
  
Woodland in Splendour 

Branches- pendulous and jewelled-
Leaf dots of orange and yellow,
Stippled against silvery papered
Slender trunks;
The birch- a key player on the woodland edge;
Along the track we
Descend steeply into
The dense forest-
Alight with fiery glow
Above the wide smooth trunks of beech;
A kaleidoscope of colour-
Ambers and tortoiseshell-
Vintage greens and golds
Knit the canopy above
Like fairy lights;
Dense Holly 
Statuesque below 
Holds bright berries above 
Glossy leaves
The woodland floor
Is carpeted by a
Deep dry fallen leaves
Bright limed fronds of ferns and moss
Cling to the forest banks
The purple smudges of whortleberries
Are long gone 
Glimpsed through broken foliage 
Filigreed fingers
Across the valley
Where Bare trees
Naked 
Line the ridge 
Their form with distinct shapes
Textbook drawn.
Woodland in splendour.
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Footsteps without words 

The eye is drawn 
To capture 
The broad sky
Soft haze of the shoreline
The filtered light
The beauty 
Of defined grandeur.
The ear is drawn 
To rhythmic motion
Sounds without calls
Powerful and resolute 
The heart is drawn 
To footsteps without words.
Be still my soul.
 




Ayrmer Cove South Devon
 
Light on a Stormy Sea

Softly filtered light 
Shines through the
Spume filled air
Waves toss the flurries 
Into sheltered coves
Funnelling foam upwards
Like snowflakes
To the tops of cliffs
Above the noise of the sea
Nothing can be heard
As waves thunder and pound 
With every ebb and flow
In mesmerising movement 
The camera fails to catch
The churning of the sea
The call of the tide
The retreat of the waves
Just beauty of the scene 
A moment of serenity
Amidst the storm.




This bleak Day 

Rain greases the pane
A steady sound on the roof glass
It’s not yet light
Yet the day ahead feels bleak
A day clearing my father’s house
Same pattern; same house
That overwhelming feeling 
Stealthily creeps into the grey hours
It’s a job to be done.
That’s my mantra.

Slow traffic and misted windscreens
Moving in time to the radio beat.
Was it ‘72 or ‘74?
The quiz goes on
Traffic at a standstill somewhere 
On the M5.
Once stuck in,the hours dissipate 
Time is measured by trips to the tip 
The bin bags we’ve filled 
Inch by inch a room is cleared
Memories charged 
Then lives erased
Leaving no trace
Swallowed in black plastic
Ironical really 
For a family that tried to use less
Here is more 
Fifty years to recycle
To Landfill
Guilt merges with forgiveness 
The house is released.
It fees redemptive.
Until we go again. 

The rain intensifies
It’s still dark.


Look for me by Moonlight 

 The paper- white moon
Paper thin 
Hangs in the powder blue sky
A clean saucer with 
Milky white edge
Due East
Against a sky to the West 
Alight with evening glow
Ghostly grey shapes rise 
South West
Cauliflower topped rising to steep anvils
Flame -laced as singed by blacksmith’s forge
Like galleons broadside for battle  
Clear silhouettes of 
Naked trees 
Behind which the moon now rises
‘The road ‘is’ a ribbon of moonlight’
Words loved and familiar  come to the fore
Tonight the owl will fly 
It’s call will be sharp in the October air
Highwaymen still may ride 
The light will see them home. 

  



I wrote this poem 'The last Weeks' starting three weeks before my father's death on Dec 9. He was drawn to the rhythms, seasons and patterns of the natural world and always was astutely conscious of the weather forecast. In the Last Weeks there are poignant anecdotes pertaining to observations - he had been in a nursing- home  bed, for one whole year. This is a tribute to him.    

The Last Weeks 

That day the sun didn’t shine 
A voice was not heard
One star left the sky
The tap didn’t flow
A cup was left standing
Clothes on the chair
Leaves dropped to the ground
Littered the floor
Crumpled and worn.
There was no wind;
Everything was still
Fields ploughed and ready
The year come full circle,
Poised and waiting
You were slipping away- 
Unseen;
The clocks go back next week;
You wanted to know- 
I shall shout it out.
I said and I did.

Today the sun did shine 
Your voice was heard 
One star joined the sky 
The tap did flow 
There is no cup standing
All clothes are put away
The leaves have been swept
Frost glistened on the lawn
Everything was white  
The air was sharp
Beauty adorned
A world in waiting 
You slipped away
The wind is in the North East
You would want to know 
And I shall shout it out. 
Polperro

Spindrift line of silver grey
Tide on the turn
Red stain of paint 
Across the harbour ground 
Hemp ropes are  straining
Against
Hulls wedged in sand
The freshening wind
Throws fresh spots of rain
Drawn lines of grey
From the cloud’s edge 

Behind the harbour wall
A narrowing beach
The water rushes in
The dark mouth of the cave 
Hides a smuggler’s tale
Sea worn
Smooth steps
No tread
White walls and narrow lanes
Cling to the edge
Juxtaposed at odd angles
Misshapen doors and windows
Signify age and subsidence
Strange names etched of
Spanish vowels and Cornish girls
Do tell of strange liaisons 
Stranger trades of contraband 
And tax laws
Evasion and subterfuge
Do tunnels lead dreckly to the shore
As Poldark would have us to believe?
Dark tales in this traditional scene
So easily conjured there.
Electricity 

Beneath my hand a distorted energy 
A flickering page 
Electrical disharmony 
Overload and charged 
Flickering screen
Pulsating lines
Distorted rhythm 
A heart trace uneven
Unsynchronised
The whir of a hidden force field 
Blurred edged 
Blank screen 
Dissonance radiates like a crawling mist 
Enveloping substance
Hidden forces
Overhead cables play tunes above 
Static tension below 
Pulsating noise 
Chaotic motion 
Babbling voices
Blank screens
Without charge 
Without patience
Buttons pressed with frantic motion
Random commands
No time to wait 
All time to lose
Head spin 
Headache 
Pressure mounts 
No backup
Fear and adrenelin
Neurons fire sparks 
To random
Distorted ideas and
Forced
Unrealistic expectations
Irrational thoughts seep through the cortex 
Cancerous in motive they seek to destroy 
Caustic and marauding
A spiral of disillusionment 
Hopelessness resonates
In spirals.

Reverse the spin.

Regain control
Change gear and 
Change thought with a
Different energy
Head up
Run though the rain 
Under the pylons 
A different electricity  in the 
Soughing  of trees 
The sting of the rain and lick of  the hair 
The force of the wind full in the face 
The splash of the heel 
The rhythm of pace 
Shout into the air 
Release it aloud 
Into the void
Nobody hears 
Somebody hears 
We are heard
We are known
Wonderfully so-
Free radicles
Connected but free. 





From West to East 


From West to East
Granite exchanged for broken flint
Cloud and cold for warmth of sun
An autumnal morning for late summer afternoon
Overcast moorland to glinting sea
A jewelled picture
A precious time
Coming home.

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We Live with Dreams

We live with dreams
When hopes are raised
And lines are changed 
Excitement looms
Everything is bright
Colours shine
And energised and bold
Life feels good.


All it takes-
A hidden agenda
Not what it seems 
Tables are turned
Warnings given
A realisation
Disappointment
Tries to overwhelm
To bring us down 
Seeking to undermine 
Confidence dwindles
Cheated
Deflated 
We feel lost. 

A new day
New horizon
A new goal
There’s always choice
To turn it around 
Look forward
We hope 
We trust again
In one who knows
Who shares the journey 
And so we move on
To live with dreams.

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.