A friend dies suddenly ~ White Owl Flies Into and Out of the Field by Mary Oliver (in memory of William Hubbard)

Coming down out of the freezing sky
with its depths of light,
like an angel, or a Buddha with wings,
it was beautiful, and accurate,
striking the snow and whatever was there
with a force that left the imprint
of the tips of its wings — five feet apart —
and the grabbing thrust of its feet,
and the indentation of what had been running
through the white valleys of the snow —
and then it rose, gracefully,
and flew back to the frozen marshes
to lurk there, like a little lighthouse,
in the blue shadows —
so I thought:
maybe death isn’t darkness, after all,
but so much light wrapping itself around us —
as soft as feathers —
that we are instantly weary of looking, and looking,
and shut our eyes, not without amazement,
and let ourselves be carried,
as through the translucence of mica,
to the river that is without the least dapple or shadow,
that is nothing but light — scalding, aortal light —
in which we are washed and washed
out of our bones.

 

The Long Goodbye ~ remembering, honouring

 

With much love for my Grandad, Thomas Clarke, born 1896, who fought with the Sherwood Foresters, Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Regiment 1914-1918 (middle of back row in photo)

Show me a greenhouse

and I catch my Grandad’s face

turning, as he bends to his plants,

his calm back rounded away

from trench war and toil.

I recall his gentleness,

the pungent hothouse smell

of tomato plants and the soil

quick with growing.

 

Kindness itself, he was always quiet,

would sit smoking, stare into space.

A survivor. How was it to return, to carry

those memories to the end of your days?

He never spoke about it, except to say that

the pack-mules had to be attended to first.

He was sent home with trench fever,

which saved his life.

 

At the eleventh hour the guns fell silent –

on the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

My Grandad’s birthday.

with love Rose (Cook)

 

Featured as part of The Long Goodbye project, see  https://www.facebook.com/thelonggoodbye

 

 

for May Day

 

Lone Hawthorn On The Moor

 

 

For you are ancient and withstand terrible weathers.

For you make a dark shape in winter, carry a nest.

For I saw you sheathed in frozen snow, your berries hoar.

For you grow on the crest of a slope.

For you are potent, with medicinal properties.

Wands made from you hold great power.

For in spring you are covered in white blossom.

For you are the May tree and shake confetti on the girls,

who dance around your trunk.

For you are most erotic and bless love and fertility.

For you teem with life, insects that fly and crawl, lichen

and every kind of bird wants to shelter in your branches.

For you fill with the hum of bees.

For you must never be broken, nor taken home,

For you are hope, which remains wild.

For you have thorns and red berries, which imbue meaning,

though children make itching powder, babies are fed your syrup.

For you offer protection.

For you are grizzled and grow low to the ground.

 

Rose Cook

His Black-eyed Susans

 

His Black-Eyed Susans

People make so much fuss

about flowers, he’d say,

 

but after he died we found

his camera with a film in it.

 

He’d only taken seven shots,

all of his flower beds -

 

pink and white Petunias,

Lobelia, purple, white,

 

and a stand of yellow

Black-Eyed Susans.

Welcome to Spring

 

Magnolias

Time is now magnolia,

wax candles light trees

bring stark beauty

for first days of opening.

Bold blossoms poise while leaves begin.

The stone wall is lit by worship.

 

It is morning.

Three swans fly over the estuary

their necks outstretched.

They hold formation

just above the water.

 

This is spring’s song

three swans in flight

magnolias in bloom.

 

Rose Cook