June ~ summertime

June – time of blossom:

Now summer is in flower and nature’s hum

is never silent round her sultry bloom

insects as small as dust are never done

wi’ glittering dance and reeling in the sun…

(from John Clare’s The Shepherd’s Calendar 1-4)




Month of the Summer with longer nights.

Moon of horses Dyad moon Strawberry moon Summer Solstice

Buzzards learn to fly. Dragonflies flash.

Sunflowers open. Wheat ripens. Soft fruit time.

To roll a strawberry in the palm of your hand is to hold the weight

of so many weeks of sunshine, earth and water.

Iris, butterflies, rose.

Time of garlands, floral dancing, midsummer weddings.

In the fields, sheep seek shade, tuck together along hedges and shadow.



( An extract from June in my new book ‘Fresh Start: A Shepherd’s Calendar’ costs £4 and is available from me at rosecook108@gmail.com or info@greyhenpress.com )



Here comes May…blessings to you all

May – time of hawthorn:

Come queen of months in company

wi all thy merry minstrelsy

the restless cuckoo absent long

and twittering swallows chimney song…

(from John Clare’s The Shepherd’s Calendar 1-4)



Month of the Hawthorn

Hare moon Milk moon Bright moon

Peonies bloom short glamour.

The birds sing fiercely and loud.

In the dusk blackbirds fill the air with song.

We wear lighter clothes. Cotton hats.

The air is sweet, thick with insects.

Listen to their under whisper.

Frogs have begun to chorus.

Time to find wild herbs flowering.

The hawthorn blooms call us to Maying.

Fertility dances around.

( An extract from May in my new book ‘Fresh Start: A Shepherd’s Calendar’ costs £4 and is available from me at rosecook108@gmail.com 

or order from: info@greyhenpress.com )  


March ~ an excerpt from ‘Fresh Start: A Shepherd’s Calendar’ Rose Cook



Month of the Winds ambushed by sudden snow

Wind moon   Chaste Lenten moon   Vernal equinox  


Time of change. Spring begins.

We stand on the soil, feel life stir beneath and around us.

Small birds, sparrows, make nests, all birds grow intent and sing.

The distance we have travelled, we know ourselves better.

Rain runs down gutters, chatters up possibilities, lifts,

fills small pools where frogspawn glitters.



March – time of weather:


March, month of ‘many weathers’ wildly comes

in hail and snow and rain and threatening hums

and floods…



(from John Clare’s The Shepherd’s Calendar 1-3)

photo Rose Cook

‘Fresh Start: A Shepherd’s Calendar’ (pub Hen Run, Grey Hen Press 2021)

available £4 plus p&p from Rose at rosecook108@gmail.com

February begins, the threshold ~ Imbolc ~ the stirring of new life

From ‘Fresh Start: A Shepherd’s Calendar’ – Rose Cook


Month of clear light   Imbolc  

Storm moon   Snow moon   hens begin to lay

Moon of the humpback whale, pelagic traveller in search of krill. 

Midpoint between winter solstice and spring equinox.

Brigid time of thresholds, her light foretells spring. 

Lambs suckle themselves warm.

Rain soaks soil, beats at window panes. 

Sleet patterns fields where furrows lie.

The birds begin to sing, trees swell their buds. 

Catkins, daffodils, primroses in clumps.

Each day rises rinsed and clear, snowdrops glow whitely.

No sleep in the fretting hours, the birds hunch together in roosts.

Do they dream with eyes closed, drawing on some memory place?

‘Fresh Start: A Shepherd’s Calendar’ (pub Hen Run, Grey Hen Press 2021)

available £4 plus p&p from Rose at rosecook108@gmail.com

photo Rose Cook

January ~ excerpt from ’ Fresh Start: A Shepherd’s Calendar’ (Rose Cook)


Month of Snows   Isolation

Cold moon   Quiet moon   Old moon   Death moon    

leaves ice   land begins to freeze   Ice moon 


This bell will ring when you see your North Star.

Some days everything is illuminated, on the hillside the paths

sheep have made down the steep slope look like the veins of a leaf.

In the frozen garden, first snowdrops shake pale joy.

Frost descends hard, then we once again become strangers.

The close ways learnt are lost – kissing, hugging, intensity, thrown

back now to the chilly ways of childhood.




Available from rosecook108@gmail.com at £4 plus p&p

published by Hen Run, Grey Hen Press 2021

(photo Rose Cook)