A Howgill Lane Walk

Once again, we are in Lockdown
wonder when things will turnaround
we wander the long winding lane
afternoon opens before us
trees, all but naked
give tarmac an autumn colour splash
starlings gather, begin their ballet
M u r m u r a t i o n S p e c t a c u l a r
squabble of rooks, startled, lift skywards

the farmer we meet, is
my friend tells me
one of the last real Cumbrian countrymen
wrestling, sheep breeding, hedge laying
dry stone walling
among his various skills.
Their talk is of shepherding
the merits of Swales, of Herdwicks, of Roughs
rivalry and neighbour helping neighbour
Don’t really understand sheep, never will: my friend
Thou knows th’ tails and backs though
Farmer replies with twink-eyed grin.
Conversation runs on
turns to past inhabitants of Grizedale
back then kids carried their shoes
put them on when nearing school. Had to be tough
living out yon place
we take our leave, walk on

now, Howgills’ sleeping elephants
surrender their day time greening
to evening grey
in crooks of valleys and folds of fells
yellow-glow halos appear

as we cross the over-spill beck
making for the last hill before the farm
a bat zig zags through the fading
and disappears into a thicket.


It rained again today…
Pale faces peer from tearful windows.
Winter, in its depressing darkness,
Makes weary the hearts of old and young.
The wind, cold, ferocious,
Howls and bullies those, who duty bound
Venture out into a ghost town.

It rained again today…
Imprisoned figures move curtains,
A veiled message sent to neighbouring cellmates,
Who watch and wait,
And by return of twitching curtain, would indicate life within.

It rained again today…
Glazed eyes, once more patrol deserted streets,
…locate and track a solitary figure who,
Would pound the usual weathered beat,
Unbowed and silent, hoping not to meet,
…but knowing they’ve been seen.

Fresh flowers in a vase… a remembrance routine,
The trundle of sash windows, the banging of doors,
Lights switched on an off, signals someone still at home,
So many ex communicators,
These winter days … alone,

It rained again today.

Desert of Pandemia

I made my way to Stennerskeugh
where, humbled by its awesome beauty,
And the power of silence,
I emptied out my minds turmoil.
Reverie drove agitation from my heart and soul,
And glad of extrication from unstable human life,
I was alone, lost, in space.

The cold air froze my hands and face,
How insignificant I feel in such a place,
As indeed I was, and we all are.
For we are all just fragments,
Miniscule, isolated, as this world is in its universe,
But each piece important, each piece has its worth,
Each piece needed, by each other,
All playing out their time, upon this precious, troubled, earth.

If we should choose to look a little further than ourselves,
And stay a measured course of solitude and bubbles,
The seeds of hope are there to plant again.
I will shake the hand of friends,
And kiss the cheek of life.

The sun will warm the hope of all,
We can hold each other closely once again.
Arm by arm, and arm in arm,
The turmoil will be wrestled to submission.
and in this desert of Pandemia,
The well of hope, is waiting to be found.