About Me

My photo
Bristol , United Kingdom
I'm co-director of the Leaping Word Poetry Consultancy, which provides advice for poets on writing, editing and publishing, as well as qualified counselling support for those exploring personal issues in their work - https://theleapingword.com. My fifth poetry collection, Learning Finity, is now available from Indigo Dreams or directly from me.

Thursday 14 October 2021

Living by signs

I've always looked for signs, especially time of year when I need to store them up against winter. Last autumn was full of them after our dog, Ted, died; this autumn, which has seen the death of my mother, has been the same: the gift of feathers, including a green woodpecker and jay pinions; the sighting of a kingfisher on an urban stretch of the Frome; and wild Michaelmas daisies - a favourite of my maternal grandmother - everywhere. My mother died on Michaelmas Day and I'm really pleased that her funeral flowers will have Michaelmas daisies in them, though the florist told me they're called the September flower in the trade, which is nowhere near as evocative. 

There's also been a couple of spectacular rainbows lately, like this one over the golf course car park. 

I love the play of light and shadow you get at this time of year. Light that thinks it's still strong and summery in a battle with the encroaching darkness. 

Just as the rising sun is poised to disappear behind the houses at the end of our road, so the setting sun is disappearing beyond the golf course, and we'll catch little more than tail feathers between now and the end of February. 

The above photo shows the sweep of its journey since midsummer, from the hills of South Wales in the far right to its current position. 

What you looking at, hoomin?

There've been some beautiful moon-risings too. 

Other signs have been badger (and fox) poo full of fruit stones. 

Time, then, for a little hopeful foraging beyond and field and the wood and the common onto the open farmland, which is now earmarked for building and bereft of livestock ... 

... where we found rabbit burrows, and two trees dripping with damsons. 

As it was so late in the season, and lots had either fallen or were starting to scrotumise on the branch, we picked as many as we had bags to carry them in. (Did you know you can get nearly three pounds of damsons into one unused dog poo bag.) 

The next day we came back with a low stool, but we still left enough for Richard Osman, and the birds, of course, and any passing mammal after windfalls.

Talking of building work, one of the two cranes on the disused runway has disappeared, and there was something going on down on Henbury loop railway line, which involved generators and a burger van, but I've no idea if it has anything to do with the covering of this land with concrete.

Elsewhere the colours of autumn are upon us ... 

crab apples and haws

hedge bindweed

dog rose hips

spindle berries


... and the rooks and jackdaws are back in the rookery, catching the last of the sun in the tops of the trees. 

Meanwhile, Cwtch has recovered from her operation, and is in the pink. 

She's also found a section of fence she can squeeze under and get into one of the forbidden areas of the factory site, so has to stay on the lead through the Small Dark Wood of the Mind until she either grows a bit or forgets it, which isn't to her liking at all. 

Today, with one arm full of Covid and the other full of flu, I decided to beat the bounds of the golf course, which I hadn't done for ages. 

Hurry up, hoomin with the metal arm

It was good to see the new pond looking a bit more established.

Not so good to see an abandoned Angela Carter book, though maybe it was left for the foxes to read. I think foxes would enjoy her work. 

Under her spell, we wandered through the Small Dark Wood Of The Mind and into Llwyn y Gadair Arian (The Grove of the Silver Chair), where strange things happen to the imagination ...

... only to find an enormous specimen of The Sickener growing there, which was nice. 

(It's actually a discarded safety helmet that's been there for ages.) 

Up in the field something brown and white and feathery flapped up the field - a buzzard, I think ... 

... and a Devil's Coach Horse beetle advanced across the lane pretending it was a scorpion which felt quite timely really