Poem: The Rose Fields

red garden plant green
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

We thought the rose fields
were at their best in September
when the kids were back at school
when there could still a few fine days.

For some weeks
which seem like months to me now,
we set out on fair days
down the road of my youth
over the little hump-backed bridge
where the smallholder lived
who gave Dad a job,
towards the leafy corner
where a row of rushing poplars
ushered us to the nestling house
where spinsters once lived,
together with two scrawny cats.

Not far from there,
after that slight rise in the road
which you couldn’t call a hill,
that’s where it all opened up,
a sudden splash of colour
like some pink and red,
a talking point and an uplifting sight,
like one of my expressive canvases,
brushes dispensed for palette knife
or fingers, even a stick.
And we stayed
for as long as your hip could stand it,
for as long as I thought
I could stand the grief
on that slow walk back home.
But this was our highlight,
a little outing as the days drew in.

copyright Francis Barker 2019

Poem ‘Hurricane’s Grave’

Hurricane’s Grave

A copse can be an intimate
friend. Most days he roamed there, always
finding something to love, a life of
reasonable expectation.
Late winter was a favourite time; tree tops
took on reddish hues and
there were further signs other
than snowdrops
and blue tits’ brighter songs, of the
burgeoning spring

Today was different. Large boots
had been this way,
their wearer, like
a stump line of grey, stood
barely seen by an old fence, through straight
saplings in sunlight.
He approached the figure, which seemed
to dissipate like mist in the sun, something
he’d mistaken for form
and life

But it was more than
a notion that had led him there. The fence
overlooked a rolling field, familiar lumps
and bumps of pasture unchanged
for decades,
where lords in their demesnes might
still rule for all he knew.
He leant on the fence, it
gave way in his hand. A piece of torn
grey cloth freed from a nail, flopped to
the damp ground.
He held it,
felt its old thick weave— like a uniform

He pondered the scene in front
of him, gave space to wartime tales,
the remembered lumps and
bumps which might easily hide a
hurricane’s grave

image and poem © copyright david f. barker 2012

* The Hurricane here, is a British WWII fighter plane

Poem ‘Daffodil Girl’

Daffodil Girl

I took a picture of you.
The one where you’re cupping a daffodil,
kneeling in the sacred space,
where you wear your sky blue coat

with the sun in exaltation,
as if shining from your April face,
so round and vibrant and pink,
leaving me to the sombre shadows,

out of sight on the nether side.
And I was some strange Narcissus,
making sure I saw myself when
passing shop windows, always critical,

so self-absorbed and vain –
though far from glorious.
But I still remember that image,
the delicate touch of your fingers

on the flower, all caring and giving.
So thanks for being you,
for making me see beyond
this paltry vision of myself.

image and poem © copyright dfbarker 2012
poem taken from collection ‘Anonymous Lines’ available at amazon.
image partly digitally altered from a larger original.