Flowers by themselves
bloom without trying or care
They are all in tune
To grow strong within nature
How else could we truly be?
copyright Francis Barker 2019
Inside the church at Cherry Willingham.
Nearly 100 churches to visit!
Mid May comes along and it’s time once again for the annual Lincolnshire Churches Festival in eastern England.
Taking place over two weekends in Lincolnshire’s ancient northern riding of Lindsey, the festival is split between the first weekend of the 11th and 12th and the second weekend of the 18th and 19th.
Nearly 100 churches are taking part and a very warm welcome will be had in each one, with food such as cake and scones, plus drinks and some stalls to browse. The proceeds go towards the upkeep of these wonderful buildings.
Over the next two weeks, I shall be writing several pieces about this wonderful event which celebrates Lincolnshire’s fine Christian heritage and the glory of its architectural variety.
It’s hard to believe that around this time last year we were basking in temperatures around 30 degrees centigrade in ‘dear old Blighty’.
Today it’s about 10 at best and with the lack of sun and the cool wind it feels more like 4!
That said it got me wondering, laterally as usual, about why the famous ship the Mayflower was called as such.
According to the sources I came across it’s because the original owner of the ship was Florentine (from Florence, Italy) called Guicciardini; the Mayflower, or ‘Giglio’ in Italian, is the symbol of Florence. And the ship was due to set sail, in May.
By William Halsall – Pilgrim Hall Museum, Public Domain. Wikimedia.org
Oh to set sail for pastures new!
So the Mayflower became the symbol of new beginnings in the so-called New World and is still one America’s greatest cultural icons.
I don’t know for sure but there may be other explanations. At least according to the above its naming had little to do with the Pilgrims who sailed on it, nor indeed Plymouth in western England from where they sailed.
Nevertheless it’s fascinating to hear of people in America who can trace their lineage back to the Mayflower. I will have to look out for examples of this, I would love to speak to some of them.
The gerberas you were given
had all wilted within two days.
The thought that counted
didn’t linger beyond its significance,
save to remind you to move on,
that old things are thrown away
English: A male House Sparrow in Victoria, Australia in March 2008 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The sparrows are gone and now the winter is lonely.
Their spaces are taken by the gravelled drives
and the paved gardens. There will be no reprieve
but as the little bird leaves, like the wise man
deserts a fool, know that everything has its time
and that ours, too, is almost run.
The horse chestnut’s elephantine trunk glows warm
in the low winter sun, its clawing bareness stretches
into a cleansing sky. A narrow shaft of yellow light
dispels the rime on the whitened sward,
and the hanging orange globes of the passion flower,
like tiny suns, remind us of long gone warmth,
a hint of the approach of solstice day.
The lone robin stands guard, like a redcoat
patrolling his shed roof, punching way above his weight
to see off the bigger birds, those who would dare
plunder his own private space. He has nothing
but disdain for the squabbling starlings
who strut around in their shiny suits
in vain shows of bluster and pretence.
Even the cowslips thought it was spring.
Over keen, they showed their yellow hats
when the weather was mild and now they’re
caught out in a sudden arctic blast.
So too, the evergreen rosemary, whose lilac flowers,
though welcome, reveal the underlying unease
at the heart of the garden.
So we grew to like mowing the lawn, put up
with cutting the hedge. We let the poppies grow wild
and the elderflower rampage. We even learned
to love nettles and the funny little weeds –
but the sparrow never came back. They say he lives
in tiny enclaves now, in the fringes with red squirrels,
quite unknown in these parts, where the blackbird
chinks a meagre winter song.
poem © copyright df barker 2012
*first published in poetry collection ‘Anonymous Lines’, available on amazon.com
Please also see this: http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=sr_tc_2_0?rh=i%3Astripbooks%2Ck%3AMilly+Reynolds&keywords=Milly+Reynolds&ie=UTF8&qid=1338013925&sr=1-2-ent&field-contributor_id=B0056IY4OE
The hole where a fire used to be
has stared at us for fifteen years,
begging to be filled.
We know we’ve put it off too long,
put up with the inconvenience
and balking at the cost,
hating the insecurity of change
even if it might be for the better.
And then there’s the fledglings
flapping down the chimney each cruel May,
hopping around wide-eyed in darkness,
to be finally coaxed out of injury
through deftly placed curtains,
framing the clean glass of open windows,
an escape into the harsh light.
Remember the circa ’73 newspapers
we found stuffed up the chimney?
Those warm smells of old print and soot,
eyebrows raised at garish red mastheads,
the uneven letterpress lines
telling innocent stories of slower days.
And the Eagles were on the BBC.
For too long we’ve ignored
the unsettling sounds
of western borne gales
raising roof tiles like rattles of doom,
making us state more firmly each year
that something must definitely,
must finally—be done.
But still we continue to shiver
and rue that darn hole
where heat and heart should be.
Another twelve months nearly done, then.
Right now we’ve settled on fresh flowers
to see the winter out, knowing nothing
will ever quite conceal the truth
poem and image © copyright df barker 2012
When March was still and new
before I was of an age to care
we’d visit the fields across the way
where she’d earn some more pennies
in that cool primavera air
Here I would watch her
peeping from between deep rows
where lingering water drained
like instant coffee in footprint pools
only recently covered with snow
With an abattoir efficiency
she’d pluck off each clean head
sometimes pause for a smoke
stand straight to feel her back
or maybe tick me off instead
To the sound of mellow bells
we’d walk home for biscuits and tea
when I’d hear her cutting vegetables
leaving me with a comic
a ginger cat curled up on my knee
© poem and image copyright dfbarker 2012
Not seasonal, I know, but it’s nice to think of the spring.