She was sat
on the old porch, a piece
of me I’d left
in some spring
long ago. I knew it
in an instant, as
soon as she looked up—
our minds dovetailing as if
nothing had happened
in those draining,
intervening years. A part
of me wanted
to move on and deny
what my heart was insisting, but
the spark was still there,
some sweet, indefinable
the space beside her and
I sat down
on the creaking pinewood. The air was
a low September sun
buttering the track
in front of us
and the turning trees
all around us
and the pale skin
of her arms, her legs,
and that gentle,
“Do you remember
when we were spring?”
I nodded, watching
her lips break
into that dimpled smile. In
her eyes I saw again
and the blossom,
like promises, journeys
only taken in our minds
poem © copyright Francis Barker 2012
A copse can be an intimate
friend. Most days he roamed there, always
finding something to love, a life of
Late winter was a favourite time; tree tops
took on reddish hues and
there were further signs other
and blue tits’ brighter songs, of the
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
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
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
image and poem © copyright david f. barker 2012
* The Hurricane here, is a British WWII fighter plane
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
Scent of sweet woodsmoke
Beauty in indignation
Fresh ascetic breeze
Haiku and image © copyright df barker
My home is a castle in need, because
of who I am, for all that went before.
Living close to a sea I rarely saw,
I rode bikes, losing trees, clothes on the way,
all scale of self to glimpse some grey ocean,
a lone redshank wail from his muddy creek
and rise into blanket skies, scorning me.
I didn’t know then, nor do I pretend
to know now exactly what’s hurting me,
but the funk of youth is bitterness now.
The shining ship which might’ve saved me, white
sails riding threshold waves — it didn’t come.
Abandoned, the sailor who never was,
behind terse barricades, counting the days
poem © copyright df barker 2012
*image © Neil Smith
Doing the Work
I thought of someone
scrunching up pink paper tissues
and sticking them randomly
to scanty trees. I paused outside,
beguiled by fresh horse chestnut leaves
like little green squids,
poised in the crossing sun
When finally I sat down inside—
sustained sounds in A
all around the unravelling dark
—I knew how much sweat
went into this, his sweetest symphony.
Oh, there would be tears, applause,
cries of ‘bravo!’ and the house
might well be brought down— eventually.
None of them saw the bitter tears
or heard the harsh cussing.
And they never had to sit
through the long silences
or watch him toss batons aside
and wipe that heavy brow.
More than once he must’ve wished
to be somewhere else—
in the grip of a glacier, perhaps?
At the break
I stumbled out into an evening
among smokers, a kerfuffle of gulls.
We watched a lone magpie emerge,
sneaking off with leftovers,
the keener eye winning
with the merest effort
poem and image © copyright df barker 2012
step back little life
faces change though streets remain
cross with no regrets
spring’s hushed voice in trees
snow lingers on in furrows
earth unbends to light
poems and photograph © copyright dfbarker 2012