Skirmishes

I’m waging war on ground elder.
So far I have won a few skirmishes,
but final victory is far from certain!

Bluetits

Investigating bluetits
still undecided.
Will they use my nest box here?

Is it too late now,
have they nested elsewhere
or is it still too early in the year?

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Bluetits apparently have to time their nesting just right, they only have one chance in the year and must have the young hatch when the spring is well enough advanced for the caterpillars and grubs that they eat to be plentiful. This recent cold spell can’t help. Perhaps the next few weeks will make it clear if they will nest in my nest box or not, meanwhile they still keep checking it out!

Magic Box

Following on from my previous post about ‘Cargoes’ I thought you might like another challenge that the poetry group has had during lockdown.

A few months back one of our members shared the poem ‘The Magic Box’ by Kit Wright (find it via Google if you are unfamiliar with it) and challenged us to write our own version, listing what we would put in such a box. This could be in any form we liked; our own poem in whatever form, a simple list, a prose piece – whatever. I chose to contribute mine in poem form, loosely following the same form as the original although I allowed my version to overflow into an extra fifth line in each verse. Here it is (please note it is my copyright):

My Magic Box by Elizabeth Leaper
(after Kit Wright)

In my magic box I will put
the silent stillness of the heron at the waters edge,
the blue streak of the kingfisher along the river bank,
the babbling burble of a mountain stream
tumbling over the rocks beneath.

In my magic box I will put
the gentle cooing of the pigeons in the early morning,
the bright song of the robin in the cherry tree,
the sound of the wind through the woodland trees
that becomes the ocean when I close my eyes.

In my magic box I will put
the gossamer of a cobweb bedecked with pearls of dew,
the sweet smell of new mown hay on a summers day,
the velvet darkness of a moonless night
studded with diamond stars.

In my magic box I will put
the earthy fragrance of the ground after gentle rain,
the pristine white of undisturbed snow freshly fallen,
the joy of the first snowdrops as winter ebbs away
and spring is just around the corner.

My box is made from the horn of the last unicorn,
the lid is hinged with dragon claws
and straps made from rainbows wrap it round.
It is fastened with clasps hammered by the thunder god
from the finest gold.

I will hide my magic box away
and guard its secrets with wards and spells
until the earth is green once more and the sky is blue.
Then I will open its magic locks
and share its treasures with you.

Cargoes

I may have mentioned before that I belong to a poetry group that meets twice a month in our local library. We are not strictly speaking a writers group though some of us do write. We usually have a topic for each meeting and take along 3 or 4 poems to read out, some of which may be our own but mostly from ‘proper’ poets!

Naturally we haven’t been able to meet over the last 12 months due to COVID but we have kept the group together by sharing a poem via email during the weeks that we would normally have met, then one of our members collates the poems into a pdf file which is then sent out to the group so we all get to see them. For this we have not had a topic each time, just a general feeling that they should be uplifting and of course participation every time is not compulsory.

From time to time we have also had an additional ‘challenge’ (again, participation not compulsory). Last week was our ‘poetry week’ and one of our members submitted the well loved poem ‘Cargoes’ by John Masefield (if you are not familiar with it you can find it at http://www.poetrybyheart.org.uk/poems/cargoes-2.) The member used to be an English teacher and with her reasons for the choice of poem she recalled that she had once set her class the challenge of writing an additional verse for the poem and received some impressive offerings. This then became our most recent challenge – to write an additional verse.

I thought I would share my offering with you here; actually I have written two extra verses as having written the first I decided it was no longer topical as the problem had been solved. The second one is really about how things were – and how they will be again once COVID has ceased to cause such problems. Here they are for your amusement:

Cargoes Challenge
1)
Gigantic container ship aground in the Suez,
blocking up the shipping route and halting trade
with cargoes of livestock,
car parts, electric goods,
children’s toys and fashion wear all cheaply made.

2)
Great big Boeing Jumbo Jet flying here and there,
dropping of its passengers on some exotic shore
such as China, Turkey,
Viet Nam, Mexico,
Australia, New Zealand and Singapore.

Weeding

A day and a half spent weeding
the rhubarb patch
before the leaves get too big
to work around.
Back-breaking yet ultimately
satisfying.

Ready to Burst

The sun is shining,
the birds are singing
and magnolia blossom
is ready to burst.
What more could you want?

Insects

Bumblebee taps on the window,
hoverfly hovers over the rockery,
ladybirds sit on the leaves of the box bush.
Insects awaken to Spring.

Warmth

Another cold day.
Pigeon next to chimney pot
enjoying the warmth!

In My Garden

Garden daffodils

Garden daffodils

A sudden profusion
of golden daffodils
greet the spring sunshine
in my garden.

Inside

Winter
still bites,
cold outside today.
I’ll stay inside, keeping
warm.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *
We did go out for a bike ride this morning, on the tandem, but it was cold. I haven’t felt warm since we got back – not until I put on an extra layer of clothing! The sun came through for a brief visit but with no warmth in it. We are forecast a cold week; Spring is in a slight retreat despite more blossom and daffodils in evidence.

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