In a Flap

Just a little bit of nonsense for today! –

Christmas is coming
and I am in a flap,
feeling quite exhausted,
I think I need a nap. 

But my brain is whirling
and I cannot settle.
A cup of tea is called for -
I'll just put on the kettle.

The Breeze

(First draft…)

Cycling along oak tree-lined ways
I lift my face to the breeze
and listen to the song the wind sings
as it brushes through the trees.

Rustling through branches, it sings
of it's journey across the seas 
to reach so far inland, tells tales 
of how it plays with the ocean waves
far away on foreign seas.

I turn my back and the breeze 
plucks my clothes, eagerly pushing past 
on its journey to the next grove of trees 
to sing again its songs for them
of the tales that it weaves.
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All Seasons

Continuing to share my contributions to the poetry group’s Platinum Jubilee Collection, this one is a Haiku sequence:

A Queen for All Seasons

Queen Elizabeth,
so young for such commitment.
The Spring of her life.

Summer days roll by.
Her bright smile illuminates
her life of duty.

An eventful life,
constant in adversity.
The trials of Autumn.

With longevity,
still radiant and smiling.
Winter unfolding.

Second of her name,
equal in strength and dignity.
Queen Elizabeth.

Maundy Thursday 1957

Maundy Thursday, the Thursday before Easter, is when the sovereign hands out specially minted coins to selected people – one man and one woman for each year of his or her reign. It is distributed at a different cathedral each year. Symbolic of giving alms to the poor it was traditionally given to poor parishioners of the diocese but usually nowadays it is presented to those who have given long-term service to their church or community on the recommendation of the clergy.

Here is my poem from the poetry group’s Platinum Jubilee collection on the subject, a recollection from my childhood:

Maundy Thursday 1957

The year St Alban's Cathedral
was the venue for the distribution
of the Maundy Money
by the Queen.

An incomplete memory
and questions linger; I mean
why was I at school that day
so near to Easter? Surely it should
have been a holiday!

I do not remember the weather
though I think the day was fine and clear.
Nor do I remember what she wore,
you couldn't really see that well
as she sat in the car.

The brief memory of an eight year old;
I recall we stood in line,
beside the road along her route,
in our school uniforms (brown and gold),
waving out flags and cheering

while the Queen was driven slowly past,
on her way through our small town,
sitting in the back of her black limousine,
smiling and waving.

Plaster and Platinum

Well I didn’t get my plaster changed. I have an ‘unstable fracture’ and there was concern that it may have moved, requiring more manipulation or even surgery. The fracture fortunately hasn’t moved so no need for that at present. They decided not to disturb it and just reinforced the existing cast. I go back on Wednesday and if all still well hopefully I will get the plaster changed for a lighter-weight one then.

Meanwhile, as promised, here is the first of my own contributions to my poetry group’s Platinum Anthology:

—————————————————————————————————————–

I'm Sorry Your Majesty

"Why don't they put him in the dustbin?"
was perhaps not the most patriotic thing
to say on the death of the king.

Not that I remember it of course,
but that is what I've been told I said
on being a trifle miffed about the absence
of my favourite programmes
on the radio and all the sombre music
they were replaced with.

In my defence
I was only three at the time.
What did I know of death and mourning?

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Old Gnome

Like a gnarled old gnome,
as still as a stone,
patient, alone,

in his grey cloak,
as silent as smoke,
not a word has he spoke,

hunkered down at the edge
of the pond by the hedge,
on a tree-rooted ledge,

he waits . . . on and on,
and still he waits on;
Heron.

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.

The Gateway

Almost at the top of the hill
the well set-back gateway
provides the ideal place to stop,
to lean the tandem against the fence,
enjoy the view, have a swig or two
of juice from our bottles and munch
a Brunch Bar, while taking a breather
after our efforts.

It is hard to believe the village
we have climbed above is so close.
Here an uninterrupted panorama
of open fields spreads all around.
We listen to the gentle lowing of cattle,
the distant bleating of sheep
and the sound of bird song.

This peaceful spot
tempts us to linger longer but
with the steepest part of the climb done
reluctantly we pedal on.

At the Dentists

Waiting at the dentists,
pondering my fate.
Got here far too early,
afraid of being late.

I know it’s just a check-up,
no reason I should fear
but I’m feeling rather nervous
as appointment time draws near.

You see my usual dentist
has moved on, gone away,
so it is a stranger
that I must see today.
……………
Back home, the ordeal over
(okay, that word’s too strong)
the new dentist was charming,
I’m sure we’ll get along.

The Stranger

This network of interwoven streets
is where my roots lie deep,
and this the house where I was born
though I have been long gone.
Every year brought visits here,
a pilgrimage back home
to friendly neighbours, open doors,
where I was known.

Times change, those folk are gone,
and I am known no more,
just a stranger looking on
outside this old familiar door,
my name remembered by so few
though family ties were strong.
Now only whispered memories
tell that I belong.

Yet still I find I’m drawn back here,
still I search these streets
for memories of those happy times
that seem just out of reach.
You may wonder who I am,
a stranger looking on,
but for me this is my home,
the place where I belong.

Elizabeth Leaper
(from ‘Collecting Cobwebs, Gathering Brambles’)

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