Colin’s Garden

For Colin Hopgood, a good man of Devizes, who has been milkman and Mayor, and tends the allotment by Quakers Walk that gives so much pleasure to so many…

*

‘Tis Spring on the allotments, in the air

The scent of hyacinths, the sense of bees

The sunlight on the cabbages and trees

And sitting in the greenhouse, on his chair

Remembering past summers, and the Fair

The Kenyan heat, the icy Kennet freeze

The smallest seedlings grown into sweet peas

Is Colin, father, lover, milkman, mayor

He’ll tell you, if you ask him, where the boat

That sits amongst the marigolds once sat

He’ll show you his banana tree, and bowers

And time and swans will fly, and barges float

Until he calls his dogs, and doffs his hat

And sends you home with vegetables, and flowers

*

© Gail Foster 23rd March 2017

Not In My Name

 

*

I wonder how she feels today

The Muslim girl I spoke to on the bus

The girl who had so many things to say

About how she feels free and safe with us

I wonder if today she feels the same

Dear child of the warm Damascan breeze

Cry God and Allah we are all the same

Not in my name, not in my name, please

*

© Gail Foster 23rd March 2017

Come Rise

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Written for the Gorsedd of the Bards; Avebury, England, Spring 2017

*

Can you feel her in the blood

The turning tides, the shifting of the skies

Or hear her on the wind, or in the cries

Of gulls that wheel above the drying mud

Come rise…

Can you sense her in the urge

Of flames that lick the furze and lambs that leap

Of sap that rushes sudden from the deep

In swirls of sacred water in the surge

Come rise…

Can you feel her in the stone

The ancient fire, the spark of energy

The force that flows through river, rock, and tree

The movement of the marrow in the bone

Come rise…

Can you taste her on the lips

The heady scents of grass and honey wine

Of sun warmed earth and rain on celandine

Upon the tongue, upon the fingertips

Come rise…

Can you feel her in the beat

Of wing on air, of drum, of run of deer

Or see her colours on the hill appear

All blazing bright, alive with pulsing heat

Come rise…

What are you, man, but water through her hand

The winter’s ashes and the summer’s dust

A flick of life and then a flare of lust

Then back into the earth on which you stand

Come rise…

Be still, and feel her raw and naked power

Come forth as lightening, set the trees alight

Set hares to run and horses to take flight

Through alder grove and furrowed field in flower

Come rise…

*

© Gail Foster 18th March 2017

Kittens

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*

I’ve never even touched a man, she said

And now I’m old most likely never will

I’ve never really understood the thrill

Or felt the need to take a man to bed

Perhaps it was the way that I was bred

But just the thought of kissing makes me ill

I may have missed a trick, perhaps, but still

I’ve read, and had my animals instead

A man had loved her once, he came to call

With chocolates, and roses, pink and red

She didn’t like the smell of him at all

And hit him with an axe till he was dead

And put him with the kittens, by the wall

Beside the baby birds, behind the shed

*

© Gail Foster 28th February 2017

Watch My Soul For Me

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I wrote this rhyme when I was young, and sometimes I say it to the moon…

*

Glide high, my glimmering crystal moon

Across the mirror of the sea

Mother of water and blood

Watch my soul for me

Curve, pendulum, clock of the night

In your swing, in your sway

In your shadow of light

Watch my soul for me

*

© Gail Foster 1980 something

The Light Is Not A Solemn Thing, It Shines

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for Sarah

*

The light is not a solemn thing, it shines

With merry glee and mirthful gentleness

Will not be held a hostage, in confines

Of darkened halls where little ones confess

The sins of fathers that they never chose

Nor be a slave to chapter, scripture, verse

Be boundaried, or fettered in its flows

It is the joy of blessing, not a curse

It isn’t how you said it was.  You lied

I ran, and left your lies behind the door

And here I am, and oh, the light is wide

Mysterious, and infinite, and more

A wildly wilful, free, and feisty thing

I wear a ribbon in my hair, and sing

*

© Gail Foster 26th February 2017

This sonnet was written for my friend Sarah, who left the Plymouth Brethren.  In accordance with the Brethren’s belief in the Doctrine of Separation, those who have left are no longer allowed contact with their friends or families.  In recent years former members have developed the custom of writing their loved ones’ names on yellow ribbons as a symbol of love and remembrance.