haiku; flowers

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flowers, soft petals
the provocation of bees –
stamens, quivering

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© Gail Foster 22nd May 2018

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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…

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‘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

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© Gail Foster 23rd March 2017

Crying for Light

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Be still, can you hear the drum, the drum

Hear it beat like a heart in the heavy night

Hold on to your soul, for the dead are come

To look to the living for light

Ashes and sulphur, blood on stone

Lavender, lilies, and roses blown

 …

Out of the mist, they come, they come

Through the slip of a stitch in the hazy veil

With their feet all bare, and their faces pale

The dead come, crying for light

 …

Lavender, lilies, and roses blown

Ashes and sulphur, blood on stone

 …

Out of the past they come, they come

From the shadowy halls of history

From the battlefield, and the hungry sea

The dead come, crying for light

 …

Ashes and sulphur, blood on stone

Lavender, lilies, and roses blown

 …

Out of the earth they come, they come

From the cold of the grave at midnight’s bell

From the harrowing heat of the fires of hell

The dead come, crying for light

 …

Lavender, lilies, and roses blown

Ashes and sulphur, blood on stone

 …

Out of the dark they come, they come

With their winding sheets and their cobweb hair

With their violent curses and innocent prayer

The dead come, crying for light

 …

Ashes and sulphur, blood on stone

Lavender, lilies, and roses blown

 …

Out of their minds they come, they come

Who are lost in the maze of space and time

Who are seeking the grace of a love sublime

The dead come, crying for light

 …

Lavender, lilies, and roses blown

Ashes and sulphur, blood on stone

 …

Be not a-feared when they come, they come

Be as still as you can, and touch them not

Show them the way to the light forgot

Love them, and let them be

 …

Be gone

In to the light they go, they go

To the glow at the end of the tunnel’s gloom

To the source of the scent of the rose’s bloom

In to the light they go

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© Gail Foster 30th October 2016

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She Comes

Silbury Spring

A rhyme written for the Spring Equinox

and the Gorsedd of the Bards

at Avebury, Wiltshire

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For all the night she trod the furrowed earth

As she has walked all winter in her wake

In seeking for the child she brought to birth

The maiden bride whom Hades chose to take

The gibbous moon is waxing to the bright

And shedding shifting shadows on the lands

One single moonbeam spills down through the night

Upon the rutted earth on which she stands

Made heavy by the weight of mother’s tears

The ground beneath her feet begins to yield

The imprint of a child’s foot appears

Emerging from the darkness of the field

The dawn is tinting grey the silken skies

The lifting mist moves gulls to take the air

She swears she hears these words within their cries

She comes, she comes, she comes, is nearly there…

Around the hill of Silbury swirl the springs

From many sources meeting there as one

Upon the fence a bardic blackbird sings

His songs of seasons ended and begun

The heron stands in wait down by the brook

The willows’ leaves weave rills upon the stream

The cormorant is fishing for the rook

Whose shadow shapes a fish from daybreak’s gleam

From alder trees drip drops of ancient dew

Like shining crystals, in to waters deep

The grey of morn becomes a brighter blue

New lambs are woken from the dark womb’s sleep

A muffled drumbeat pounds within her bones

Thrills through her feet and trembles in her chest

Draws from four corners people of the stones

To stand and lay the winter to his rest

Can it be so, she thinks, that she will come

And willingly escape the thrall of Hades

Be called by this fast beating of the drum

To dance among the wild lords-and-ladies

The drum, the drum, the Druid in the East

The daylight shattering the glass of night

Behold the mead and cake that form the feast

Behold the glorious blessing of the light

The blazing gorse flames yellow on the hill

Bright shafts of sun surround the Druid’s head

She comes, she comes, my daughter liveth still

Released at last from fathoms of the dead

Her eyes are purple crocuses; her hair

Is woven through with wood anemones

She shocks the eyes, her presence is so rare

And strong, as hyacinths upon the breeze

She wears the sun a-shimmer on her dress

In folds of drops of snow and celandines

And, as befits she with the power to bless

Comes riding on a stag of seven tines

She speaks unto the awed and silent crowd

“I come” she says “I bring the fire of life

I come to cast my seeds on fields ploughed

To quell your hunger and relieve your strife

I bring you daylight from the depths of hell

Where I with Hades am forever wed

Of Christ and Dionysus I shall tell

In sacred stories of the risen dead”

The crowd are stunned to silence, robbed of breath

She came, she came, brought winter to his knees

Defied the dreadful tide of dark and death

To bless the ground with shoots, and trees with leaves

The ancient Druid offers up the cup

The wine of her libations there to sip

He bows his head, as down she stoops to sup

And touch the cup upon her rosy lip

And with this act the sunlight floods the sky

The spell is broken by the touch of earth

And Demeter runs forward with a cry

To hold the maiden that she brought to birth

The seasons come, the seasons go, and all

Shall rise and fall and fade and reappear

And Spring shall once more answer to the call

Of Hades at the dying of the year

But here, by mother love and heat of day

Persephone is made a child again

To run upon the hills; to dance and play

And plant her flowers in the world of men

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© Gail Foster 2016