Swallows

Blue Heart - Copy

for Tracey Lawrence

*

She scans the sky for swallows in the Spring

Down in the Rowdey gardens, by the shed

When I was low and January dead

She held my hand and helped my spirit sing

I saw her soul, a swallow on the wing

Still flying high when other birds had fled

Such loving kindness in the words she said

Such gentleness on earth is everything

She’s in the garden, sitting in her chair

And laughing as the swallows in the skies

Make witty patterns in the Wiltshire air

Like little arrows shot across The Vize

I think that I shall just leave Tracey there

With tears of joy and swallows in her eyes

*

© Gail Foster 2nd May 2017

Advertisements

The Light Is Not A Solemn Thing, It Shines

ribbon-one-1

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.

Confetti; a Devizes wedding

Confetti; Kirstine Carr

Every year, during Carnival in Devizes, we have a Confetti Battle…

*

We dance in town, as bright confetti falls

Upon our hallowed ground, we move as one

The old and young among the market stalls

All blessed by Ceres and the setting sun

We move as one, we laugh, we catch the light

In coloured flickers deep within our eyes

A cloud of happiness, a merry flight

Of beautiful beribboned butterflies

We dance in town, bedecked like bridesmaids gay

Our hair all strewn with prettiness and joy

Our cares for one brief moment blown away

We move as one, man, woman, girl and boy

As, blessed by Ceres in her wedding gown

We all, as one, are married to our town

 *

Sonnet and photograph of Kirstine Carr

© Gail Foster 2016

 

The Mystery of Love; for Olly Michael Lancaster

IMG_6336-1-2

I wrote this poem for my friend Mike Hopkinson’s little grandson Olly,

who will be three at the end of August

*

I am Olly Michael Lancaster, a special little lad

I love my brother Ryan, and I love my Mum and Dad

I love my funny Grandad, and I love my Nanna Sue

And we all love each other, like all happy families do

I like a little tickle, and a cuddle, and a rub

I like the feel of water when I’m floating in the tub

I like to giggle in the car when Grandad’s house is near

And I like it when you brush my face, and when you stroke my ear

I know you by your kindness, and I know you by your smell

I know you when you’re far away, and when you’re near as well

I know you by the way your pattern weaves within my heart

And I know that we are children who can only know in part

Oh, show me all the colours of the earth and sea and sky

Show me bright and pretty lights, and all the birds that fly

Show me shining mirrors that reflect my smiling face

And I shall show a mystery, and you shall see my grace

Oh, tell me tales of happiness, and joy, and fairy lands

Tell me funny nursery rhymes, and hold my little hands

Tell me all the stories that your Mum and Granny heard

And tell me all the wisdom of the world within a word

Oh, teach me about flowers, about butterflies, and bees

Teach me how the blossoms change to fruit upon the trees

Teach me of the moon and stars that twinkle high above

And I shall teach you with my life the secret lore of love

For I am yours, and you are mine, and all of us are one

I am the light in darkness and the shadow of the sun

I come to show and tell and teach the truth the ancients knew

I am Olly Michael Lancaster, and I love you

*

© Gail Foster 2016

Beautiful Bitches (I See You, Girl); for Sarah Cox

Sarah Cox

*

I see you, girl, with your lovely face

Your painted lips, and your fiery grace

Scorching the earth with the steps you trace

Oh how we shine, how we shine

I see you girl, with your heart undressed

By pain of joy and sorrow blessed

All glory, and all sin confessed

Oh how we love, how we love

I see you girl, with the tear in your eye

Falling like sun in the rain from the sky

I see you girl, I hear your cry

Oh how we weep, how we weep

I see you girl, we are beautiful bitches

Mischievous muses, and angelic witches

And ours is the earth and all its riches

Oh how we burn, how we burn

*

© Gail Foster 2016

(photo courtesy of Sarah Cox)

Midnight Mass; St. John’s

IMG_3588 - Copy

*

Church on Christmas Eve

Experience of spirit

Secular delight

Candles flickering

Stirred by one communal breath

Casting bright shadows

The choir whispering

Mournful cadenced melodies

That bless the silence

Drunken folk giggling

Respectfully hiccupping

Noisy chundering

Strange and precious faith

The uninitiated

Wary, questioning

Through agnostic eyes

Such peculiar mystery

Custom, novelty

The truth hides in love

Ancient priests and children know

Its simplicity

The door is opened

Out in to the night The Word

Flies on sacred wings

Midnight Mass; the light

In darkness comprehending

Emptiness with joy

*

by Gail

Harriet’s Gift

For Harriet, and for Devizes; a poem for Advent

*

IMG_3308 - Copy

*

Today, my dear friend Harriet gave to me

A tiny glittery nativity

Like Russian dolls, the size of half a thumb

A tiny Joseph Dad and Mary Mum

And Jesus, smaller than a fingernail

Such tiny things to tell so grand a tale

And as she pressed them in my hand her eyes

So bright and hopeful, old and kind and wise

Were simply brimming with that shining light

That fuelled the star that lit that mystic night

Some weeks ago, she gifted me a stone

Found on a beach where she had walked alone

All gold and smooth from rolling ocean’s wear

For me to hold in moments of despair

And there were candles then, that she had lit

Upon the table where we sometimes sit

And then, like now, I very nearly cried

So touched by all the love she has inside

If only love and Christmas were like this

All simple joy, delight and friendly kiss

All gentleness, all light and subtle sheen

Like all the things in her that I have seen

I wish you joy, like Harriet wishes me

A Christmas full of love; all blesséd be

*

by Gail