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


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

Waiting For You; The Return of the Light

Winter Solstice Sunrise 2016; Avebury, Wiltshire


I have waited for you

Where no shadow seeps

Deep in the earth

Where the slow damp creeps

Under the stones

Where the sunlight sleeps

I have waited for you


I have listened for you

In the eaglet’s cry

In the echoes of rooks

In the empty sky

In a new-born’s breath

And a dead man’s sigh

I have listened for you


I have looked for you

Where the elders grow

Followed your steps

Through the virgin snow

Through groves of yew

And mistletoe

Looking for you

I have watched for you

By the door and the gate

Risen up early

And lain down late

Doubted your love

And cursed my fate

Watching for you


You said you would come

You said that you will

Appear as the dawn

On the curve of the hill

I have waited for you

Through the dark, and the still

You said you would come


I lit you a fire

I kindled a flame

In the fear of the darkness

I called out your name

I thought I was dying

And then you came

You said you would come


And here you are

The promise of light

Sweetening silence

And softening night

And all shall be well

And be blesséd delight

You said you would come


© Gail Foster 21st December 2016





The Souls of Spring’s Children



softly, whispering

featherfalls on silent stone

winter, gravity

lost in the fog, birds

grieving morning voicelessly

remembering love

dead diamonds, ditches

glittering cold promises

fossil furrow froze

darkness, deepening

the womb and the grave hiding

secrets and shadows

in the ground, waiting

the souls of springs children sing

muffled lullabies


© Gail Foster 2016


Here, Again; The Autumn Equinox


This poem was written for the Avebury Gorsedd; 24th September 2016

for everyone who was there, and for those who were not…


I’m here, again…

Come riding in, upon the western wave

My hair all wove with golden leaves, my breast

As pale as moonlight on a hidden grave

And all the sins of summer long confessed

I come, again…

In sweeping skirts, with white swan feathers strewn

To brush the summer dust from weary grass

Make ash of aspen, damp the flame of noon

Before the frost freeze water into glass

I bring, to you…

Windfallen apples, berries from the hedge

Long shadows on the barrows, and the chalk

Wild winds to stir the willows and the sedge

And mist, and myth, down every path you walk

I’m here, again…

The promise of the harvest to fulfil

The energy of autumn, streaming through

The swirling springs that spiral round the hill

To drench the land in red and russet hue

I come, again…

Between the longest day and shortest night

To fill the blood and marrow of your bones

With all the orange glory of the light

Before the dark descend upon the stones

I bring, to you…

A cornucopia of ripened fruit

Dark juices of the vine in bottles bright

To nourish soul and body, to transmute

Your thought to dream, your dream to second sight

For I am She…

Am Autumn writ, in every field and tree

Am mistress of the Owl and running Hare

So yield unto my kiss, and blesséd be

And dance with me, oh Druid, if you dare…


@ Gail Foster 23rd September 2016



Marah and The Well



‘Twas dawn when Marah went down to the well

To fill her pail with waters bitter sweet

The sky, flushed pink with daybreak’s blooming swell

Made rosy dewdrops glimmer ‘neath her feet

The well was hard to find, and deeply hid

Within the sacred forest’s leafy fold

With ivy dressed, and writ upon its lid

In graven letters, words of wisdom old

Here water calls to water, here a stream

May conjured be by sorrow to a flood

Should tears like fishes fall and catch the gleam

Of sunlight, then shall water rise like blood

The air was still, unbroken by the lark

As Marah dropped her pail in to the dark

As Marah dropped her pail in to the dark

She held her breath, and watched it disappear

Stood firm, and stopped her heartbeat, lest a spark

Of morning’s glory light a single tear

But pain is force, that seeks to find a form

As hard to stem as ocean’s endless roll

And ‘spite her will, within her broke a storm

That rose unwanted from her ancient soul

Her tears burst forth, and waterfalls of streams

Flowed down and struck the surface of the deep

And as they fell were lit by glittered beams

Of sunlight, and the dead were woke from sleep

The waters rose, grew violent in their swell

Thus so did Marah ope the gate of hell

Thus so did Marah ope the gate of hell

Thus so unlock the door of death and birth

Unleash a tide too powerful to quell

Unloose the grief of all the souls of earth

Made waters rise, to breach the old well’s rim

Pour up, and drown the flowers in the grass

Caused birds to cease in flight, the sky grow dim

And clouds to form as shadows upon glass

She stood aghast, as heavy as a stone

As whorls of water swirled around her dress

Stood drowning in the forest there, alone

Too late to pray, to hope, or to confess

The waters closed above her sorry head

As Marah joined the legions of the dead

As Marah joined the legions of the dead

Her eyes began to fill with blood and light

With all the tears that man had ever shed

With all the dark and horror of the night

And floating past her, man and woman, child

All weeping, weeping, screaming in their pain

Possessed by loss and loneliness, gone wild

With disappointment, or the guilt of Cain

Here unborn souls, who died within the womb

Here mothers mourning infants took to death

Here those imprisoned, tortured to the tomb

Who cried for life with one last feeble breath

With those whose love was thwarted or dismayed

In one unending terrible parade

In one unending terrible parade

The labourers, the weary hungry poor

Those men who lost each pitch and toss they played

Who only spake the raven’s ‘nevermore’

With those stood on the shoreline when the Ark

Set sail for freedom and new hope of day

And those who, as they listened to the lark

Were by some wave or bullet took away

The blood of martyrs mingled with the tears

So sadly shed by all humanity

By souls lost to the night, who met their fears

On mountain tops, on roadsides, or the sea

So this is pain, thought Marah, here is shown

More sorrow here than I have ever known

More sorrow here than I have ever known

More pain than I could ever comprehend

And yet this pain in some sense is mine own

To rise above, to conquer, and transcend

And with this revelation, Marah rose

Up through the deeps, towards the hazy light

Unwove her being from the tangled flows

Flew through the waters like a climbing kite

Up, up she went, past all the weeping dead

And blessed them as she passed, for bless she could

Then broke the waters with her joyful head

And breathed the air that blew so fresh and good

Across the grass where once a flood had been

As if had been a mirage she had seen

As if had been a mirage she had seen

Seemed all the world just light, on rock and tree

All colourful, all shades of blue and green

And all that pain become but memory

She heard a whisper, soft within her ear

Go forth, and hold this lesson in your heart

You sought for answers, and you found them here

Now take them to the world and play your part

She picked her silver pail up, and she ran

The well sat silent, watched her fade away

Sat waiting, for another questing man

To learn its wisdom on another day

This is my legend, for ‘tis mine to tell

‘Twas dawn when Marah went down to the well…


© Gail Foster September 21st 2016


The Mystery of Love; for Olly Michael Lancaster


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