Ceres

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A statue of Ceres watches over Devizes from the top of the Corn Exchange…

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My name is Ceres, Goddess of the Corn

I stand above the Market Place and stare

With stony face, half dressed, and with a horn

Towards the North, the hill, the over there

I’ve lovely hair, but long the days have passed

When men admired the firmness of my rack

I’m old, and to be fair I can’t be arsed

Once had one’s day is never coming back

I’ve sewn my seed, been fertilised, and borne

My little birds and thrown them to the skies

Seen men come to the Market Cross to mourn

Seen marryings, and mayhem in The Vize

I’m old, but oh I see, from up on high

The secret things, the glory of the sky

*

© Gail Foster 5th January 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

*

© Gail Foster 23rd March 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…

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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 Old Lights Of Christmas

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Devizes, Wiltshire; New Year’s Eve…

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The cyclist sees, in the edge of her eye

Fireworks flash in the distant beyond

Ghostly swans on the dark of the pond

The old lights of Christmas go glittering by

The cyclist sees, in the edge of her eye

Houses shimmer with sparkling rain

Curtains drawn on sorrow and pain

The old lights of Christmas go glittering by

The cyclist sees, in the edge of her eye

Stars wheel over the Market Place

The shift of a shadow on Ceres’ face

The old lights of Christmas go glittering by

*

© Gail Foster 31st December 2016

The Last Dark Magic of the Keys

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The time is now, you said, let it be done

I come to cause you one last piece of pain

You chose a day in summer when the rain

Fell soft upon the road like private tears

To work the last dark magic of the keys

There was a time, and not so long ago

I held your key like Smegal held the Ring

As if the holding of it meant some thing

Some plastic crucifix, some rabbit’s foot

Some lucky anchor in the wild seas

The time has come, you say, for you and me

To stand before each other one more time

In some symbolic moment quite sublime

Where I shall fall before you like the rain

Like some dead broken rose, upon my knees

There was a time, not very long ago

You had the key to me, and to my door

But all your rights to me you have forswore

And I shall fain deny you this last wish

To see my tears, and your dark purpose please

For now the time is mine, so come, and go

Come find your key beneath my Welcome mat

Beneath a grey rock under gaslight sat

Before a door forever locked to thee

For I have for mine own heart mine own key

*

© Gail Foster 2016

 

The Solstice Door

The light is coming… and I wish you well

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The Solstice Door

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Behind the running, running man the land

Lies silent, fallow, haunted by the cry

Of one lone mourning rook who flies alone

Inscribing solemn circles in the sky

There is no time to take a backward look

Just running, running, running, running blind

He leaves the flowered garlands that she wove

With ribbons bright, with summer’s love, behind

He runs with only hope in empty hands

All faint of heart, with life blood running cold

The chill of winter earth beneath his feet

All water turned to ice in frozen fold

All out of breath with minutes yet to live

He runs, through elder grove and stand of yew

Runs, seeking for the ancient Solstice door

Described in tales the bards and ancients knew

 ‘Till suddenly he stumbles on a glade

All silent where no wild bird wheels or calls

And in the glade there stands a single stone

And on the ground a moon dark shadow falls

And there, within the shadow’s light he sees

That which before him other men have found

A stairway leading down in to the earth

A dark descending path in to the ground

No way but down now, this the only way

He gathers one last breath, and full of fear

Goes down the old and foot worn ancient steps

That lead towards the portal of the year

How dark the endless steps of winter’s stair

That shadow down, down to the Solstice door

To where, beneath the door a chink of light

Hints soft and bright across the cold stone floor

He sits upon the bottom step to rest

Reflect, and contemplate the year behind

And lo, she comes, bedecked in leaves and fruit

And dancing, dancing, through his weary mind

Forget me not, she sings; I am still here

I wait for you, for life to shift and stir

And through the keyhole and the chink there blows

A fragrant waft of birch and silver fir

Reviving, blessing, soft upon his face

The promise of new life upon her breath

Touched by her grace he weeps upon the step

For she has saved him with her love from death

Another year dies, another lives

He sits and waits; she watches from afar

And as he waits the light in darkness shifts

And creaks the ancient Solstice Door ajar…

*

by Gail

Transient Flame

For Steve

all flesh is grass

Transient Flame

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How time flies;

Like birds and bees

Transient nectar

Deciduous trees

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How leaves fall;

Like stars in sky

Meandering streams

Passers by

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How oceans flow;

Like blood in veins

Wind over mountains

Bloom strewn plains

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How life flames;

Like a fire fly

Light in the shadows

New born cry

by Gail