The Green Beneath The Snow

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A Villanelle, for the Spring Equinox

*

the hills are growing green beneath the snow

white horses, shake the winter from your manes

the spring has come, the wild wind told me so

cold ice be gone, and warm sweet water flow

come, crocuses, and flower on the plains

the hills are growing green beneath the snow

grey gulls fly high, and clouds of blossom blow

come, laughing crows, and dance within the rains

the spring has come, the wild wind told me so

soon summer, and so many seeds to sow

come, sun, spill down the furrows of the lanes

the hills are growing green beneath the snow

bright gorse ablaze, and alder tops aglow

come blood, and flood the burrows of the veins

the spring has come, the wild wind told me so

dark night be gone, long days of light to go

come love, with all your mysteries and pains

the hills are growing green beneath the snow

and spring has come, the wild wind told me so

*

© Gail Foster 17th March 2018

 

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Ceres

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

*

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

Rivers Again

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Let there be rain on Wiltshire fields, before the ancient streams run dry…

*

I hear the sky whispering rumours of rain

Apparently there will be rivers again

Worms for the blackbirds and toads in the mud

Puddles on petals and fields in flood

Streams in the gutter, in burrow and street

Children and rabbits with little wet feet

Flashes of flame setting Ceres alight

And thunderclaps frightening pigeons in flight

The waters will fall on the morrow they say

Deep in the cracks of the dry earth of May

And farmers and flowers with tears in their eyes

Will watch as the corn and the reservoirs rise

As ever the moaners will mutter and sigh

And shake their umbrellas, and curse at the sky

*

© Gail Foster 12th May 2017

Swallows

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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

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