Mother Autumn

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for Anna

and for Rosemary, Joan, and Janette

*

I see my Mother, now the swans have flown

As summer falling sweetly from the vine

In fading shades of blossom turned to wine

In seas of corn from seeds of springtime grown

I sense her in the scents of roses blown

In twilight glades as day and night entwine

At sunrise, in the mist of morning’s shine

On drops of blood of berries on the stone

I see my Mother, standing on the hill

Beneath Orion as he turns the year

I see her grieve for me all winter till

The new born leaves and flowers reappear

As I will, Mother, as I always will

Return to where I came from, Mother dear

*

© Gail Foster 22nd September 2017

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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

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*

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

The Solstice Door

The light is coming… and I wish you well

*

The Solstice Door

*

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

Doorway Dogs

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*

 Winter is coming, there’s frost on the ground

It’s hard being homeless when you’re a hound

Cold tongues and noses, wet coats and feet

Are par for the course for a dog on the street

Furry surfers of sofas and seekers of sheds

Who dream of warm fires and comfortable beds

Who can’t go to the Council or bid for a flat

Who have to rely on a human for that

All that waiting outside; all that watching of doors

All that catching a wink on unsuitable floors

Living a life dodging different dangers

Living on luck and the kindness of strangers

It’s a dog’s life alright, and for humans as hard

It’s no good in the hood when you ain’t got a yard

But there’s rumours afoot in the Chippenham air

Re: temporary housing and bed space to spare

Tales are wagging and shaggy dogs telling

The news that they sense on the air they are smelling

They go down to Doorway and find out it’s true

“Hey doggies, we’ve got comfy kennels for you!”

One has a sniff and the other a lick

And one gives the new pop up kennels some stick

One crawls inside and another freaks out

“What on earth,” say the dogs, “is the tent thing about?

It’s hard to assimilate cultural change

The kennels, let’s face it, are awfully strange

But the humans look happy and that’s pretty neat

Always a good thing to keep humans sweet

And it’s really quite nice of them, thinking of us

Best use the things so they don’t make a fuss

Just crawl in and smile “Hey, this is quite cool!”

“Speak for yourself, mate, I feel like a tool”

“But it’s warmer in here, so maybe chill out?”

“Less of the ‘chill’, it’s the heat I’m about”

So went the debate, it was fairly immense

Till all dogs agreed that some stuff was intense

That the kennels were handy and kept out the cold

And that humans are weird and like, comedy gold

They were really quite glad that the kennels had popped up

That their core body temperatures had been topped up

And that folk gave them snacks and stuff for their dinner

Yep, the whole kennel thing was an actual winner

But lunchtime passed quickly and soon it was gone

It was time for the dogs to pack up and crack on

With doggy bags sorted they left with their folk

And went hunting for dog ends to roll up and smoke

Oh, housing’s a nightmare and tricky to handle

A difficult issue, an absolute scandal

But on Mondays and Thursdays the doggies can glamp

Pop up to the drop in and hang out and camp…

In between times the Doorway staff find with a frown

That what can pop up does not always pop down

The kennels are springy and just won’t play ball

And no-one can pack up the bu**ers at all

Goodness knows where they can stash ‘em or stick ‘em

Not one of them knows how to fold up and lick ‘em

It’s like playing Twister, such weird convolutions

Like trying to find flippin’ housing solutions

by Gail