The year turns…

The Year

Ella Wheeler Wilcox, 18501919

What can be said in New Year rhymes,
That’s not been said a thousand times?

The new years come, the old years go,
We know we dream, we dream we know.

We rise up laughing with the light,
We lie down weeping with the night.

We hug the world until it stings,
We curse it then and sigh for wings.

We live, we love, we woo, we wed,
We wreathe our brides, we sheet our dead.

We laugh, we weep, we hope, we fear,
And that’s the burden of the year.

 

photo Rose Cook

For my Grandad a hundred years on : the First World War centenary

 

With much love for my Grandad, Thomas Clarke, born 1896, who fought with the Sherwood Foresters, Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Regiment 1914-1918

 

Show me a greenhouse

and I catch my Grandad’s face

turning, as he bends to his plants,

his calm back rounded away

from trench war and toil.

I recall his gentleness,

the pungent hothouse smell

of tomato plants and the soil

quick with growing.

 

Kindness itself, he was always quiet,

would sit smoking, stare into space.

A survivor. How was it to return, to carry

those memories to the end of your days?

He never spoke about it, except to say that

the pack-mules had to be attended to first.

He was sent home with trench fever,

which saved his life.

 

At the eleventh hour the guns fell silent –

on the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

My Grandad’s birthday.

 

 

Rose Cook

Poem for Lammas ~ August 1st

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Crowning Party

 

This year the weather changed with rain

and cooler in the North, hints of autumn.

 

When our children were small, we always held a party

when August began. Each wore a crown.

 

The barley fields wave theirs in a golden sea.

Farmers will begin to gather the grain.

 

My mother took us bilberrying up on the moors.

A whole wild day scrambling through heather.

Special sandwiches and pop.

 

* my new book Hearth is available from me or http://www.culturedllama.co.uk/

 

Poem and photograph Rose Cook