Thursday 21 May 2020

Writing in Lockdown.

This time of lock-down has come to visceral life for me when I turn the pages of some of the hundred notebooks on my shelves as I look out of my window at the green of my garden and my ancient trees.

These days I am more conscious than ever of the birds, both in my trees and up in the sky: enticing images of freedom now as I see and hear them in my confinement.

In one of my notebooks I found this poem called The Birds written in 2002 about the different world inhabited by birds. These days I think I took for granted their sense of  freedom.  

Now I have resurrected re-read this poem  again and have  polished it just a bit.

Here it is.

The Birds

A line of birds scratches its way
across the gunmetal grey
of an April afternoon.
Its waivering form begins
to evolve
into a double V.

Their direction is North.
They discover their way by
following their inner tick
and escaping the sultry fog
of unseasonable warmth
above the surging bulbs.

Original version 29th December 2002
Polished April 2020

Saturday 16 May 2020

Poems in lock-down, 'the tramp-tramp of mercenary feet...'

In my last post I wrote about my trees, with my eye sharpened through lock-down. Another lock-down preoccupation has been making my way through hundreds of the notebooks which are the roots of all my writing 

And I found this poem – also called Trees – in the October 2002 notebook.
The poems  are similar, but  as you will notice, different. This one alludes, I now see, to the Roman occupation of the North. I recall now that I was also, at the time, writing my novel The Pathfinder which is set in post Roman Britain.

Here you are: 

Green light drips onto sooty bark.
The white sun forges pathways
onto petals of yellow aconite
spotlighting chunky bluebells
awakened from their ancient bulbs.

Raw branches push outwards and up
escaping the broad  trunk -
a descendent of the ancient woodland
rooted here predating the existence of
 the whole  town, the main street. 

That straight road still echoes with
the tramp-tramp of mercenary feet
pacing the land, holding it in thrall
for an emperor lounging now
 in glimmering Mediterranean light.

Now this child walks through the trees
trailing her hand on the roughened bark. 
She puts her face to the sky and savours
the pearls of rain that drop from her
round row into  her closed eye.

Sunday 3 May 2020

Three Sisters - Trees From My Window

Like so many people in this lock-down emergency I have found it hard to concentrate on my normal creative pattern of reading and writing. The public dilemma tends to bleed one of both emotional and physical energy.

But finally, finally I have begun to write again, inspired by this semi imprisoned situation – liberated by looking out of my big bay window.

Thing are different now aren’t they? I have abandoned my little writing room upstairs and also my bigger office downstairs and retreated to the single writing table inside the bay window on the sunny side of the house. This is always a favourite place.

From here I can see the overgrown lawn and the over-sprouting shrubs - suffering from enforced neglected throughout this lockdown. But more important than this I can see the trees all around this garden which – when the house was built 150 years ago - was a piece of ancient woodland belonging to the Dean and Chapter – the office of the Bishop of Durham.

So, relishing an escape from interminable domestic commitments, I have spent my lock-down at my table writing, supervised by the hares who act as my quality controllers. They are mad March hares. It certainly has been a mad March, hasn’t it?

Locked down here I have become obsessed with the movement and identity of my ancient trees.
So here is my first completed work in progress -   a short-line pieces called 

  Three Sisters

 With fluttering leaf-fingers
and nobbly branch-elbows
three lanky sisters stand
side by side,  elbow to elbow,
nodding their heads and
gently touching each other,
relishing the ever present chime of birdsong.
Their ancient brothers,
high as the house,
stride the steep bank
unimpeded by ivy.
Tangled up, overgrown -
their thick trunks are
embroidered with wild, wandering creepers.

Ankle-deep in the skeletons of
five-year-old leaves, the pathways
wind between the trees. And
bluebells, spawned by ancient bulbs,
blunt-nose their way between the
roots of ancient colonising trees -
 a deep blue glimpse through
the veil of filtered sunlight.

Outside my window
three lanky sisters
stand side by side.

Wendy Robertson. May 2020 


 Keep Safe, keep well Wx


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