New Poems included March 2019

Jane Lesley Croft (NEE CORNER)

Jane Lesley Croft (NEE CORNER)

Jane Lesley Croft (NEE CORNER)Jane Lesley Croft (NEE CORNER)

Poems, Copyright © Jane Croft

Padley Gorge, Derbyshire

Padley Gorge, Derbyshire

Padley Gorge, Derbyshire

image1

Water carves memories

In rock, greens aeons

With moss, breeds beech and oak 

In quiet earth where scents

Of ancient leaf mould

Breathe secrets, and stillness

Fills with river murmur

Rising from the depths

Of the chasm where the water

Courses and buffets a way

Through jumbled stone,

Flinging spray in rainbow drops

As it tumbles over boulders

And swirls past juts of root

And spools round snags,

And slides round outcrops

And glides over pebble beds

Pours through the narrows

And plunges over gritstone sills

To spill into peaty pools

Beneath the trees,

And then flows on.

The water holds a dream

Of earth and time,

Sparkling with the sun’s wit

In the liquid laughter

Of days.

Blue Iris

Padley Gorge, Derbyshire

Padley Gorge, Derbyshire

image2

Blue iris were your favourite flowers:

You said they were a promise kept,

Like rainbows seen through April showers.

A greening hope in after-hours

Awakes where winter earth has slept;

Blue iris were your favourite flowers,

A vivid promise that empowers

And blooms from tears the skies have wept,  

Like rainbows seen through April showers.

When loss destroys and darkness lours

Love fills the place where terror leapt; 

Blue iris were your favourite flowers

Renewing faith where sorrow scours,

They soothe the soul where doubt once crept,

Like rainbows seen through April showers. 

Remembrance lives and thus embowers

The heart from whence the fear is swept;

Blue iris were your favourite flowers;

Like rainbows seen through April showers.

Whilst we May

Padley Gorge, Derbyshire

Whilst we May

image3

Let us walk among the quiet places 

of this earth, among the woods

and hills, and share the peace

that’s only found in open spaces.

Let us watch the changing light

and shifting forms of cloud

where wind and sunshine put

the shadows of the storm to flight.

Let us sit at dusk and see

the stars prick out across the sky

while blue deepens to dark

and shade is green beneath the trees.

Let us not despise familiar things

because they’re free or commonplace

and we become blind to all

the simplest pleasures living brings.

Dust

Frost

Whilst we May

image4

Dust cleaves unto dust,

A mutual attraction

Subject to censure,

Swept aside and shaken out,

But never entirely dispatched,

Merely displaced – for a while.

Yet cleanliness is far removed from godliness

Since dust was divinely inspired

And thus was given life.

Being subtle, it never overtly resists

The hand that seeks to banish it,

But it always returns,

Unseen, quietly resolved,

As though a vestige of some former will remained,

Translated into mute intent;

A dry reminder not to squander time.

Its presence is suggestive

Of transitions, past and yet to come.

Dust is infinitely patient, uncritical

Of all the tortuous roads we choose;

Because it knows that all roads lead

Towards our ultimate reunion.

Frost

Frost

Frost

image5

We turned the horses out at fade of light

And saw the moonrise on the meadow’s crest

As brilliant stars announced the coming night

And fiery gleams sank slowly in the west.

On hill and hollow frost had lain all day

Thick-furring turf and tree and hawthorn hedge

With ice, and bound like iron the rutted clay

And rimed the furrows at the pasture’s edge.

Its beauty held us and we lingered yet

Both careless then of time, the passing hour

That brings the silent blight; the unseen threat

Whose stealthy touch destroys the budding flower.

The carefree day is gone that found us there:

Mere shadow, glimpsed like breath in frosty air.

Rain

Frost

Frost

image6

When I returned from Africa it rained:

For days on end the leaden skies poured forth

Their store of water and the land was stained

And dark, and air was drenched with scent of earth;

And water gushed in streams and flowed in rills,

And weighed with droplets heavy flower heads,

And dripped from trees, and clouded all the hills,

And scattered petals over garden beds.

The country held communion with the rain,

A sweet libation to a grateful soil

That yielded up its own green soul again

And graced with plenty all the farmer’s toil.

So far from drought and parching desert plain,

I offered up my heartfelt thanks for rain.

Thoughts for the Day 25 July 2013

Spare Thought

I know that we shall meet again

Spare Thought

image7

Its was a busy day today,

Sunny and Cold.

An Old man proposed,

But I had to refuse.

He wasn't rich enough.


An old man passed blood today

Kidney-dead blood,

Sticky, red on the floor,

Took me ages to clean up.


An old man choked today,

They rushed for oxygen,

But it was too late.

Potato at ninty-five

When semolina's safer!


An old man cried today

When a toe came off.

Gangrene they say..

Smelt foul and the blood

sticky on the floor

I mopped up.


An old man died today.

Gained four wheel promotion

In the mortuary race.

They laid him out

in a torn sheet

I saw it.


We all had tea today,

Quite out of coffee and bleach.

No stores, you see,

So we're low all round.


But it was fine today

Sunny and cold

It was autumn today.

I know it.


Recollections

I know that we shall meet again

Spare Thought

image8

I stare, weary, at the world with two pale eyes,

Such world as comes to this confined room,

And return to the days of my youth

When the flesh was firm on my bones,

The skin untouched by the grooves of time.

My tongue, a stranger to coherent speech,

Wonders at its former volubility.

My wandering  mind searches all its wastes,

All its knowledge for some memory of the past.

There were so many.

I clench my gnarled fist to the light

And dimly perceive the knotted blue of vein

And the pimpled skin of a plucked chicken

Just so am I

My feeble lungs draws shallow breaths of stale air.

And one breath is all breaths together.

The husk yhat lived will die, decayh.

Sixty summers ago I knew the girl

who leans on my cot side,

The one with spring in her step

her face, her eyes,

Where winter and spring are closely met

Scarce, to me, known apart.

Speak of the years between then and now,

of the turning, the fearful change

that overtook me unaware:

of the a day to die.

When the fires grow cold

And the downwind of a dark lagoon I lie,

Cut free and waiting to sink.

I speak not of death, but of the Spring.

I know that we shall meet again

I know that we shall meet again

I know that we shall meet again

image9

  

I know that we shall meet again

In some other place and time,

Beyond the present power of thought,

In some unknown other clime,

For death is soul’s translation

Into oneness with the light,

Beyond the reach of hand to touch

And yet forever in our sight,

For those we’ve loved dwell with us

In the memories of the heart,

As distant as the furthest stars– 

And closer than a thought 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Hidden Agenda


Whose was the eye that kept in view

The work you did, the all you gave,

And, mindful of your talents here,

Recruited these beyond the grave?


The task you left was not complete:

So much remained, is yet to do.

What urgent business called you hence?

What other presence summoned you?


What e’er the purpose in your going

We cannot see or understand:

Why would you give the guiding torch

Into another person’s hand?


You would not lightly leave us here,

Unless to serve some higher cause:

Who summoned you to leave this place

Is one whose power must give us pause.

I know that we shall meet again

image10
image11
image12

New Work Found

Off t'Straight an' Narrer

Off t'Straight an' Narrer

Off t'Straight an' Narrer

'e were a proper sticky-fingered git

Wi' no remorse. 'e bragged 'e could  nick owt,

An' did. For years 'e gorraway wi' it.

It were a purloined trolley gorrin though,

On t'narrer towpath down beside t'canal:

It veered, an' dragged 'im into t'cut below

'e couldn't swim, an' so when 'e were found.

It were too late, cos t'thievin' toad were drowned.



Afterwards


I’d like to think some words of mine

Survived into some distant future time;

That someone, reading, found a thought

That resonated in his mind,

And by that means I touched a chord

In him as others long since dead

Have done in me. And he might smile

To hear the echo of his inmost thought

Returned, and know that he was not alone.

Dreaming Green

Off t'Straight an' Narrer

Off t'Straight an' Narrer

Within this bandaged blackness I have dreamed 

A miracle; imagined damaged nerves

Renewed, empowered to admit the light: 

And I have grasped at rainbows in the dark,

And reached for meaning in such terms as blue

And red, the deep complexities of green.

Of all that mystery it is the word

That most intrigues and subtly teases thought.

For green informs the woodland air in spring,

And clover meadows sweet with drying hay;

The susurrus of wind through barley fields,

Or crash of breakers on a sun-warmed shore;

The taste of new-shelled peas, and peppermint,

Asparagus, angelica and rain.

And green is thick-ribbed linden leaves, and moss

On walls, and soft-furred hazel nuts, and spikes

On holly, spiteful nettles, thistle spines.

I have a sense of green’s diversity,

Its many shades of meaning, though the last

Eludes me still. But soon, the doctors say,

The truth will out. And if the miracle

Remains a dream there’s nothing lost, for I

Shall have exactly what I had before.

I am prepared–but, oh, the hope, the hope.

Intensive Care

Intensive Care

Intensive Care

What was it like in those last ten days

In the limbo of between?

Did you fight with death in the darkness

Regretting what might have been?

What did you sense in those last ten days?

A release from body’s pain?

Did you dread the fading of the light,

Or trust there was all to gain?

What did you dream in those last ten days

In the darkness there alone?

Did you long to leave this earthly life

For the joy of going home?

What were you shown in those last ten days?

The state of grace to be?

Did you long to soothe the fear in us

Who grieved to set you free?


 Cat's Epitaph

Here lies poor Smudge our feline friend

Whose passing now we mourn:

Misjudgement caused this tabby’s end

And left us all forlorn.

He never learned the Highway Code

So thought that he had got

Sufficient time to cross the road,

But, sadly, he had not.


Limericks;

Intensive Care

Intensive Care

Writer’s Block / Not A-Mused

In pursuing a writing career

One requires that the Muse should be near,

But the bitch comes and goes

And one just never knows

If or when she might deign to appear.


Spell Cheque / Double Chequeing

Wen yew edit you’re work its sew clear

That yore spell chequer kneads two bee ne’er:

Then ewe no Yule knot make

Any Scilly mist ache

In the storeys ye rite threw the yare.


Special Agent

A literary agent from Gwent

Ignored half the work he was sent,

But a few sugar grains

And some dark coffee stains

Made it look like he’d been most intent.


Critical Decision

A publishing house in Tibet

Issued crits guaranteed to upset:

“Notwithstanding the hype,

This submission is tripe:

Don’t give up the day job just yet!”


Reaching for the Stars

A literary agent from Troon

Had a slush-pile that reached to the moon.

When he found two new stars

It was half-way to Mars,

So the timing was most opportune.