Poor Old Tree

When you planted me so long ago at the side of the track
Did you know I would outlive you?
Did you countenance the life that I would give
Not just to self replicate but in harbouring others?
From insects small to tawny owl nesting in my hollow.
Did you contemplate the years of shade
That I would afford travellers down this lane
From farm boy labourers to coaches drawn
And then to cranking cars and back to men?
Did you know that centuries later your ancestors
Would stand beneath me and wonder at my age
Drinking in the air that I expire and admire me
Almost as a generous god?
For the peace and the calm and the life I can give.

You would be sad to see how the world
Is treated with disdain
Your progeny, no longer guardians
But ravagers of nature
Greedy for expansion.
I weep and yearly drop my limbs,
Shrinking from the world at large
Drawing in on myself: to nothing.


Then drunk in their own excesses
They will choke on their own vomit
And there will be nothing you nor I can do.

Poem and photo copyright Englepip©

Reflections

When I stare out across the wide salt flats
I count my blessings, from a life so full
I’ve seen so much of beauty unsurpassed
In hills and dales; and becks that trickle past;
Of lakes that gleam with orange sunset light
Or slow appear from out a mist at dawn
From hills all bronzed with bracken-coloured growth
And crags dramatic grey in slanting rain.
I’ve heard the birdsong in the green hedgerow
And listened as the buzzard keens her call
Crossed hillsides where the sheep bleat all the day
Smelled garlic wild along the woodland way.
Although my body now is rather frail,
I see and hear and scent as on the trail,
For senses come to life each live long day
As the river washes all my cares away.
She stops in shallows near my wooden seat
Reflecting all that’s past just at my feet
I ponder on the waters on the sand
And know from these reflections from above
That heaven for me, is very close at hand.


Poem and photo copyright Englepip©

I wrote this poem after visiting Arneside and Silverdale, which is close to the Lake District in the UK, where I have spend many holidays. The Lake District is one of the prime hiking locations in the UK famed for its wonderful combination of mountains and lakes. Arneside and Silverdale is nearby and in fact you can see the hills in the distance from there but the river is the main attraction here. As we walked along the riverside, there were elderly couples sitting and reflecting and taking in the sunset. I imagined the thoughts of one gentleman there as he sat with his walking stick deep in thought.

Beware thistles

The dying thistles blow in the wind
Spreading next year’s crop
Of pain and beauty
Floating on the breeze.
Beautiful at a distance
They provide some
Sustenance for insects and birds,
Until on an urge to reproduce
They send out their
Seemingly innocent progeny,
On wings of fluffy parachutes
To colonise the world
In the same guise.
Then turning their shameless heads
Upwards, like little suns
Of self satisfaction
Too late they realise their
Mistake
And hang their heads
In death and repentance.


Such is misinformation
Difficult to stop
Attractive to look at
Apparently benevolent
But inflicting
Pain that pricks at our heels
And stabs our fingers.
And which misinformation,
Seeds itself in ways
That we cannot anticipate.

Beware thistles.

Poem and Photo Copyright to Englepip©

Solo survival strength

You think you’re alone
Cut off; shut in
Shunned by the world and
Separated by lockdown.


But look at your self
Look closely now
Search inside your mind.


There are intricate memories
Pictures of
Places been
Things seen.
Moments of
Complex relationships
Conversations had
Discussions
You
Could have had
Might have had
Maybe will have
And they can all be worked out
Listened to
Responded to
By your alter ego.


We are never only one.
How many names do you have?
All them you!

You are not alone.


And if you have a God
You also know He is there
Listening to you
Feeling your pain
Supporting you
And lying beside you in the darkest night
Holding you in your dreariest hour.

Never despair.
We are all more than one;
Always with you.
Strong.

This poem was inspired by looking at my photograph of this Echinacea. I zoomed in and found so many different levels and intricacies and I thought that within any structure in nature there is so much more, especially in the human mind – so many of us in one. Always more than one.

Photo and poem copyright Englepip©

The Yew

Taxus baccata is a conifer native to western, central and southern Europe, northwest Africa, northern Iran and southwest Asia. It is the tree originally known as yew, though with other related trees becoming known, it may now be known as common yew, English yew, or European yew.’ Wikipedia

Needles of toxicity
Hardened death bringer
But Celtic resurrector.

There are many myths surrounding the Yew tree. It is one of the most lon lived trees around and its wood is very dense and therefore good for things like furniture making. Yet every part except the fleshy part of the fruit is toxic to humans (although you would have to eat over 50 – 100 grams!). Some animals do not seem to get poisoned by eating yew.

There was tree in the graveyard at Selborne, Hampshire UK, which was reputedly about 1400 years old. Its girth was 26 feet. Unfortunately it fell in a gale in 1990 and did not recover.

The trees are evergreen although the needles do fall at times of the year. There are male and female trees and in the early Spring the male ‘flower’ send out clouds of pollen. The berries are not real berries but form small red fleshy blobs on the female trees.

Celtic mythology links the tree to both death and resurrection. This idea builds on the ancient Norse tradition of Yggdrasil, which in turn links back to the ancient world-wide stories of the Tree of Life or Tree of Knowledge.

References: https://www.ancient-yew.org/s.php/frequently-asked-questions/2/2 : https://www.hampshire-history.com/the-great-yew-of-selborne/:https://www.backyardnature.net/yew.htm

Little Me

My house is my home
And it goes where I roam
And as I grow big
So does it.
It’s always my size
Never too tight a fit
Though I eat and I graze
All night long.
Though it’s comfy and warm
And it keeps me from harm
I never eat in; watch TV.
So tonight I’ll eat out
While the birds not about
And I hope you won’t
Mind little me.

Poem and photo copyright Englepip©


Writer’s block


How does one deal with a brain that is blank
No interest in anything: dead?
How can one enthuse and react and excite
When the vacancy hangs like a cloud?
How can one exist in a life that seems full
Yet a whirlpool of nothingness looms?
How can one write when one’s mind can’t be found
When the Muse shuts all doors with dull sound?

I’ll sit here awhile and I’ll tap the keyboard
Try to shift torpor from my brain.
I’ll struggle to share the Lethe I feel,
Try to energise life from the depths;
And if even that fails, at least I’ll have tried
For my audience, a verse to provide.

Poem and photo copyright Englepip©

Love Like Thistledown

Your love is like a thistledown.

So soft and smooth, was our delight

As to lie upon it for the night. 

You, my love, and I would bed,

A tender pillow at our head.

Under down that’s silky smooth,

As is your skin, which I had wooed.

But come the Spring with seeds unsprung

When new shoots shot and leaves unwound

Then spikes they grew with wretched prickles

To wreck our bed with constant bristles

And love which started gossamer-light,

Turned to splinters overnight –

That pricked and stuck beneath the skin,

Unleashing a spite that underpinned

A love not firm, based on flocculent things:

For thistledown that’s smooth without

Is treacherous, secret-sharp within;

Beguiling love: your gentleness

Has a  knife-edged paradox built in.

Photo, poem and idea, copyright to Englepip©

Glass and steel

Bush and grass;
Nomadic units.
Mud and thatch;
A season’s shelter.
Timber, wattle and daub;
A whole community.
Stone and flint and brick,
Lots of brick and stone;
Built to last;
A permanence:
Solidity, reliability
Cities and government
Confirmation of continuity
Substance, dependability.

Cold steel;
Reflective, shiny
Repellant
Outward gloss;
Hard.
And glass
All revealing
Transparent glass.
Windows to the outside
Portals to the inside.
Transparency and truth
Everyone can see;
Everything.

 Words , poem and photo copyright Englepip©

The last few decades have seen a new architecture throughout the world. There is a change in style and feeling and I wanted to express how our architecture says a lot about us socially. This is a picture of Basingstoke, once a small market town evolving into a commercial hub – the place where Burberrys were invented in a small retailers; where Eli Lilly and Smiths industries and Lansing Bagnall led the way; where the Automobile Association still is based in what was until recently the tallest building between Hampshire and America; where the bank note printers De La Rue still has its headquarters on the edge of town. But as we move away from industry and manufacturing, – this is on the edge of the Uk’s silicon valley – to ethernet and internet and the need to face each other and work together physically, so architecture has changed. From solid stone with a ‘built to last’ feel, we have moved to glass and steel. Does it represent the unforgivingness of the working environment today? Does the transparency of glass mean that – yes we can see you are not hiding things but that you are being watched all the time? Does the brittleness of glass reflect the ease with which our individual worlds can be smashed and broken?