The Glory of Autumn

River in shadow, twisting through banks ablaze
With the russets and reds, ambers and apricots
Wealth of nature, invested in gold,
Dropping to earth.

Autumn light and low sun reflecting in water
A landscape of stillness and quiet moments before
Winter storms and cold freezing skies strip
The branches bare.

Creation in temperate lands at its
Most magical,
Most colourful,
Most glowing
In glory at its death.

Poem and photo copyright Englepip©

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©

Is it winter?

There was a time when winters here were cold
When snow and ice bit deep into the bone
And frosted windows met us, rising, every morn
When icy pavements meant we slipped and slid along.
There was a time when summers were so warm
The sun shone bright between the clouds
And heat rose humid from the fields,
Bright with wildflowers, buzzing insects
And the heady scents of earth and farm.
But then came now, and now it should be winter
But the February temperature tells me no,
For I feel the heat rise across both town and country
See a clear blue unremitting glare upon the water
And the butterflies awake and flit and start
But it is winter or is winter summer now?
For this thing called climate change has confused us all.

Poem and photo copyright Englepip©

Strawberry Hill

The house frontage onto the gardens with current marquee/ cafeteria extension. Note Queen Mary’s University is actually attached.

An iced fairy-cake,
White Gothic structure
Shining in the sun with
Turrets, towers and chimneys
Spires, like icing sugar
Spiking heavenward,
Brilliant against
The dome of a blue sky.
Castellations of legends
And pointed, arched windows
Full of intricate tracings.
Paradise of imagination,
Packed with curiosities
In the collections of
Walpole’s desires
And eccentricities.

Strawberry Hill, London, is currently open to the public with an exhibition of some of the items collected by Horace Walpole (son of Britain’s first Prime Minister). He was an avid collector of art and curiosities, from fine art to armour and coins etc.

Chimneys and spires against a stormy sky at Strawberry Hill.

The house originally fronted onto the Thames, but the land in front has now been built upon and the site has been developed as part of Queen Mary’s University, London, in fact the students wander around the campus on the lawns outside and have lectures in the adjoining rooms.

Walpole designed this house together with his friends Richard Bentley and John Chute, as a ‘private retreat and a house for show, a place for study and for elaborate parties.’*

Not only is the exterior beautiful, but the interior has rooms or varying shapes, and sizes, ceilings which must be some of the best examples of Gothic revivalism known. There is a mirrored gallery, glitzy with gold and cream Gothic pinnacle ceiling and the prettiest library I remember ever seeing. Unfortunately I could not photograph the interior this time due to so many of the artefacts being on private loan.

It is well worth a visit though for those who like the Gothic style.

The turret and ornate iron staircase at Strawberry Hill.

Poem, prose and photos copyright Englepip©

In praise of donkeys

Four-legged beast of burden
Rough-haired or smooth
Piebald, brown or dun
Long-eared and skinny-tailed
Capturer of our hearts,
Nudging at our pockets
And snuffling for a carrot.
Baring teeth when moody
And singing your own song
Loudly braying and laughing
At the human it does not want to please.
Beast of burden
Reliable until that point
When stubborn will intercedes
And nothing will move him.
Jack the father
Jenny the mother
Led by man for 5000 years
Bearer of Christ and His mother
And a cross to prove it.
And now beach companion
On a summer’s day in Europe
Fun to be with,
Loving, faithful, knowing friend.


Words and photos copyright Englepip©