HS2 A poem

I don’t live far from the HS2 construction. The destruction of our beautiful countryside is awful. And then there is the noise of the drills etc that I am having to live with every day! I wrote this poem from a tree’s perspective. So many beautiful trees are being felled to make way for a railway we really don’t need now.

An ancient tree’s petition to the Prime Minister about stopping the construction of HS2

Stop! Stop! Stop this deforestation!

Send away the snarling

yellow diggers, the axe-wielding

armie of orange high-vis-vested workers.

Listen! Listen! Listen to our cries!

For centuries we have grown here.

Now, gnarled and venerable,

we’re hollow homes for fungi,

rare beetles, birds and bats –

valuable deadwood treasures.

Around our roots:

lichen, flora and fauna,

a biodiverse panacea.

Without us you’d not survive.

We are your breath,

and clean pollutant skies.

Listen! Listen! Listen to our cries!

Beneath musty mushroom smells,

our ‘wise’ roots interconnect,

inform and support – a ‘wide wood web’

that you have destroyed.

To offset our destruction,

new saplings have been sown,

but look how they struggle to grow

without our help and love –

many have already died.

Listen! Listen! Listen to our cries!

We are wrenched apart,

limb from limb, like trees

caught up in the crossfire of war.

Barn owls search for lost nests

beneath the scent of dead leaves.

The woodpecker has lost its drum.

We no longer feel the butterfly’s kiss.

Rare species will soon be gone.

The nation will mourn our passing.

Poets will no longer sing our songs,

the loveliest of pear trees… gone.

No seasonal crowns of red and golds

to adorn an artist’s foreground.

You may speed faster in your pristine

train, but the land is scarred.

Our sap blood will forever stain your hands.

Snow! ( January 2021)

My Snowman

If

I had

a ball of snow

I’d roll it on the ground,

and watch it grow.

Then I’d make a tall snowman,

use marbles for eyes

and a stick for each hand.

He’d wear designer clothes,

have a cute coal-button nose.

I’d feed him ice-cream on a spoon,

beneath a lace en-frosted moon.

Then I’d steal a frozen kiss,

savouring the taste of crystal bliss.

And when the sun

said he had to die

I’d lick him up

til the

earth

was

dry

The Snowball

She holds the snowball

in mittened hands,

satisfied she has patted

a perfect globe.

She presses it to her lips

and gently takes a bite.

Her tongue tingles with the taste

of a thousand dendrites.

Bending down she pushes

the ball across the virgin snow

relishing the crunching sound it makes

as it grows and grows.

Face glowing with exertion

she tramples a twisted

path searching for only the purest snow.

She rests now, enshrouded

in her panting breath,

bones rattling with cold.

She gazes at the snowball

through frosted tears.

It has grown too big to hold

Sir

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The first Spanish lesson

of a new term and there you were,

brown hair flopping

over gold-rimmed glasses –

straight out of university.

Each day I searched for you

to catch a glimpse, a smile.

I wrote your name

on my exercise books,

embellished it with hearts

and arrows. When the others

had gone, you taught me about

Lorca’s imagery. I still write

your name on steamy windows

and in dust on shelves.

How it was

How it was

We lived in a cottage,

with flowers, with trees, with birdsong.

From my bedroom window

fields in every direction.

In summer, studded with buttercup gold,

in winter silvered with frost.

Sometimes there was snow,

so deep, so deep.

Like the winter of 63

when we were snowmen,

following deer and fox tracks

for miles and miles.

The gardens burst

with harvests: carrots, beetroot,

cabbages, and in the orchard

cherry, plum and apple trees.

Hedgerows thrummed with bees

and spangled with ladles

of Mum’s blackberry jam.

But one morning machines appeared.

Metal jaws shredded roots:

bluebells, daffodils, the wild orchids.

They devoured a field, trees, our gardens.

Rabbits and foxes took flight.

We had to leave.

Our cottage was pulled down,

stone by stone.

And from a concrete ocean rose blank new homes.

From each home, a family.

They will never know the names of the trees.

They will never know the names of the flowers.

They trample over the nightingale’s song.

They trample over my heart.

Our cottage at Broadfield. Gone now…

Messages Much Missed

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Messages Much Missed

 

After T. Hardy

 

 

Oh, how I miss you, texting me, texting me,

my phone now lies silent and dead.

You were my everything, all to me, all to me,

as from the very first day that we met.

 

I gaze at your photo standing right next to me,

taken in town at our favourite spot,

where you’d always wait for me, wait for me.

How cool you look in blue jeans and white top.

 

I’m reading your messages, over and over

dreaming that you are here by my side.

Perhaps I should delete them, delete them,

but without them how will I survive?

 

So, here I am

barely coping

birds around me singing.

‘Flesh perishes, life goes on,’ someone said.

But not your texting.

 

Copyright Shirley Anne Cook

 

 

 

 

 

Day in London

My birthday yesterday and we went to see the Tutankhamen exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery.  I had really been looking forward to seeing this, but I was a bit disappointed, as there were not as many items as I’d hoped.  I think perhaps that as I have seen the Tut displays in Cairo museum several times I may have been expecting too much. But anyway I did enjoy seeing what was there.  The workmanship used to make these objects never ceases to amaze me.

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Outside the Saatchi Gallery.

 

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Some exhibits

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Afterwards we went to Madame Tussauds where I met my hero John Wayne and others!

 

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Cordoba

Last week we went to Cordoba in Spain.  The Alcazar ( de los Reyes Cristianos)  is one of my favourite places. It has been the residence of Roman governors, Moorish calliphs and Spanish kings – Ferdinand and Isabella lived there for over eight years. It has a castle, beautiful gardens and an old Moorish bathhouse. It was built on the banks of the Guadalquivir river. The beautiful Alcazar gardens were added by Ferdinand and Isabella and given a Moorish design with gurgling fountains and aromatic plants.  We walked in 30c heat last week, the soft murmuring of the waters helped to make us feel cooler. alcaz5

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Goodbye my dear Spanish friend.

I lost my dear friend Carmina on Saturday. She had been fighting melanoma cancer which started on her foot some ten years ago.

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Carmina  Broadfield, Crawley, Sussex. C.1969

I first met Carmina on a school exchange. I was learning Spanish, ( O-level), she English.

I remember making the journey to her family villa in Castelldefels near Barcelona.  It was by train, across France, and I had to sleep on the train, sharing the compartment with people I did not know. It was all very strange. I was only 15.

 

Carmina and me! (2)

Anyway, her family made me very welcome. She had four brothers, all very good looking!

The villa was near the sea and we used to go to the beach a lot. Her dad owned a small boat.

In the evenings we went to discos or the cinema. Once when we went to the cinema we took baguettes filled with Spanish omelette ( tortilla de patatas). I wasn’t keen on the idea of cold omelette sandwiches but they were delicious.

I met a few Spanish boys at the discos and got told off by Carmina’s father for dancing too closely to one. Those were Franco days and you were not allowed to even kiss in the street.

Carmina came to stay in my home next, in Crawley, and I showed her the sights of London and Brighton, which she loved.

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I have naturally curly hair and hated it. No hair straighteners back then. Carmina showed me a way to straighten it using what’s called an ‘ensaimada’. An ensaimada was a Spanish type of cake made of twisted pastry.

So, you wet the hair and coil the hair tightly round and round your head and clip it down tightly. I don’t think it did a lot for the hair’s condition, but it worked and I often dried my hair in that way, with a big hair roller on top.

 

 

Carmina and I kept in touch after the school exchange and wrote to each other often. Carmina would send me my favourite turron at Christmas time.

 

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I went out to Barcelona a few times over the years to see her and she visited the UK , once with her parents, but not lately, due to her illness.

We had so much fun when together. She was always laughing and full of life, with a twinkle in her eyes.  I will miss her very much.

carmina and me