Mappa Mundi c.2020


The house: a small square, a line drawn along its side

denoting the wall between the drive and the front garden.


At the back: the footpath over the meadow

is marked by four green dashes, giant footsteps striding across an acre,

a line of trees signified by a bushy symbol, non-coniferous.


In front of the house: the meeting of two routes, one orange,

the other yellow – the lane between the house and the churchyard.

The church: a black orb, war memorial noted in abbreviation.


Below the fold in the map the orange road reaches south.

Blue tankard: the pub now closed, selling takeaways;

black phone receiver set at an angle: a red box with defibrillator inside.


A line of dashes track east: footpath across the vineyard (too new to be

marked) runs over fields towards the wood.


A big 50 and snaking brown contours state the height above sea level,

the milestone by the roadside (unmarked) registers 56 miles to London.


Long ago a community clustered around a church,

this corner of my world in one square inch.



Unspring 2020


Towards the end of July:


Leaves in fullness on the trees

began to fold themselves away,

closing their umbrellas to the sun.


Canna moved to recoil itself,

gradually twisting back its arrow leaves

until they were spikes in the ground.


Dahlias, so primed and primped,

shrank back to dark purple buds

and pock-marked snail leaves.


Roses in plumes of apricot perfume

and whorls of enfolded secrecy

retreated into a sepalled greenness.


Clematis furled its venturing tendrils,

closed its cupped faces, withdrew its reach

and became a fragile sinew.


Now we are in March again,

ready to begin a different spring.



Screen saving


The cloud sits heavy over the Catskills

the water below still, reflective.


Small icons dance along the screen’s edge

advertising their functions.


The sun begins to set behind the mountains,

my mind wanders, tired, sleepless.


Home, layout, tables, charts, smart art;

a grey band with scissors and paint brush.


Daunted by challenges, narrowed by limits

I reach out to the dark sky, curser hovers.


I write, cut, copy, paste and undo,

search for documents unwritten.


The last of the swallows skim the lake,

a long passage of enshrouded time begins.