Saturday, 12 May 2018

Floral Messages

At the hairdresser's
red lilies
smart and stylish
against black

At the kitchen sink
an orchid
white and exuberant
against shining 

At the cafe counter
a geranium
lemon scented and green
without flowers
just citrus clouds among
the lentil bakes.

At the lychgate
a lavish garland
of May blossom
and fragrant lilac
freshly hung to greet
the bride.

At the prison
one buttercup
in a dusty glass
against mirky panes
framing barbed wire. 


You took your leave 
so quietly,
without struggle,
without regret,
no parting words
accompanying your exit.

You did this unnumbered times
at airports;
without fuss,
without long adieus,
no backward glance,
you simply left.

You schooled us well
in life's small ruptures;
without anxiety,
without fine speech,
no concession to sadness
you'd intimate farewell.

You lived your life
present to the day
without speculation,
without blame,
no unspoken 
murmurings of love.

So at this last,
most final parting
without angst,
without holding back,
no unfulfilled opportunity,
you move beyond our reach.

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

In Celebration of a Little Cat

©David Challoner 2018 

Naughty tortie
fast and sporty 
stalking paws
with needle claws
tail erect
neat, black-flecked
tiger stripes
pink tongue wipes
ears alert
quite a flirt
avid birder
tractor puss
give me fuss
tummy tickles
whisker prickles
smart, audacious
I'm not naughty
just a tortie.

©Janet Henderson 27th March 2018


Pale pink petaled path
Leather-soled shoe shoots sky-ward
Earth and sky invert.

©Janet Henderson 26th March 2018

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Lumb Bank

First day here and time to write.
Hear the slow tick of the dining room clock.
Who has sat in these chairs before?
Did they watch the fine Yorkshire drizzle pass along the valley,
as trees accumulated their autumn rust
and the mill chimney stood inactive?

Did they, like us, shuffle round one another
in the kitchen, searching for cups,
preoccupied with routines and lack of sleep
(or surfeit), sifting projects in their heads
as, all the while, The Poet’s images of moorland and valley
whispered from the walls?

This community’s not shy of work;
the house, built solid against rare summer heat
and, oftener, winter gales, the backdrop
to human effort, determination not just
to weave a way across a wild landscape
but doggedly excel in deed and thread and word.

Lumb’s hospitality is born of common aims,
witness walls garnering photos of poets long gone
and others writing now as though the need for words
were first and foremost in every enterprise.
And all the while Sylvia lies unburied in her grave,
inviting homage, daring us, ‘Write!’

© Janet Henderson October  2017


Iridescent swirling blues
circling down to an ocean's
Swim out,
look back
to steep, tree-clad coastline
with soaring towers flying
from azure-roofed villages
etched in turmeric stone
against dark pines
below a brilliant sky.

©Janet Henderson 12th February 2018

Sunday, 31 December 2017

Refiner's Fire

At this tail end of the year
there is debris to shed.
Like the evening's dying embers,
time falls silently, 
flaking into the grate
that cradles the year's final hours.

Moments of reverie
open into a quiet letting go 
of undone, unfinished,
un-embraced tasks,
letters not written,
friends not seen.

Transfiguring flames 
lick round regrets,
refining their contours
until nothing remains
save the empty place,
for the new year's fire. 

©Janet Henderson 31st December 2017 

Friday, 15 September 2017

Blog Sabbatical

Thank you to all who have read my poetry blog over the past couple of years. It is currently having a rest and I have removed most of the poems that have appeared here. I will be back in the New Year. Your comments and interaction have helped in shaping and revising many of those poems and I'm sincerely grateful for your contributions to the editing process. I'm also grateful to those of you who kindly allowed me to use your photos because they just caught the essence of something I was trying to say. Meanwhile, I'm looking forward to a week of intensive writing at Lumb Bank, Ted Hughes' former home in West Yorkshire.

Lumb Bank © The Old Bat

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Sorry; A Cross Shaped Word

Sorry, a cross-shaped word,

when spoken flippantly and overlooked,
'I brushed your sleeve, so sorry!'

when spoken to unlock hearts and turn away anger,
'I know I harmed you. Sorry.'

From where does its power come?
Its utterance does not wipe clean slates,
dry tears or right injustice,
merely unleashes a possibility,
'I was wrong in some respects,'
and reaches out to embrace 
across a gulf that otherwise remains 

© Janet Henderson July 2015