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 Wordpress.com

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