West Park

The incredible show of blossom in West Park has been a constant source of pleasure on my recent, sunbathed, circuits as convalescent and eventually led to the following lines, written with one eye to a submission for Margaret Holbrook’s forthcoming collection, “Landscapes”.  Once I had this poem on the computer screen, I remembered that, back in December, 2015, I’d written a quite different account of the park, one frothing over with metaphor. It’s called “Christmas Eva, Christmas Rhos” and can be found posted on the blog 3 years ago. My vocabulary palette of colours seems to have shrivelled and drooped post-op.!

West Park

Flames leap from the azalea’s burning bush,

whilst rhododendrons’ more subtle blooms

smoulder, pale alba, pink and red,

and hint at long forgotten, distant,

snow-capped Himalayan peaks,

not Shuttlingsloe.


The whites and purples of the crocuses are a memory

and the daffodils have brazened and blazed where now

their dead heads shrivel and droop, but it’s time for

pink blossom confetti to carpet the park’s paths,

tempting the dog walker and the toddler, the jogger

and the convalescent to scuff and shuffle a shoe

or scoop whole handfuls and hurl them skywards

to celebrate the marriage of the seasons.


And the fragrance, delicate, almond-tinged,

its source elusive, bathes our senses

just feet away from bustling, busy roads.

White clad bowlers launch their ovals across the pristine green

towards that target jack, half watched, half-ignored,

by clumps of youngsters, ice-cream cones a-drip.

Sumer is icumen in. Lhude sing cuccu.*.


*Mid-thirteenth century round, author unknown.


Muguet (Lily of the Valley)

May Day is here and I couldn’t let it pass without poking my post-operative nose above the parapet, figuratively speaking. My double bypass at the BMI Alexandra was on April 15th., went well and, duly grateful to Mr. Balacumaraswami, I am back home after just a week and concentrating on the road to recovery.

For our neighbours south of Dover sprigs of “muguet” (lily of the valley) are offered for sale by the roadside on May 1st., a sign of the imminence of summer. The precocity of their seasons over ours is also reflected in showers being associated with the month of March, “les giboulées de mars”, rather than April. Whilst one swallow may not make a summer here, for the French its arrival does not make it Spring.  All this is a prelude to the offering of a post-op. 17 syllable “haiku”, whilst I try to tie in the Home Office Windrush scandal (red light for Amber Rudd and no May Poll dancing for the PM) into some form of verse. (I may spare you this as poetry muse still confined to bed).

green shawl bell tower,

lily of the valley peal

peeks out on May Day

Version II maybe mixes less metaphors

green walled bell tower

lily of the valley peal

rings out on May Day