Autumn in the Quarry
Among the stifled green of late September wild carrots are no more than dried-up nets, umbrellas of seed and fragrant herbs no more than smudges in the grass, the marjoram a rattle of dust. The deep maroon of dog- wood stands alone, the swart and shining fruit, like elderberries, tempting on the branch. The leaf’s pale scarlet underside’s a stained glass sunrise framed by ribs of fresh-cut stone. ‘Chack! Chack!’ The constant call of smart jackdaws who’ve lived among these rocks since who knows when and thrive despite the falcon’s yearly cull. Bright harebells, knapweed, yarrow, clover are in flower; rowan berries vie with rose hips for redness; speckled woods are still about. This field was full of orchids not so long ago but now is breathless, hushed and waits the autumn’s chill and long decline. ‘Chack! Chack!’
he notes the brambles’ early fruit,
young ash trees spearing everywhere.
His steps become more conscious now,
his heart is slowing to the pace
of ancient tracks when this was what
we did, the daily forage round.
He senses every breath of wind,
becomes more like himself again,
more Mesolithic one might say,
and hears the faintest notes of birds,
remembers as he goes along
the sites of hazel, crab and sloe,
accepts the wild fruit from the branch.
A Yorkshire Garden
The limestone bird bath stands coolly detached,
invites the sparrows to evening ablutions;
a nearby blackbird sings.
The roses cast carnelian light across the damp
stone slabs. Soft pink folds of geraniums
pillow the yard.
Lavender in neat lines enchants the passers-by
with whispers of Provence, the sleepy south,
and quiet pleasures.
Honeysuckle draws in moths, dipping down
the gathering gloom while bats flit through
the heavily-scented air.
Then a chamber orchestra of owls begins;
disturbing serenades, chilling fugues,
no easy cottage sleep.
Simon Fletcher’s widely published and is currently a ‘Poet on Loan’ in West Midland Libraries (ACE-funded). He runs monthly live literature events in Wolverhampton and Ironbridge, Telford. He also tutors for the WEA. Author of 4 poetry collections, his most recent, Close to Home, was published by Headland in 2015. http://www.simonfletcher.net