Apple Tree Advantages

Like bright pink sails on a blue-green sea
My apple tree’s a sight to see
In blossom-time.
But loveliness
All trees possess:
My apple’s charms
I’ll count for you –
My apple tree can shelter me
On a drizzly day in May.
One bough supports a hammock
Where I sometimes lie all day;
Round silhouettes of green
Provoke a very pleasant dream;
Apples against a clear blue sky
Whisper a future Sunday pie.
In autumn too my apple tree
Gets lopped and gives sweet wood to me,
Then smoke like incense fills my home…
As visiting addicts cough and groan
Gleefully I pile on more
For nicotine we all deplore.
‘Change to applewood’ I say;
They haven’t yet but may one day.

Shelter, shade and beauty;
Wood warmth, scent and sound;
Sweet dreams in my hammock
Swinging high above the ground;
Gourmet meals in autumn;
Revenge on smoking friends –
The advantages of apple trees
Really have no end.
So thank you lovely apple tree
You fill my senses up
And me.


Woodlarks Day

Morning has Broken‘s endearing young charms
Fill up the senses and open the eyes.
Tents are unfastened and flapped up on top.
Breakfast-bound campers trip over the guys…
Liam and Lucy, Lizzy and Sam
Wake to the sounds of a camp summers day;
Sarah and Daisy , Izzy, Camille
Perform swift ablutions and enter the fray.

Sizzling sausages sing in the pan
As Liz cooks a breakfast to fill a wild beast.
Accents from Sussex and Scotland compete
With one from St. Lucia – an earful of feast.
The Poet of Pompey peels pans of pale spuds
While Michael and John saw long planks for the fire.
The lift on the ambulance whirs for a trip
To the river to battle with cygnets and mire…

– and float in small boats with a hole in one side
Hissing a descant in tune with the weir.
Guitar strums the chords for a campfire song –
“Honeybee buzz but do not sting my rear..”
Cammy’s addressing a snail on her tray-
“I love you.” It’s bashful and shrinks in its horns
Yamaha stutters in motorbike club
As evening approaches, engendering yawns..

– but only from helpers: the children are fine.
They’re joining in Roll the Ambulance song,
While flutterby cooks rack their brains for a rhyme
To propel their fat motorbike sidecar along
To the Butterfly Bash with a page 23
Short story as long as this camp ode times nine.
The rattling trolley descends to the sounds
Of music and dancing – an evening divine…

Woodlarks Camp, Surrey. 1995

Harold – June 1st 1995

Birdsong began
The last assembly for Mr Mann.
Sadly, the chances are
He was not there
To share
The chorus of the dawn,
The final hymn.
His body old,
Its tale all told,
Remained, waiting its rites –
‘Abide With Me’
And God Be In My Head,
A rose of white, for York
And one of red
For love.
His spirit?
Not above but all around;
In flowers on the empty table,
In letters of condolence,
In his old watch,
his stick,
His files,
His family, Brethren, friends
Remembered Mr Mann
And heard ‘A time to live;
A time to Die’.
For us
The chorus of the dawn
Will sound again.
A tree
In memory
Of Harold Rider Mann,
Will grow next Spring
In his old school
And harbour future birds
Who’ll sing
A hymn to praise another dawn.