Before you go —
I give you walks through woods,
the crisp of tiny feet on leaves
in chase of squirrels,
toadstools you said were fairy rings,
how so many wild things
watched us, unseen,
your song of bunnies safe asleep
from Jack Frost and Billy Wind,
and how I should do the same.
I give your tracks in gorse,
golf ball finds,
a sudden flap of crows.
Pools, heath-land streams, and how
you could stand in the middle of it all
and not see a city anywhere.
I give you the beacon
and wary streets remembering
your boots on the beat in all weathers —
and where the family sleeps with flowers,
and voices and faces,
and digging the summer garden.
How you chopped down the old trees,
how your new Japanese Cherries blossomed,
just before you had to leave them.
Kathryn Alderman was an actor before motherhood. She won Canon Poets’ ‘Sonnet or Not’ (2012), was runner-up Gloucestershire Writers’ Network Competition (2012) and now co-directs the competition www.facebook.com/groups/GlosWriters
Publication includes Amaryllis, Canon’s Mouth, Dear World (Frosted Fire Press, 2014), Salt on the Wind(ElephantsFootprint 2015). Readings: BBC Radio 4; Cheltenham Literary and Poetry Festivals; Poetry Can Bristol, Cheltenham’s Buzzwords; Poetry Café Refreshed and with Cheltenham Poetry Festival’s ‘Festival Players’. Kathryn’s family are herded around Gloucester by enthusiastic Border collie, Isla. Her lovely Dad Frank, aged 91yrs, says being old isn’t great, but it definitely beats the alternative.
Frank Hurlbutt with Cherry Blossom