Gentle waves surrounded the sandy shore
Beneath a cerulean sky
With tiny creamy clouds.
White boat bounced in the sheltered bay
Affront the nearest hills of Bryher.
We were the only people there.
It was tranquil; it was beauty to our eyes.
Such peace is precious
In a busy world.
I breathe deeply and I sigh
As I remember the day.
Stopping to look in a window
Is the child’s way of dreaming
Of things that might be
At the foot of the bed tomorrow.
The list was sent to who knows where,
And wishes made known to all.
Have they listened, these bringers of bounty?
Will they satisfy on Christmas Day?
Glinting bangles, snuggly scarves, the latest toy?
Or a game to play with mum and dad?
A football, a dressing doll, a box of paints?
The window confronts eyes that desire.
Not only children think this way,
For surprises are a treat for us all,
A way for love to be shown,
And flashes of happiness in winter.
Sleep comes slowly this night.
The savour of the morrow
Takes its toll on all
Who give or receive the gifts.
But then it’s five o’clock!
Time to see what’s there
Inside the teasing paper and ribbon.
Yes! I knew they would.
Heart’s desires content for the moment,
The child is happy and glad
That Christmas is here once more,
And of course there are presents to give.
Walking in winter through empty streets
In greyness and bitter cold,
The sound of frost and smell of mould
Swell from our dragging feet.
We came deep of dreams and buoyant faith
From the glory of August sun.
But the ice hangs thick, so fire anyone?
To warm us by hotel hearth.
Buying is off in the desolate roads;
The keepers are all at home.
Windows are bare and lights succumb
To the torpor of New Year shrouds.
Breakfast is done: we must venture out
From the heat of our small bedroom
Into the biting wind and the gloom
And the blackness that makes us doubt
Of wisdom and thoughts that this would work,
Desires and pleasures seemed real.
But reality has a definite feel
As we make our way through the murk.
Three days seem so long as we shiver and shake,
In the freeze and the blast of the east.
Much seeking for warmth, found somewhere at last,
We have tea every hour with helpings of cake.
One night to go, and home we will drive
With memories a plenty to store,
And the ice left behind on the Suffolk shore
Where others will come half alive.
Season of mists and squashed crab apples,
Shortened days and threatened cold,
Harvest time in ancient chapels.
Fallen leaves with shades of red,
Trees soon bare against the sky,
Early frost may spring instead.
Berries bloom and bring some brightness
To the hedges and the gardens,
Gladden hearts with such awareness
Of the time of fruitful labour,
Wrought by those whose task is this:
Bring in the bounty of the grower.
Fires to light, more warmth is needed,
Clothes are thicker ‘gainst the frost,
Winter’s coming, be not misled.
Thanks for summer, now delight in
Autumn’s fancies and the firelight
Now among us for the season.
The clocks go back tonight
And bring finality to summer’s long days.
What shall I do in the winter darkness
But paint and read and enjoy my home
And my friends of many years.
Those from heat-bound places
Say they envy us our seasons
Of switching cold and warmth
For it is true variety.
Tomorrow’s morn will be lighter
But oh the evening’s darker still;
Curtains drawn at four thirty
And the lights turned on.
Shall I desire next summer’s fast approach?
No, for that would be an end of half my life.
To find enjoyment in the coldness of winter
Will be my aim and source of content.