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Writings and Witterings


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Under the Cloak of Winter

‘…under the cloak of winter lies a miracle’ Barbara Winkler

Beneath elegant beech trees,
pause at pillows of moss
until a coracle’s in view.

Not yet in the water,
a boat is waiting.

Step in
and settle
on striped animal hide.

Mist wraps and rises,
all else is still.

Peace falls.

No swallows, no lilies, no damselflies.
Nothing moves.

Silence stirs
and the fagus listen to a promise
heightening in the haze.

Under the cloak of winter
changes occur;
drift with the current.

You will row again,
energy restored,
as the season shifts.

Polly Stretton © 2020


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New Year’s Day

At New Year
we stood in the back garden
watched sparkles and flares,
listened to the bangs and screeches
of city and county fireworks.
No scent of cordite marred or jarred
the sweet rural air.
Nothing destroyed the calm of the countryside,
the homes of small animals and birds.
No sky lanterns polluted the night.

We reflected on 2020
—the Covid year—
we’re glad to see the back of it.
This brand new year will be better,
it can’t be worse, we decided.

We thought of dear friends and family,
of lost friends, and unhappy families,
of the marvellous NHS;
of sights previously unseen.
We thought of unthought-of happenings
and poor planning
that made last year dire.

Despite all, we are still human
and so, full of hope.
No breath of snow whispered past.
A touch of frost tweaked noses and toes,
confirmed life.

No matter what, the ceiling
of the country always celebrates
time, people, purpose.
We stood in the back garden
and sipped spiced hot wine.

Polly Stretton © 2021