Tuesday

river 2012 - 31

straightfalling rain both water and ice

With many thanks to Fiona and Kaspa for the inspiration and encouragement this month.

Sunday

river 2012 - 29

edge of sleep
turning the pillow
for the cold side

Saturday

river 2012 - 28

winter sunshine
the neighbour's pigeons
rise as one

Friday

river 2012 -27

the setting sun fires
the edges of storm clouds
over the sea

home-made soup
before I leave

river 2012 - 26

one of those days:
my great nephew asks me
if I'm a girl or a boy

Wednesday

river 2012 - 25

the old stories we find
along the banks of the wild brook
leaf-mulch, fresh rain

Tuesday

river 2012 - 24

driving the kids to school:
even in all this rain I can't compete
with Flo and Ramone

Monday

river 2012 - 23

The metal detector man shows me his haul: 10p, 50p, some batteries, a hard lump of rock. 'And my mate found the 50p when I gave him a go,' he says. I am looking for treasure myself - the memory from my childhood of a wreck at the Ferry Bend. Mostly we never made it to the point where the River Neath divides the land, mostly we were distracted by the sand dunes, the carpets of shells, or we decided it was too far to walk anyway and turned back. Maybe there was never a wreck. There isn't today. But there is still treasure here.

Sunday

river 2012 - 22

another restless night...
the dunes wind-carved
into slides and hollows

Saturday

river 2012 - 21

the smell of fresh laundry
at what's left of the old hospital wall

a seagull dancing
on the grass in Vivian Park

the sun wrapped in cloud
one minute and free the next

even in the cold face of the wind
laughter and the smell of the sea

Friday

river 2012 - 20

Some things don't change: the sound of the sea from a street away, a screech of seagull, the broken walls around some houses on the bend in the road. How I have started counting my steps to see how many it takes to get to school.

Some things change: the locked doors of the school, the posters in Welsh, the rise and fall of its syllables in the corridors, the mothers on the floor of the hall with their babies for free Language and Play.

Some things don't change: the little boy in Nursery who hugs the Headmistress's legs when she walks past.

Thursday

river 2012 - 19

home to Wales -
each time I check
the bend in the track
I'm sure I glimpse the train

Wednesday

river 2012 - 18

Rain overnight and this morning
not a crackle of frost on the trees
or along the kerb around the yard
only a mist of grey above
and between the bare branches.

I miss the hills, the green roll
of them swallowed by cloud.
The day is too soft for clear thought.

Tuesday

river 2012 - 17

Last night I played hide and seek with the cat. I know, it sounds like something you might hear in group therapy: My name is Lynne and I'm a cataholic. Play isn't a big enough part of our lives as we get older. Not playing games to win, but play that has no end result, no goal, beyond the enjoyment of the moment. Some people might call it silliness.  Silly, from the Middle English 'sely' or 'seely' meaning 'happy'. Want to do something silly today?

Monday

river 2012 - 16

sunrise
the apple trees
cloaked with frost

a stranger talks to me
about his father

Sunday

river 2012 - 15

Sunday morning
a sunlit patch of frost
in my neighbour's field

the first cup of tea
taken back upstairs
to bed and a book

iconography:
the symbolism
of things and images

a day of slowness
and perhaps a little
enlightenment

Saturday

river 2012 - 14

Synchronicity means while I am thinking about pancakes upstairs in bed, you are downstairs whisking up the batter.

27 years together
you show me your
pneumatic drill impression
for the first time

Lemon and sugar, butter and sugar. Good days start like this.

Friday

river 2012 - 13

You could begin with the sky
hazy with sunlight and a shimmer of cloud,
a slate roof skimmed with frost.
A red, or green or blue front door, perhaps
a carpet of fresh moss, a flower you wouldn't expect
in winter. And woodsmoke. Or the sea
peaked with foam. A good book. Conjure
the things that lead you home.

Thursday

river 2012 - 12

Absence

When the morning doesn't fit, when I seem to be missing the lid of the jigsaw box that holds the pieces of my day, I leave the house and walk through the orchard to the row of leylandii and look at the depressions in the dusty ground beneath them where I'm sure the wild pheasants nestle during the day, even though I only know them from claw marks left in the dusty earth, that my hand never finds a trace of warmth in the shallow bowls, not even a feather.

Some days I catch a glimpse of them – the males barred bright gold and brown, their red wattles, the mottled females – skittering between the rows of apple trees, always keeping a distance. How could they trust us after all this time?

I startled them once, in the farmyard when I opened the back door, a dozen or more of them taking flight at the sound then sight of me: the whirr of wings loud enough to make me step back suddenly, alarm mixed with delight, flashes of green and purple returning to me at moments for the rest of that day, like a charge to the heart.


Wednesday

river 2012 - 11

Do christmas cards count as cardboard or as paper recycling? Should they be in the green box, with the cans, or in the green bin with the cardboard packaging? It is sunrise. Through the winter trees the village looks like it could be on fire and the rest of us are watching in the dark. I decide on the green box. Part of me thinks, 'what does it matter?' while another part wants to get it right, this little thing that feeds into the bigger picture, the world beyond my life in this house where I feel safe.

Tuesday

river 2012 - 10

37 years ago I cried when my sister got married and left home. For fifteen years she'd slept on the other side of the room from me. We'd hit each other with hangers and hairbrushes. I'd hidden behind the door of our bedroom to jump out and frighten her when she wandered back from the bathroom at night. She called me 'child' to annoy me. And now she was leaving and becoming a wife. In wedding speeches the fathers of the bride and groom talk about gaining a son, a daughter. But all I knew was that I was losing my sister.

mobile blackspot
I sing happy birthday to my sister
in the middle of a farmyard

Monday

river 2012 - 9

Not a leaf remains on the apple trees in the orchard. We have used the last of the cherry wood on the fire. Last night we watched a movie about a man who could travel through time. Already the days are getting longer. The new year is pretty much like the old year when I remember to notice it. Today I feel lucky.

Sunday

river 2012 - 8

new bookshelves
the poetry my cat finds
in an empty box

Saturday

river 2012 - 7

Dream date

It's not going to work between me and Gerard Butler despite the way he hugs me, rocks me with his enthusiasm, his smile. Even though he turns away his ex-girlfriend who turns up in a gold lamé negligee. Even though he has a male assistant called Mitzi with a bald head.

He has four dogs. He feeds them on broken biscuits and crackers. His house is a warren of tunnels and secret doors. And the forest fire is getting closer, flames wrapping the hillside, running down towards the edge of the lake, which may save us, or may not. His father was Spanish, he says quietly as we leave the house with only a picnic basket.

new year
a dead conifer leans
across the lane

Friday

river 2012 - 6

after the storm
a squeeze of sunlight
through the bare trees
I salute a magpie

Thursday

river 2012 - 5

all night high winds,
the slap of rain, flower pots
rolling along the drive, a spruce
brought down in the orchard -

we believe we are safe
behind brick and glass, under tiles,
but in a small corner of our minds
we imagine the roof lifting, the wind 

scattering the patterns of  our lives
across the Downs, practicing, maybe,
for a time when we'll have to let go.

Wednesday

river 2012 - 4

first week in january
happy with the woodpile's
weight loss

Tuesday

river 2012 - 3

The people we sold the house too have lifted off the plaster on the far wall of the first floor and uncovered a section of a painted medieval wall beneath. I always knew it was there and don’t know why we didn’t do the same. But I am pleased to see it exposed now, the past rising into the present, keeping us company.

The dream is easy to interpret: I have a book to write about my hometown in South Wales. The photographs I take are the top layers of stories: at home I lift off each skin and slip deeper into other people’s lives. But I am slipping deeper into myself too: things half remembered, roads not taken.

so many questions
the wind whistles
in the wooden eaves

Monday

river 2012 - 2

last day of the holiday
the glass monkey
slips off the tree

time to hide
the unopened chocolates

Sunday

river 2012 - 1

new year
heat from the embers
of last year's fire