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    • Illuminating Longing
      Here is a shared experience from the night of the full ‘Strawberry  Moon’ on June 20th.  A warm evening after a wet morning promised the sight of Nightjars hunting, and the moon was a bonus, PLEASE CLICK ON THE ARROW BUTTON ABOVE TO HEAR THIS POEM   The mist quilt  slips across the sodden heath […]
    • Soon the Longing can begin
      Two days after the referendum, and still dazed by the result. PLEASE CLICK ON THE ARROW BUTTON ABOVE TO HEAR THIS POEM   Soon the longing can begin, but the awareness of our loss will take longer for all to own. Already the Young feel despair for they were closer to hope than the wrinkled, […]
    • Deleting Footnotes
      This poem recently was selected by Helen Ivory for appearance in the poetry webzine  ‘Ink, Sweat and Tears‘, it also appeared the the Suffolk Poetry Society’s magazine ‘Twelve Rivers’. PLEASE CLICK ON THE ARROW BUTTON ABOVE TO HEAR THIS POEM   You can never prepare for this task. It demands no passion in the wrecking, just […]
    • Entrance
      PLEASE CLICK ON THE ARROW BUTTON ABOVE TO HEAR THIS POEM   He glides the Hog to the sidewalk, blips the throttle then kills the big twin cam but not cleanly, the rig shakes twice with pre-ignition. Shit!  –  He hates when that happens, it spoils an entrance.   A creak of leathers and he’s […]
    • In its defence
      I was asked today to write about a hat! Please click on the arrow button above to hear this poem   The good thing is that it travels well. It has little style only patterned stitch work marks its drab coarse surface. Khaki cover for a nascent bald patch, a guard against the mid-day sun. […]
    • Voices in the Reeds
      The Blythburgh Estuary, such a wonderfully calm landscape, or is it?     PLEASE CLICK ON THE ARROW BUTTON ABOVE TO HEAR THIS POEM   The Blyth snakes down to the brine soothing our senses as it idly curls grazing  past  tall murmuring reeds, stirred to voice by a gentle breeze.   We mishear that […]
    • Spot the Hat
      This poem started in a session of poets writing together, with Michael Laskey and Dean Parkin. Dean produced a ‘Spot the Ball’ page from an old newspaper, and we all enjoyed marking our X.    We all missed!   PLEASE CLICK ON THE ARROW BUTTON ABOVE TO HEAR THIS POEM   Do you remember ‘Spot […]
    • A Sieve with no Mesh
      What madness is this, in old age — trying to rationalise your relationships as a child? PLEASE CLICK ON THE ARROW ABOVE TO HEAR THIS POEM   Skimmed  thoughts rise from lost time, flotsam — teasing incompleteness, fragments of fractured memories jigsaw pieces with no mapping image, random glimpses I sift for my father. Six […]
    • Black Friday
      Who considers this American import matches the idea of ‘Seasonal Goodwill’?   Black Friday, the official day to be suitably depressed by buyers and sellers greed. Not to be confused with The Black Death, but similar in effect.        
    • A Young Ornithologist’s Primer
      This poem was written after my wife Jean said that she would write a children’s book called ‘That Bastard Bird’   PLEASE CLICK ON THE ARROW BUTTON ABOVE TO HEAR THIS READ.   See the big bird. The big bird’s name is Percy. Percy has big feet. Percy’s big feet scratch in the garden. See […]

Illuminating Longing

Here is a shared experience from the night of the full ‘Strawberry  Moon’ on June 20th.  A warm evening after a wet morning promised the sight of Nightjars hunting, and the moon was a bonus,

Full moon rising over the heath. My photo.

Full moon rising over the heath. My photo.

PLEASE CLICK ON THE ARROW BUTTON ABOVE TO HEAR THIS POEM

 

The mist quilt  slips across the sodden heath

thickening at waist height in the cooling air.

Crepuscular  flyers land, unseen, then chirr.

Released from trees, the pink  rimmed moon

escapes the honeysuckle’s sweet embrace

as the longest day softly turns  its face.

 

Glistening  black slugs  feast safely on the grass

gaping Nightjar mouths only hunt emerging moths

incessantly and urgently, like seekers after truth.

We stand, elated statues, in their noiseless swirl.

Mystery is the sound of wing flap and chirring

Mood is the touch of the soft Moon’s lighting.

 

Reverie is shattered by unexpected harshness

Muntjac’s  distant barking shatters our cloister,

cuts through moving wisps draping drab heather

challenging our presence in the looming  darkness.

We leave towards the Moon as chirring diminishes,

a strange sense of longing gradually eases.

 

On Dunwich Beach  yearning returned.

Selene beamed down on layered shining clouds

lighting a pathway on the sea’s rippling road

right to our feet at the whispering surf’s  edge.

Transfixed by a  longing to walk  that invitation

but blocked at the border of  endless susurration.

 

Moonlight on water can illuminate our longings

intangible reflections  with no connection to meaning.

 

Full moon over the sea, June 20th. My photo

Full moon over the sea, June 20th. My photo

 

 

Soon the Longing can begin

Two days after the referendum, and still dazed by the result.

Ballot

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Soon the longing can begin,

but the awareness of our loss

will take longer for all to own.

Already the Young feel despair

for they were closer to hope

than the wrinkled, palsied hands

that signed away their future.

‘Another vote’ some already shout,

we only meant it as a protest.

 

Beware of what you wish for

is the plot line of Fairy Tales

but this is no child’s story

with a bed-time happy ending,

our wills are signed to the devil

with no request for safety.

You knew the devil’s in the detail,

but most have never studied.

 

One day after the count

and the lies begin to burst

No problem, bring more lies

there’s plenty here to smother facts.

This is the rite of clever soundbite

aggressive clowning and control.

You cannot see the sleight of tongue

professionals have practised well

and you simply wanted magic.

 

What if they never thought to win

but only meant to move the chairs?

Who is more frightened now

as all the cracks begin to show?

No one knows the magic words

to pacify the earthquake.

Now the longing can begin

for what we threw away.

 

Deleting Footnotes

This poem recently was selected by Helen Ivory for appearance in the poetry webzine  ‘Ink, Sweat and Tears‘, it also appeared the the Suffolk Poetry Society’s magazine ‘Twelve Rivers’.

keys

PLEASE CLICK ON THE ARROW BUTTON ABOVE TO HEAR THIS POEM

 

You can never prepare for this task.

It demands no passion in the wrecking,

just obliterating  all signals of existence

throughout your dead parents house.

  Read the full post »

Entrance

helmet

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He glides the Hog to the sidewalk,

blips the throttle then kills the big twin cam

but not cleanly, the rig shakes twice with pre-ignition.

Shit!  –  He hates when that happens, it spoils an entrance.

  Read the full post »

In its defence

I was asked today to write about a hat!

mantis

Please click on the arrow button above to hear this poem

 

The good thing is that it travels well.

It has little style

only patterned stitch work

marks its drab coarse surface.

Khaki cover for a nascent bald patch,

a guard against the mid-day sun.

Refuge and launch pad

for a Kalahari praying mantis,

shade for massive  locusts in Panama,

then offering minimal protection

in a Venezuelan downpour,

                               — but it travels well

                                                 and has been so far

that it always makes the case.

cricket-in-Venezuela

locusts

Voices in the Reeds

The Blythburgh Estuary, such a wonderfully calm landscape, or is it?

reeds   estuary-walk-2

PLEASE CLICK ON THE ARROW BUTTON ABOVE TO HEAR THIS POEM

 

The Blyth snakes down to the brine

soothing our senses as it idly curls

grazing  past  tall murmuring reeds,

stirred to voice by a gentle breeze.

 

We mishear that chafing whisper,

since Sixteen forty it has moaned

the cursed name of Sir Robert Brooke

                   –  for this is  Bloody Marsh.

  Read the full post »

Spot the Hat

This poem started in a session of poets writing together, with Michael Laskey and Dean Parkin. Dean produced a ‘Spot the Ball’ page from an old newspaper, and we all enjoyed marking our X.    We all missed!

 

trilby

PLEASE CLICK ON THE ARROW BUTTON ABOVE TO HEAR THIS POEM

 

Do you remember ‘Spot the Ball’?

Put your cross on the  photo,

 if it marks the hidden football

you win a prize.  I never won.

I am still looking for the hidden.

  Read the full post »

A Sieve with no Mesh

What madness is this, in old age — trying to rationalise your relationships as a child?

Meshless Sieves

PLEASE CLICK ON THE ARROW ABOVE TO HEAR THIS POEM

 

Skimmed  thoughts rise from lost time,

flotsam — teasing incompleteness,

fragments of fractured memories

jigsaw pieces with no mapping image,

random glimpses I sift for my father.

Read the full post »

Black Friday

Who considers this American import matches the idea of ‘Seasonal Goodwill’?

black

 

Black Friday,

the official day

to be suitably

depressed

by buyers and sellers

greed.

Not to be confused

with The Black Death,

but similar in effect.

 

 

 

 

A Young Ornithologist’s Primer

This poem was written after my wife Jean said that she would write a children’s book called ‘That Bastard Bird’

 

Percy on the terrace

Percy on the terrace

PLEASE CLICK ON THE ARROW BUTTON ABOVE TO HEAR THIS READ.

 

See the big bird.

The big bird’s name is Percy.

Percy has big feet.

Percy’s big feet scratch in the garden.

See Percy’s big beak.

Percy’s big beak pecks  in the garden.

Jean’s plants grow in the garden.

Percy eats Jean’s plants.

See Percy’s big pooh!

Jean steps in Percy’s pooh.

See Jean is angry.

Hear Jean say ‘That Bastard Peacock!’

Simple Joy (for Jacqui Jones interactive artwork at The Undercroft)

This poem is itself an interactive response.  Jacqui liked the reference to ‘simple joy’ in my poem Migration Counterpoint and decided that concept would be the subject matter of the interactive installation she was to display in The Undercroft in Norwich, for the 2015 Norwich Fringe Festival.  When she told me that I wrote and sent her this poem, which she then included in her work.

 The image, taken by my son of his son, illustrates perfectly the last line.

 

image by Rupert Murrell

Photo by Rupert Murrell

 

 

Events we cannot touch enrich our lives:

The smell of Philadelphus after rain

Curlews’ cry  in the estuary’s mouth

a wisp of wood smoke after snowfall

rippled light  on wind-blown water

laughter within a lover’s eyes

and a child’s sense of wonder.

 

Cycles of the Light

aldeburgh readers

SPS Poets who read that day

National Poetry day’s theme this year was Light, and Suffolk Poetry Society invited me to join some of the other members to read poetry and celebrate the day in Aldeburgh.  We took turns to read on the circular staircase of The South Lookout on Aldeburgh beach in perfect weather, warm sun with the light shining off the sea.  I ‘restructured’ two of my poems to be fully compliant to the day’s theme, and this one, Cycles of the Light,  emerged from the recent poem Migrant Counterpoint.

Colin Whyles, for Suffolk Poetry Society, recorded this event, and his video of me reading this poem is shown below.

 

 

Sunlight draws the crozier of each fern’s new uncurling,

a poised flexing these aching aging joints can only envy.

Do birds sense time’s passage migrating above deserts,

guided in  the featureless by  North’s magnetic presence?

 

 I try to cram each day with tasks, irrelevant peripherals,

stretching time that’s left, checking for signs of senescence.

The swoop shriek of returning swifts, like circling kids on bikes,

teases me that simple joy is now in very short supply.

 

In my autumn I seek assurance in cyclic tokens of the spring:

blackthorn’s first white blossom, siskins’ restless gathering

as the Northern dark shortens, drawing Southern migrants.

These endless cycles  ease the  fear of my light’s dimming .

 

Migration Counterpoint

Sandlines  ( www.breakingnewground.org.uk ) operated a series of writers workshops in The Brecks, to promote the rich variety of landscape, fauna and flora that can be found in this special landscape.  I took part in one, which was based in the BTO centre in Thetford, and led by Lois Williams and Melinda Appleby.    In spite of fairly constant rain the event was much enjoyed by all those taking part.  The key theme was ‘Migration’ and this poem found its first flight there, and has subsequently had its plumage smoothed.

This poem features in an anthology  of  poetry arising from those workshops, ‘Voices From The Brecks‘, which was  published by Sandlines in September 2015.

swifts

This poem was one that I read at the second Suffolk Poetry Festival at Stowmarket in May 2015

Ivor reading at the 2015 SPS Poetry Festival. Photo by Colin Whyles

Ivor reading at the May 2015 Suffolk Poetry Society Festival.Photo by Colin Whyles

 

Reading at Bury Apex

Reading at Bury Apex

Sue Wallace -Shaddad took this photo on January 14th 2016 of me reading this poem at the ‘Breaking New Ground’ celebration of the Breckland, in The Apex, Bury St Edmunds.

PLEASE CLICK ON THE ARROW ABOVE TO HEAR THIS POEM

 

 

In my autumn I seek assurance in cyclic tokens of the spring:

blackthorn’s first white blossom, siskins’ restless gathering,

leaving for the warming North, supplanted by southern migrants.

These endless cycles ease my fear of journey’s ending.

 

I try to cram each day with tasks, irrelevant peripherals,

stretching time that’s left, checking for signs of senescence.

Do birds sense time’s passage migrating above deserts, guided

through the featureless by  North’s magnetic presence?

 

What power draws the crozier of each fern’s new uncurling,

poised, a green flexing my elderly joints can only envy?

The swoop shriek of returning swifts, like circling kids on bikes,

teases me that simple joy is now in very short supply.

 

 

 

The anthology published by Sandlines

The anthology published by Sandlines

The moment before

No explanation is needed for this Haiku, its all in the image.

 

Photo by Rupert Murrell

Photo by Rupert Murrell

 

Wonder in a glass

where do you enter delight

the clean spoon hovers

 

 

Out of Order

A chance meeting gave me another dimension to our politicians’ crusade against welfare expenditure.

 

out of order sign, vector

 

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I find it difficult  to socialise when undressed.

Body image, lack of calcium when very young,

the dislike of goat’s milk  curving my spine.

I adjusted my towel, she seemed determined to talk.

First the cold sauna then the steam room’s dirty door,

she would complain discreetly,  because the staff  were good to her,

but being disabled with a reduced immune system

the dirt on the door was important .

I could have made a non-committed grunt

instead I praised her  considerate actions,

and thus the moment of evasion passed.

Read the full post »

Restoring Vintage — A Tanka for Rupert

I recently wrote this poem for my youngest son, Rupert.  He sent me this photograph after riding to the top of one of the hills on the Sussex Downs.

A Tanka  is an extension to the 5-7– 5 syllables of the Haiku, with two final lines of 7 syllables each that change  the direction of the poem.

 

Rupert

‘Selfie’ by Rupert Murrell

 

PLEASE CLICK ON THE ARROW BUTTON ABOVE TO HEAR THIS TANKA

 

Renewed, your old bike

takes you to the vantage point,

where you  see clearly

the joy that was, far below,

and the road to now follow.

 

Regeneration

Poems were requested on the subject of ‘Renewal’ to be read at the recent Suffolk Poetry Society’s AGM.  I wrote this poem for the event, but there were so many people wanting to read their work that I decided not to join the queue, and now show it here instead.

You can click on the image below ( from Professor Dennis E. Briggs’s definitive technical book   Malts and Malting ) to enlarge the images of  cross sections through a barley grain.

 

Cross sections through a corn of barley
Cross sections through a corn of barley

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A single barleycorn  sits on my hand

its Ventral Furrow matching palm’s crease,

turning it reveals a tiny bump

under the taut husk’s dorsal tip.

This blip, unnoticed by most,

is a miracle under protective cloaks

a sealed promise of an endless cycle,

the time-locked dormant Embryo.

Read the full post »

Artists model

Today I have had a new experience, which is always welcome at my age.  I sat as a life model for a group of artists.  

The last time I had my image sketched was by a ten minute street artist in Beijing in 1996 (see image below).  I am not sure my mother would have recognised me from this.

Ivor by Beijing street artist 1996

Ivor by Beijing street artist 1996

During the last session today with the artists  I formed this Haiku in my head, and then shared it with them:

 

Will your measured marks

unmask the sitter’s face or

 just lie on paper?

 

One of the artists, Stephen Curtis, later came back to me with some of his rough sketches of me, and his Haiku in reply:

Your Haiku still rests

as a disturbing challenge

to we who aspire.

 

And here is one of his aspirations, below:

Stephen Curtis sketch of Ivor March 2015

Stephen Curtis sketch of Ivor March 2015

 

 

 

 

Peregrine

 Jean and I were watching a murmuration of Starlings gather, about 6000 birds in two groups, when a Peregrine Falcon attacked the group I was videoing, first from the right, then from the left.  The effect on the Starlings was amazing, and here is a Tanka to celebrate that moment.

 Click on this link to see  that moment from the my video clip starlings at Minsmere

 

Head of a Falcon By Keven Law from Los Angeles, USA [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Head of a Falcon By Keven Law from Los Angeles, USA [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

 

Startle the murmur

leaf rustle of jewelled swirl

one will not be missed

your rush livens the ballet,

frenzied choreography.

Snipe

A walk in such a range of sunlight yesterday afternoon, when I was able to take some good photographs of Snipe feeding at the waters edge of Minsmere Mere.  Here is a Haiku with two photographs to share the moment.

Snipe-2   Snipe1

 

Probe stiletto, probe,

With soft tip like tiny lips

A kiss  before death.