How to … poems

Here are some characters who have been with me for a while… every now and again they tell me a new story. Below are the three I know so far.

How to Converse with Dragons I

In the vale I chanced to walk
And – as fate would have it –
‘Do you speak Stone?’
The hornbeam asked,
Sounding somewhat frazzled.
I stopped and stared,
And wondered to myself
How it could be that
Anybody would assume
That somebody speaks Tree.
This somebody, alas, was I
And clearly did I hear
The English Oak that stood nearby
Chuckling in my ear.

I frowned and spoke –
In Tree, it seems –
‘I’m really mighty sorry,
I don’t speak Stone but
I would ask what seems to be your worry.’
‘Haha’, the English Oak replied,
But the hornbeam grumbled,
‘It is a tiny stone beneath
My root which has me stunted.’
So I bent down to dig a bit,
And found the troubled root,
There underneath a stone lay hid
Which gladly I removed.

‘Kinds thanks to you’,
Said English Oak, while
Hornbeam was a-titter
With joy and mirth and
Frolicking his roots hither and thither.

I held the stone fast in my hand,
When I could feel it move.
Then open burst the pebble,
Which had me much amused.
A dragon coiled around my wrist
And snugly took abode
Half up my sleeve, half peeping out
Feeling quite at home.
While I still wondered at the beast,
It turned its shiny head and
Regarding me the creature said:
‘You’re good at Stone, I give you that,
But I shall teach you Dragon.’

© jsmorgane (Jan 2014)

How to Charm a Storm II

On a day I chanced to sit
Under Hornbeam in my mitts,
Looking out across the vale,
Sheltering from the howling gale,
Tightly wrapped in scarf and cloak,
Listening to English Oak
Who was humming merrily.

Hornbeam said: ‘Does that a lot,
I fear he might have lost the plot.’
Me (in Tree):
‘But don’t I hear a tuneless,
Yet somehow catching sound,
Rasping, crashing noises,
Swishing whispers, cymbals, gong?’
A strange duet it was,
As storm and tree began
To tell of holding close and letting go
Their voices joined in song.

English Oak made our day,
Deftly managed to allay,
To befriend the fearsome gale
Who presently began to play
Tag up there in the branches
Leading Dragon merry dances,
Who by then had left his home
Under Hornbeam’s root,
Having, frankly, quite a hoot
Chasing wayward waftings.

English Oak shook with laughter:
‘Oh it tickles! How delightful.’
Hornbeam (to me):
‘Now, what do you say to that?
I think we are duty-bound to add
Singing Wind to our odd
Language catalogue.’

©jsmorgane (Oct 2016)


How to make it snow III

Alone at home I chanced to sit
In my armchair by the fire,
Listening to our local choir
Practising across the yard.

Smoke is dancing up the chimney
Joining my old friend the wind
And together, sighing, swaying –
In Wind and Smoke they start to sing:
‘Warmest greetings from the valley,
Come and in our vigil join.
Winter might be long and bleak
But we promise you a treat.’

In my toes I feel a tingling,
I slowly start to sway and hum.
In response to my friends’ missive
I come up with a simple song:
‘Kind Hornbeam, English Oak and Dragon –
I sigh in Smoke – your invitation I accept,
And – now in Wind – will gladly make my way
Across the heath and down the vale.
I shall make haste without fail.’

The wind abates, the fire’s died down,
The embers hiss and glow, while I put on
My woolly socks, my thickest cloak and go
Out the door. Only to return and traipse back in.
I forgot (do that a lot) to leave a little note:
‘Dear Penny, I have gone to walk under the trees,
And visit Dragon in his cave. Shan’t be back late.
Be warm, be safe.’

Then I set off through yard and garden,
Field and heath and further down the vale,
Where English Oak and Hornbeam wait,
And dragon is asleep.
In Tree they greet me, branches weaving,
With rumbling, cracking sounds,
And I hear dragon stirring when the trees announce
That they have a surprise for me.

Sleepily, the dragon says, emerging from his cave:
‘Here underneath old Hornbeam’s root
Where I make my abode,
We hid for you, a gift for you,
A Yule log for good luck for you
From English Oak’s own limbs’,
The little dragon grins because
He knows that Dragon speak
Makes me feel weak in the knees
(It’s enchanting!)

Delighted, I accept my gift –
A precious one it is. I lean against
The oak tree’s trunk, close my eyes and
Breathe gratefully the fresh, pure air.
I hear the wind singing overhead,
While dragon’s in my pocket
Playing with my locket,
When unexpectedly a drop lands on my nose.

‘Tis Rain’, the hornbeam rumbles
And sudden raindrops tumble
Down from the sky and weave
Through the last few stubborn leaves.

‘Rain. When it ought to be snowing’, I mutter
To Dragon in disgust, who now sits on my shoulder.
He whispers: ‘You need to be much bolder!’
And in a voice as loud as he can muster
He makes a string of liquid sounds.
Amongst the rushing of the rain
I hear one tiny voice, then two,
Then three, then many, many more:
‘Good cheer! Be of good cheer! Cheer, cheer!’
Each drop speaks in a tiny voice –
It’s Rain I hear.

Then Dragon falls silent,
The wind holds his breath,
Both trees are waiting
And in the stillness
I hear myself saying:
‘Dear Rain! I’d really like to know
If you might possibly turn to snow?’
My command of Rain has clearly improved
Because a thousand tiny voices are moved
To answer: ‘We don’t do things by half – halves – halves!’
Which made all of us laugh.

So I bid adieu to Dragon, Hornbeam and to Oak,
Proudly cradling my yule log under my cloak.
Wind sang me a ditty to speed me on my way
And Smoke joined in whenever off the darkened path I strayed.
In such pleasant company, I made my way back home,
Where in the upstairs window a tiny lantern shone.
‘Penelope is home!’ I smiled, waving Smoke and Wind goodbye,
When the door opens and Penny,
Wreathed in light, stands beaming
In the doorway: ‘I thought I must be dreaming,
Or else your friends have taught you yet
Another language to bewitch the weather.’
Then we find ourselves saying together:
‘How magical! It’s snowing!’
And ice crystals are glowing
In Penny’s fiery hair.

©jsmorgane Dec 2017

Comments are closed.