Blithe spirit

Sometimes I think the orchard
holds a spirit. Her bright presence
moving between the trees:
in spring, she brings the scent
of apple blossom, almost there,
and then in autumn she quickens
each fruit, makes it sweeter.
I’m fanciful. That’s my defence.

De (Whimsygizmo) is tending the bar tonight. It’s quadrille night at the dVerse poets’ pub, and we are using the word “spirit”.


Orchard:time – NaPoWriMo 3

I’m blossom-greedy, circling like a bee,
counting my chickens well before they hatch,

and, yes, the blossom – pink and white,
and the faint scent – sakura, yes, my sister

this time of year, I look for them,
the wildlings, litter-planted –

feed the soil, we say, and throw it
out the car window, tumbling down the bank –

the remnants of old orchards, standing
in suburban gardens, Orchard Avenue,

Meadow Grove, all those names recalling
the old farm, and the olden days.

We planted it 10 years ago, this orchard,
this small orchard, and it’s grown since then, added

my birthday Slack-ma-girdle, two small Bramleys
grafted for us. A sweet chestnut, in memoriam –

it was a raised fist, a defiance, an act of living
in our long, cold dying.

Come summer, we’ll be apple-greedy,
scrabbling for windfalls, peeling, chopping,

gloating over the Farmer’s Glory – sweet and heavy
on the branches, overwhelming –

by September, we’ll be glutted, gluttonous,
the whole house full of apple scent;

us and the wasps, reeling with sugar,
and the white star in Pomona’s heart;

October, we’ll have picked the last of them,
leaving just the topmost for the blackbirds

measuring time by our son’s reach –
he’s our climber, stretching highest –

January, we’ll survey them, prune them,
form the cup to catch the sunlight

that does all the magic. Yes, we’re pagan –
apples our religion.

Day 3 of NaPoWriMo, and I’m still here! Today we are asked to write a poem that covers a long period of time.

On the anxieties of owning an orchard – NaPoWriMo 4

And so we made it through March –

those late frosts, threatening –

and now the quince tree

is dreaming about leaves,

spring green, wax crayon.


My daughter’s upstairs,

studying for exams


I’ve walked down through

the orchard – they’re all there –

even the baby Bramleys are OK.

They’re on the brink

of blossoming.


We’re going to look

at prom dresses this week.


It will be bullfinches next,

apricot bellied, almost

forgiveable, stripping

the flowers on the

crab apple. I can only watch.


My daughter’s got a place

at college, for September.


And then the blackbirds,

those egg yolk yellow beaks

plunging and pecking

at the ripening fruit.


And me. Hovering

and flapping, like an

anxious angel, watching,

waiting, holding back.


Trusting their wisdom.


Day 4 of NaPoWriMo, and we are prompted to add specific details to our poem, to ground it in reality. NaPoWriMo 















Tree buds – haibun for dVerse

Before this final flurry of winter, I was starting to imagine a faint haze of green over the hedgerows, a softening of the winterdark of the bare twigs. It won’t be long before that green is definite, and spring starts unfurling and stretching out across the landscape.

Three weeks ago we planted two new apple trees, grafts from our old Bramley. One went in behind the barn, and one on the steep part of the field. Over the last few days we’ve had winds from the Baltic, temperatures dropping down well below zero, snow, and freezing rain. It’s a hard time to be an orchardist. Robert Frost’s been sitting on my shoulder, as his namesake stalks my orchard. If those tiny buds are lost or damaged, there’ll be no crop worth speaking of this year. All I can do is wait, and hope, and trust.

I can’t protect you
You choose your time to open
Tree-bud, small but strong

A haibun for Haibun Monday at dVerse. We are asked to consider tree-buds, and the powerful metaphors they bring with them. Thank you, Victoria, for a lovely prompt. 

NaPoWriMo 19 – a creation myth

The Orchard

I see her standing
in her orchard,
one small pip,
shiny brown, resting
in her right hand.

All around, the trees stretch out
as far as far, and there is birdsong
and the drowsy drone of sleepy wasps.

Apple trees don’t grow true from seed.
She knows this. And the fact
that you must plant 10,000 pips
to win the prize: a tree worth keeping –
an apple worth the eating.

So, she’s half laughing at herself,
but plants it anyway,
pressing it gently
into the nurturing soil.
Then waiting. She has time.

Warming it with the wild sunshine
of her joy. Watering it
with the soft raindrops of her love.

Dreaming that this could be the one
the tree that grows the perfect orb –
green flecked, and russet,
maybe clouded, wet with dew,
smelling of wholesomeness.

An apple to be held gently
and with respect – the flesh
of apples bruises easily –
an apple to be shared,
sweet as laughter,
with a tang of something longed for.
An apple to be loved.

I see her sitting, waiting,
in her orchard, patient
as eternity. Trees stretch out
all around. Blossom glints white
here, see, and there, shining
in the great darkness of infinity.

NaPoWriMo has reached day 19, and is asking for a creation myth. I hope this works as one.