Thursday, 31 December 2015

Happy New Year to Everyone ....

..... Sadly, no snow for us this Christmas., or New Year!  
I have a sledge for the grandchildren, which has not been in use for at least two years. We are promised a cold snap in February, so here's hoping,and now for a snowy poem...........

Boxing Day – Nonsuch Park

We conjured up the long lost sounds
Of Henry hunting here with hounds,
Across the oak-edged rolling fields
Once ranged by stag and gentle hind

Gone are the herds of roaming deer,
The flying manes and glittering eye.
No hunting horns blow sharp and clear,
Yet still we love to walk through here.

Today the ice gleams on the trees,
The fields flow silver like the sea,
And larches softly drape their boughs
With lace of frosted filigree.

Above the dense, dark wooded hills,
The pale moon lies in turquoise sky.
Caught in time we stare, quite still
                                  at parakeets with rosy bills.
Sue Burley

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Might this be God…?

Could this be God then,
          when the rugged old oak
splashes rain on my head?

Or when the brisk wind
            snatches at my hair
and lifts the load from my back?

Might this be God then
            when the lime tree scatters
the earth with luminous yellow hearts?

Or when the scarlet rose hips
            glossy with dew, spread
the power of peace within me?

Could this truly be God then
          when wind, leaves, earth and rain
create in me this happiness?

©Sue Burley

Friday, 30 October 2015

At St. John's Church, here at home, Remembrance Day is kept on the nearest Sunday, (this year, the 8th November.)  After the service, prayers are said at the war memorial for the fallen of all nations throughout the world.
This is also the same day as the Act of Remembrance which takes place at The Cenotaph, Whitehall in Central London.
Of course, the official day is 11th November every year....

Here is my own poem in tribute ...............

Remembrance Day

A soft grey day                                                     
on the cusp of winter chill.                                              
Fallen leaves, fragments underfoot -                                
crushed frail wings of Speckled Wood;                  
and shy moorhens dipping red shields
backpedal against the charging stream.                            

The glowing bonfire’s heaving heart
aims smoking tracers to the ashen sky.
Bitter drops of hawthorne’s vivid blood
flood the hedgerows; a heron waits -                     
and by the church scarlet poppies                                   
lie entrenched with pale crosses.                                     

From Hyde Park cannon boom
                                 fracturing the still air.

© Sue Burley

 Published in 'Reach Poetry',
November, 2015; issue 105

                                                                                'The Fens', 6 Acre Meadow,
                                                                               near St John the Baptist, Old Malden

Thursday, 10 September 2015

... we are off to Swanage, Dorset on Saturday, and as I haven't  managed to write anything new, here are a couple of my photos of  'Woody Nightshade', which kindly grows over my trellis by the potting bench...


This is a beautiful  climber, but beware, the berries are poisonous, and can cause sickness!!

Saturday, 22 August 2015

...  We have recently been blessed by a second grandson, a welcome addition to our family.  He is now six weeks old and the first child for my son and his wife. 

...  It made me think of the poem I wrote when our first granchild was born.  She is now 10 years old! How time flies ..........

Hungry Baby
         (for Rose)

I pick the baby
from her mother’s arms,
her peachy cheek
colliding with mine.
Milk rimmed, her puckered mouth
still fiercely sucks
rooted to my neck.
Slate grey eyes open
in puzzlement; fists worry.

Her head bumps my shoulder
like soft fruit falling
to earth, face crumpling
in berry-red rage.

© Sue Burley
Revised 2010


Wednesday, 24 June 2015

The Ribwort Plantain


(Nonsuch Park, Summer 2015)

Unassuming, most lowly of plants
edged out by the dazzle of buttercups,
the startling white of campion.

A survivor, not showy but strong,
a  stayer pushing up drab flowers        
from a rosette of speared leaves.

Accordingly, drives down tough roots,    
colonising field margins, hemming
path edges, mingling in meadows.

So, here it is - rashly consorting
with silken poppies, showy orchids,
the dancing grasses, red clover -
but not to be outdone, unwraps
an ethereal halo, a fragile wreath
of creamy anthers  -  its surprise package.

Sue Burley


Wednesday, 17 June 2015

.............. Now that it is nearing mid-summer, and the wild flowers are luxuriant and colourful, the insects are out in abundance.
One of my favourites is the Hover Fly, which true to its name hangs above any plant. And even when reading in the garden, often can be seen from the corner of ones eye, darting one way then the other.

The Hover Fly

Only when the sun shines
the hover fly, tiger striped

Then, friendly, in your face,
                                         homes in
quietly hums and hangs
in mid-air
except for the glimmer of wings.

Without due warning freefalls
and plummets
on an invisible current
                                          of air.

Crashlands on the meadowsweet
                                           to feed.

Sue Burley

'The Hover Fly', is published in the Summer 2015
issue of 'The Dawntreader' poetry  magazine.

Saturday, 2 May 2015

...... Whilst we are lingering at the start of May waiting for warm summer days, here is a poem I wrote in Croyde, North Devon.  The surfy sea, the dunes and the beautiful, bracing cliff walks - all ingrained in my memory.

It transports me back to family holidays and what happened in the tiny garden of our chalet one evening.......


Pale moth wings flicker on the lamp.
Outside the blackbirds chink danger –
their distress so great, I at last step
into the warm smother of dusk.

It is his legs I glimpse first,
gleaming yellow in the half-light.
My eye holds his of glinting jet;
feathers fringe a sickled beak.

I do not know who is most afraid,
yet it is me who backs away -
and the stand-off is broken
as he takes flight, wings whispering,
talons gripping the lifeless prey,
ashy feathers floating in his wake.

Sue Burley
Published in  "Reach Poetry ", May 2017


Sunday, 26 April 2015

...................this is our new Crab Apple tree flowering beautifully in its first Spring!  It was planted to fill a huge gap in our neighbour's garden, when they had to take down an old Twisted Willow.
And as an added bonus, the leaves will turn a stunning red-gold in the  autumn when the fruit will ripen and feed the birds in winter.  (photos by Graham)


                                                            Primroses in a Kentish hedgerow, photo by Cassy

Saturday, 21 March 2015

When the Rain Stops

The relentless rain slows, so
I look up just as the sun flares
and silvers the tiled rooftops.

Gleaming bright, a lofty convoy 
of cloud sails in from the north
across the vast ocean that is sky;

then white hot sun, aims slanting rays
dazzling through the windows,
spangling the raindrops in liquid fire.
But what I’d like to know is,                         
whether the robin which sings at night              
under the pitiless glare of street lights   
is singing now,
               just for the glory of great open skies.

Sue Burley 2015