Australia in a time of fire.

“We know everything there; the trees, animals, plants…It’s like a bush library for us”Djawa Timmy Burarrwanga “It’s just like a big book to us. This whole land. Now, over the years, people been taking – like tearing pages out of our book so there’s bits and pieces getting lost…”George Trevorrow “Life will cook; the seas…

Lost in the woods up the road

It is more than possible to lose yourself inside the wood. Not, of course, physically in a Hansel and Gretel way, more like released, albeit temporarily, from the cares of everyday life.

Often, from my favoured spot on a fallen trunk off one of the paths, I’ve become mesmerised trying to fathom a spectrum of different greens in the canopy, or below. Other times I’ve found myself drawn briefly into the busy lives of flies and midges, dancing in sunbeams, like miniature gold stars in a pool, a temporary insect galaxy.

The Keypad Thieves

Normally I send poems out to magazines and websites, before I put them on here, hoping an editor will take them, so it’s not only me who thinks there’s something in them. With this one, I have no idea where I’d send it, or what chance it would have – perhaps it would be seen…

A blog post that may take you somewhere else

I was recently asked by online literary journal Mono if I’d like to write a guest post for them on finding inspiration in the mundane. Regular readers of Richly Evocative can make up their own minds about why they might ask me to do such a thing… If you’re interested in reading the resulting short…

London Plane

This is a poem I shared on #TopTweetTuesday, an inclusive forum on Twitter for sharing poems every Tuesday – a lovely initiative from https://www.blackboughpoetry.com My ever-present, sleeve-tugging inner punster, almost had me call it Plainsong – but I resisted. It’s a familiar tree, though perhaps not as celebrated as some others. I actually prefer its…

Suddenly, a mini urban meadow

It’s easy to forget sometimes that “nature” isn’t always, or only, to be found somewhere else.  I was reminded of this with a visual jolt from a poppy this morning. On a road about five minutes’ walk away from mine, between the foot of the iron railings of a factory (makers of corrosion prevention and…

Where we going now?

At times I’ve found the last year reminiscent of my teenage years. All those extended periods of longing for something to happen, for life to get going, to have stuff to look forward to. All combined with often intense feelings of boredom and frustration; alleviated to various degrees through reading, listening to music or simply…

Amplified voices

Every Tuesday on Twitter, poetry publisher Black Bough, run by writer and poet Matthew M C Smith, hosts an all day sharing event called Top Tweet Tuesday. Using the hashtag #toptweettuesday, poets of all ages and backgrounds, from across the globe, are invited to tweet poems they’ve written, or boost those written by others. Each…

The opposite of page-turners

Recently, I’ve been thinking about the page-turner’s brooding sibling – what might be termed the chapter-jammer, perhaps, the leaf-stopper, the mind seizer, or more literally, the corner folder. 

Please don’t call it a blogiversary: lessons from a decade of blogging

If I could travel back in time to visit the me of ten years ago, when I started writing this blog, to tell myself that he/I would still be doing it a decade later, I doubt I would have been believed. That I would be writing this anniversary piece under the shadow of a global coronavirus pandemic, as the UK entered its third national lockdown in a year, would have been a greater surprise than the fact Richly Evocative was still going – but only slightly.

Making a mountain of Solsbury Hill

For a lover of hills, this small region of the country offers quite the range: steep hills, lone hills, round hills, hills with views of the sea, hills buzzed by kestrels, or patrolled by buzzards, internationally renowned hills with ruined churches on top, hills crowned by stands of trees, hills once topped by hill-forts, hills with winds that land a flurry of blows near the summit and hills disguised as city streets, with houses and shops groaning up and down their slopes.

At one end of the park

I like to start at the western end, off Finch Avenue. To get there, I walk over a railway bridge that looks nothing like a railway bridge, then before reaching the corner, hop up the low wall between a hawthorn and a young oak, and then like many others, cut across the desire path worn into the grass.

A view from the sink

At first glance, there’s not much to see. At second glance, not much more. There are two hedges either side of a gate, rectangular slabs of green, largely blocking sight of the road beyond. They’re a little raggedy, but provide a popular skulking place for the local Dunnock; especially the hedge on the left, technically forsythia, but mostly serving as a framework for ivy. Though currently, scruffy spears are poking up, dotted with those cheerfully in-your-face lemon yellow flowers.

Handles

I never considered handles before this,  never wondered who’d held my borrowed basket last filled it, gripped it tight, placed it back neat or abandoned by checkout,  unsettling us in its eerie. Didn’t ask, didn’t wonder what those hands did, who they touched waved slapped caressed, ever so tender. Did they stare at the milk…

Australia in a time of fire.

Always there was something to take pleasure in seeing, always the ongoing news of fires, along with smoke haze and smells of distant burning, gave a constant reminder that nothing could be taken for granted. I’d notice something and point it out to the children, then privately wonder whether that species of bird, or fish, or plant would still be here if, one day in the future, the boys ever came back. Every sighting might be a farewell.

In a green place: Hebers Ghyll, Ilkley

It’s a strange thing to walk into someone else’s memories; especially those that have been woven and tangled about a place. A place that you’ve heard about, but never visited. Somewhere that means a great deal to the person who told you about it, but for you, who’s never been, it retains the status of a rumour.

A place on the shelf 2: The Great Ghost Rescue

For the young me, the ghost stories and folklore of Britain had a powerful effect. Odd to think of it now, but reading about the dead as a child, brought the wider world to a rich and vivid life.

Out there, it seemed, was a land, far older, stranger and deeper than my limited experience. A world where multiple layers of history could still be seen, or felt, not only in old houses, ruined castles and abbeys, but also in and around more ordinary sites such as shops, factories, pubs and suburban streets.

Wandling Free?

Surrounding the wall, stubby ash and elephantine coils of Cherry Laurel gave a writhing border to the site, which, just for a moment, became an abandoned sacred grove. For some reason – the unnatural quiet perhaps – the spot felt like a Celtic ‘Thin Place’, or more accurately a broken thin place, as here it seemed, any doorway to the eternal world had been blocked by litter and forgotten.