#autumnfall Please join Chris Husband, Ronnie Goodyear and myself in marking autumn with your own work. I will feature your published/unpublished poetry/short prose/artworks about autumn/fall. Please include a short third person bio.

Autumn Fall

November 9th 2016
(after the announcement of the US election results)

Marking the fields, a broken ribcage of stone
hefts under a thin white fleece. Potholes
along the track are traps of milky slip covers.

I walk along the crisp white lane, wishing
to emboss my prints on unblemished snow.
Before long, I pass an avenue of trees div

iding two fields. I hear a chittering, whisperings,
a susurration from the beech trees who never
shed their brittle leaves even in the slight hand of breeze.

Dripping snowmelt flows through the branches
in conversation about the news they do not understand
– their knowledge limited to this field, on this

piece of earth, under this sky. To my measuring eye,
of height and girth, they have been here a hundred years
or more, shedding their seeds, bearing their snow-loads,

stretching up and out, broadcasting
their one view to an unknown world. I listen to them
telling of time and place and moment

-Ali Lock

On the Subject of Building Walls
(for Julie)

It’s not the kind of wall to stop you or your kin
from crossing to the other side.
It is the kind of wall that will halt you in your
tracks, because of the art of diplomacy.

Take a pair of woman’s hands: fine, long-fingered,
bones brittle but supple in deftness and kindness.
See how she takes the spade, digs the trench,
cuts through the soil to lay foundations.

How she lingers over every stone, its shape,
whether scarred, or scabbed with lichen crusts.
How she imagines each unique rock
expelled from the unstilled bedrock, understanding

the years of their standing in the weathering
ways of sun and storm and dreich, or laden,
rain-heavy, at the bottom of the garden where
the couch grass snakes its wiry roots.

She will separate each rock, large to one side,
small to the other, take a chisel and a hammer
to splice, to cut those tiny odd-shaped pieces
– they will do for the infill. Every stone,

its patina mottled or smooth, will have a place
in this woman’s wall, as will every easy-to-nest rock.
A wall is built one stone by one stone,
fitting in with the neighbours on all sides

-Ali Lock

Watching the Flames at the Village Bonfire

At the waxing of the Hunter’s Moon we are firefly
dancing until brazed. We will retreat,
faint shadows rejoicing in the final cry.

At the passing of months, our souls to fortify,
we light the pyre of memories bittersweet;
at the waxing of the Hunter’s Moon we are firefly.

At our backs the chill of the hoar frost is close by,
ready to strike the land in a flash, a beat,
faint shadows rejoicing in the final cry.

The cinders are stars, constellations drift by
the peel of the moon, a crescent of sleet;
at the waxing of the Hunter’s Moon we are firefly.

A silver birch bears witness under a leafless sky,
emboldened before the flaming fleet,
faint shadows rejoicing in the final cry.

As we carry the light into the new day,
the winter’s curse we will unseat.
At the waxing of the Hunter’s Moon we are firefly,
faint shadows rejoicing in the final cry.

-Ali Lock

In the Dying Light

The finger ends of each day are stretching under the blankets of leaves releasing the scents of the woodland floor; autumnal. The horse chestnut opens its spiky, green buds, splitting apart but firmly clasped until the point of perfect ripeness – and I am there, again – with my three small boys collecting conkers, filling our pockets, using our jumpers for baskets. The older one tests for solidity, biting for hardness, seeking a champion; the middle one looks for the shiniest, the golden jewel; while the younger one kicks up the earth, lifts bundles of leaves into the air, scattering, yelling with delight. Then the young ones chase after their brother, both wanting the very one he has just pocketed. There’s a scuffle, a scrabble, a rolling around, a fight. Hey, look at what I’ve found! I say. Distracted from the battle, they run over to me. I show them the perfect case, newly split, the birth of a marbled pair – twin conkers.
A pinwheel spinning I dance I sing I glow ecstasy of light

Huddersfield Narrow Canal: Lock 26

Slippery, mud-puddled,
we walk along the stone edge of the cut, one foot at a time.
I clasp my sons’ hands,
one in front, one behind. We cross over by the bridge
to the lock, stand at the edge watching
the sturdy shutters strain and leak.
Dark mossy walls. The scent of green.

West Nab

Along the girth of West Nab,
on a stretchmark of road,
by the home of the rocking stones, there’s a silhouette of a roost
against a limpid sky. Spots of lichen
bloom on stone walls, the border
-lands where the wild winds
have broken the green-stick backs of the trees.
Ruffled by each passing motor, by the roll
of a wheel, the wing of a grouse
is stitched to the tarmac on a weft of
bronze plumage – a wreath to one slain on the camber.

-Ali Lock (All poems from her Revealing the Odour of Earth (2017), Calder Valley Poetry.

available here: https://caldervalleypoetry.com/revealing-the-odour-of-earth-alison-lock/


Creeping Season 

Slowly, quietly the days creep forward
The nights darken with ever faster depth
What were skies of varying shades
Suddenly deepest navy or ink black
That nothing can penetrate.
The chill in the air passing through sunshine
As everyone remarks on Autumn’s arrival
Pulling a coat about them for warmth
The fire set to warm their bones
As they wonder if it’s too soon, just yet.
Walking they see the leaves a justification
As greens have scattered to jewels
Rubies among the rubbish the child kicks
Playing in a park where everything crackles
And the only thing growing are toadstools.
The luscious promises that autumn gives
A whisper of leaves on breezes
The words called down since forever
Saying that everything will begin again
If we but only wait patiently.

(Written for @Paul Brookes Autumn poetry challenge)

In Autumn

Folded boats of pink almond leaf
float down pavements in the wind.

Bright coins jink and shuffle
in the pockets of the beech,

The horse chestnut frees
a last enormous leaf

which settles on the ground,
an upturned hand

open to anything.

-Gill McEvoy

Season’s Janitor

Autumn, you are the last staging post on the journey from
light to dark,
warm to cool
The janitor clearing up after the Summer party
wrapping the trees with your golden protection,
acclimatising for the oncoming frost and
chasing life into hibernation
occasionally affording glimpses of what was
and what is yet to come.
Our unsung hero living between the leviathans of Summer and Winter,
the saviour of Nature’s faculties which Spring will resurrect.
Autumn, you have a vital task to perform,
and you do it with alacrity

-Chris Husband 2022 (From his self-published collection “Chips for Tea and other 10 minute Tweets” )

Renaissance and truth by Ronnie Goodyear

-Ronnie Goodyear

Bios And Links

-Alison Lock

writes poetry, short fiction, and creative non-fiction. Her work has been published in many literary magazines, and broadcast on BBC Radio 3. Her latest poetry collection is Unfurling (2022) Palewell Press. Her work focuses on the relationship of humans and the environment, connecting an inner world with a love of nature through poetry and prose. 

-Chris Husband

is a (nearly!) sixty-year-old poet. Author of the poetry collection “Chips for Tea and other 10-minute Tweets” published on Amazon.

He lives and works in East Lancashire and is married with children and grand-children to use as inspiration.

-Ronnie Goodyear

Ronnie, with partner Dawn, runs Indigo Dreams Publishing and together they won The Ted Slade Award for Services to Poetry. 

He was on the BBC Judging Panel for their Off By Heart poetry competition (BBC2). He has six published collections and his joint collection with Dawn, ‘Forest moor or less’, won the Best Collaborative Work Award in 2021.

Ronnie is also poet-in- residence for charity League Against Cruel Sports.

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