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The Relentless Wave

The wave gathers slowly
Far out to sea.
Rises, curls, hangs
Suspended, lunges,
Crashes in a spume of
Spray and retreats
In shuddering undertow
To be renewed
Somewhere in the
Vastness of the deep
From whence it came.
Thus does passion
Ride the mind
Torment the body and
Spatter its essence
Into the chasm of desire.
Only to renew itself
In some hidden corner
Of the body's deep.


The fragility of happiness
Is as beautiful and delicate
As a butterfly's wing.
That a thoughtless word
Or rough touch
Can shatter in and instance.


Everywhere I walk
My friends,
Corporeal or invisible,
Walk with me.
I am never alone,
Even in loneliness.

My grandfather,
My mother,
My son and
My son's dog, Jack.
They are gone, but
Still with me,
They comfort me.

When I am gone,
Who, I wonder,
Will I walk beside?
Who will I comfort?
Loved ones certainly,
A stranger in need?

None of us is
Entirely alone.
None of us need fear
The loneliness of spirit
That withers up the soul,
We are never alone.

The Tree of Life

"I'm here to stop,"
The apple cried.
No you're not,"
The tree replied.
The apple gave a sigh.
"Why not?" he asked.
"'Cos even apples die,"
Said the tree at last.

Reading Poetry

Light, fitful, as through a keyhole filters,
Then sudden, painful, exquisite light.
A door bangs open wide in the mind,
Flooding dark and dusty places.
So many doors! so many treasures
In sweet confusion reign.
Pick up, put down, snatch,
Savour and wallow in excess.
To know so much,
To taste so many lovely words
In so short a time.

The Swallows don’t come here anymore

Harbingers of Summer they came,
Six thousand miles they flew
Over desert, sea, mountain and plain.
Four ounces, swift and aerobatic in the sun,
Beauty unrestrained.

In Egypt they cross the Sarah desert,
Five hundred miles of blistering heat,
Cold nights and daylight’s burning sun.
Many fall exhausted, dying into the soft sand.
At the African and French coasts
They are relentlessly netted to provide pate
For the greedy gourmets of either land.
With late and early winters many succumb
To the high altitudes and snow covered peaks
Of the Alps and the Pyrenees.
Returning home to Africa, another six thousand miles,
They face their greatest nemesis,
The reed bed spraying aeroplanes,
Issuing white clouds of death to the Tetse Fly.
Great flocks of Swallows fly into these clouds
And spiral earthwards in an agony of death and
The earth lies crucified by a thousand feathered nails.

Our Swallows don’t come here anymore.

Fly, Bird! Fly! by Frederick Covins


Ever year as soon as our Swallows arrived they flew directly into the house and flew around the room piping their arrival calls and then flew out to find their nesting site. We were always overjoyed to greet them. Two years ago they actually nested in the roof of our porch! At first we worried about how they would get in and out if we shut the front door at night? They demonstrated a very brilliant solution when we tried partially closing the door, they simply flew down and out through the letter box, which fortunately had no flap, and then promptly zoomed back in, smirking I swear! After that we had a beautiful relationship whereby they sat upon the upper edge of the open inner door and watched and chattered as we went about our routines. My Swallow speak is a little rusty, but I did try to communicate our delight and I honestly think they at least understood the tone. They had two chicks who they introduced and taught their flying and insect catching skills. Again the time came to leave and once again they came in and cried their goodbyes. It was always a sad time, but never as sad as that last, because they never came back.

The Battle for Badger's Wood by Frederick Covins


Three hunts they went a-hunting
A Fox to catch that day
But never a Fox like our Fox
Did ever come their way.
        With a heigh-ho, Tally-ho,
        The Fox he went away.
From Badger's Wood to Dimply Green
Like lightning gone away
A merry chase. A hell of a pace
Our Foxy led the way.
        With a heigh-ho, Tally-ho,
        The Fox he went away.
The hounds they stormed the man nests
And Fox he laughed all day
Through house and field and stream and weald
        He made the hound-dogs bay.
        With a heigh-ho, Tally-ho,
The Fox he went away.
'Twas in the villain's garden
That Fox met death that day
He fought with might and fury
And made the bad man pay.
        With a heigh-ho, Tally-ho,
        The Fox he went away.
They sing his praise with muted breath
For miles around, they say,
A brave Fox, a valiant Fox
And shout hooray, hooray.
        With a heigh-ho, Tally-ho,
        They shout hooray, hooray.

Taken from The Battle for Badger's Wood by Frederick Covins © 1974, 1983, 1984

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