Dusk in Pytchley

The long shadows from the skeleton trees have faded now,

And the winter sky glows pink above the brow,

The Moon shines from blue dusk sky, and roosting birds

Enlivened anew by the returning Sun,

Flutter and squawk, reluctant to give up this first bright day.

We walk the sheepless fields of all day frost,

Cracking the ice on the pond of childhood lost,

And listen for the silence that should rise from misty fields,

Caught between this bright, chill day and the sanctuary of night.

Peace; between last flutter of day and the first clear hoot of dark.

Above, a glinting dart pulls lines across the sky;

Silently, but down below resounds the aircraft cry.

And from the East, the motor-way makes mellow harmony.

A scrap of conversation drifts from the stable yard.

A distant echo; a mistake, replaced, in haste, by a biker on the Broughton Road.

A bird scarer; pigeon waker explodes into the throng,

And all the way to Orlingbury it’s colleagues join the song,

Distant artillery as each reports the dying of the day.

And dogs are barking in Pytchley Hall and it seems to me

That the old scare-crow, who props his head with rubber gloved hands, is covering his ears.

16.2.2008   Diana Ashworth published in Countryside Tales, 2008

Wartime Wedding                          Diana Ashworth

Petal-pink she shines, lightly – Ladies-smock

in a mire of air-force blue and khaki.

Under the mimosa haze an errant lock

of thick black hair escapes formality.

This wedding of two so young is more

than hasty union between two families.

Desperate hope: last chance to throw the dice

in early summer 1944.

The old folk see beyond the niceties,

before D-day: the virgin sacrifice.

The groom’s grand-mother’s garden has dressed

for the occasion in lilac and may.

Roses stand in groups and watch the dowdy guests

sip pre-war champagne – not such a bad day.

When a sparrow-hawk streaks across the scene

to tumble a dove in feathered dog-fight,

boys mimic ack-ack; smoke drifts along the bay.

Someone shouts, ‘one of ours’ – too late, we’ve seen

what we will lie awake and think about tonight –

a blooded white flag raised by break of day.

Granny, always gracious, plays piano, but

notes leave the stave like flocks of angry birds

flapping at the paper panes, as if to cut

with scissor wings and swirl away the words,

through the conservatory without glass

to somewhere no-one will commend this bad

idea – to send away her little boy.

A million shards twinkle in the grass.

The yougsters revel and are frisky-mad

grabbing joy before they re-deploy.

His mother harbours honeymoon hopes

of conjuring a spare;

not her, who slips the battered Marie Stopes

into their bag and whispers ‘do take care’.

The Moon swells with fatal fecundity,

and the tide turns and the wind blows

from the South-West – dispersing the sea mist

in the channel – on-shore in Normandy.

Next day all leave cancelled – ‘til when?  God Knows.

Those getting-to-know-you days are lost.

First Published in PenCambria,22 (Spring,2013)


Counterpoints –In response to poems by R.S.Thomas, Ed: Joy Neal ((Einion Books, 2015)

So many men in literature have sold their souls to The Devil. I like the notion of one who sold his soul to God.

R.S. Thomas observed his parishioners, in There, from his own context. Here, a parishioner looks back.

(please note: ‘gog’ is Welsh slang for someone from North Wales)



God bought the soul of a poet

To be our clergyman.

From the celestial catalogue—

Bardic priest required

Under Bardsey/poet/gog.

What is a man’s

Price? For insight into Welshness,

Best left unsaid, and

Words that fly on the heedless wind, or

Dive into the bin. It is

A draughty living and a pile of logs.

It is distance – from the curt, offensive world

And time — to etch his mark

Upon the surface of the sea.

I have watched him

Head bent in sour reflection

Adding a concession – but

I cannot help but like him

For the dryness of his wit.


Another Island

(An answer to The Island from H’m (1973) by R.S. Thomas)

And God said, ‘enough of this,

You have got it all wrong:

It is your own pain you see

Reflected in the eyes of

My people, that drip with the

Purulence of your gaze.

They live in my own land,

Hard work is their sacrament.

They see me every day in

My place, where the wind sings

Halleluiah and rude life erupts

From every verge, nest and belly.’


Said God, ‘and I know that I am

Worshipped in the warm embers,

Feather beds and in all the

Urgent imperatives of their lives.’













2 thoughts on “Poetry

  1. You have some good images here. I hope you dont mind me making a tiny suggestion? If you delete some of the definite articles the prosody would be even better. Its a matter of editing your own work! 😉

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