Presence 65

Hawking memorial
the stars turn out


river mist
slowly morning
finds a way

— Caroline Skanne

ar goll yng ngolau’r lleuad tresgl y moch

lost in moonlight tormentil

Thomas Powell

there is
a clearing
in the woods
where water stands still
& collects the silence

— A A Marcoff

I know you are there
on the hill
above my blackness
waiting for me to climb

— Tony Steven Williams

The forest garden at Carthvean farm

May and the wood is in flower, bluebells, wild garlic and red campion, rhodendrons  and azaleas. Birdsong is continuous. At the wood’s edge a stone buddha sits, prayer beads in his lap, facing a small memorial cairn. Everywhere there are signs of work, coppicing, pollarding, thinning, pruning. In the new glades raspberries and strawberries, gooseberries and currants flourish, alongside autumn olive and halesia, both now white with blossom.  Chinese cedar and giant butterbur have been planted for their leaves, bamboo for its shoots and canes. Apple trees grow under oak and chestnut.

Wing clatter
three mallards up
and off down the valley

At the heart of the wood is a small lake fringed with flag iris and almost covered with water lilies. There is the occasional plop of fish breaking the surface. The lake was once stocked with mirror carp until an otter, following the nearby River Cober, cleared it out. On the far side fennel, artichokes and plum trees line the bank, steel wind chimes tinkle in a light breeze. This side there’s a weathered picnic table where, for a while, I sit.

Morning dew
the glimpse of a wren
through brushwood

Ian Storr