to the abbey with wildflowers, water & woodland

For weeks now my photo mojo has flat-lined and to help me kick start some enthusiasm my daughter suggested I dig out my camera and take a walk with her around one of my favourite spots – Roche Abbey in South Yorkshire. [Quite coincidentally today I notice that someone liked my previous post about these ruins so perhaps that is some kind of omen]

I had intended to do the slow photography method but was so enraptured by all the sights that once more I fell into the trap of rushing to grasp the moments.

Moreover, the constant changes of light between clouds and woodland interiors made it difficult to relax as so many adjustments were necessary. As a consequence the delete button has been overworked and I have had to trawl through many photos to find a few worth saving.

The wildflowers here grow deep and dense, often towering above my head and I had to throw off a slight melancholy as the setting of seed heralds the beginning of the end for such sights this year. Still for now they are full of the joys of August.

And before long, we entered the deep shade of woodland with reflective mood pools

I was astonished at how green it still is, deep inside the woodland – making for rather wonderful contrasts with mud-bottomed pools and fallen branches

There is even a small waterfall which runs from the Maltby Beck

When the monks settled here they could not have picked a btter site – plentiful water to channel through their abbey and a supply of natural rocks in the limestone landscape

And then comes the first tantalising glimpse of the abbey itself – more next post!

Afterthought: I can’ say for sure my enthusiasm for photography has fully returned but at least it has been tickled – I think then for my next shoot I will return to my favourite monochrome mode(by shooting B&W jpg & also RAW I get to see the potential for the B&W shots & then can process the RAWs accordingly).

Gone from my sight

I see an offshore rowboat
oars shipped, and seem to hear
a lap-tongued invitation
a whisper from the waters, to spirit away
to your side. And always I recall
our stolen escapade that day
over the Serpentine, beneath the bridge
passers-by imbibing our laughter.

One October you sailed, solo
a hurried crossing. No warning,
no time to map the nebulous way
towards the blue light. Gone from
my sight. I pray you did not linger
upon the Lethe, lulled into oblivion.
Nor felt the purgatorial pull of all
the left-behinds – but played them
as a cine film of someone else’s making.

But please do not forget to anchor there
and haul me safely up that farther shore.

In Greek mythology, the Lethe flowed around the cave of Hypnos and through the Underworld where all those who drank from it experienced complete forgetfulness. 

Sarah invites us to take to the waters with her poetics prompt: Come Sail


Earth is forbidden to them, water’s forbidden to them,
All air and fire, little owlish ascetics, they outfly storms,
They rush to the pillars of altitude, the thermal fountains.

The escape hatch
just a crack of sky.
Nourished nestlings fix focus there
where bonded pairs torpedo through
wings like scythes
to slice the summer swarms.

Out of Africa they come, piloting
skyways. Along the pull of the North star
to our temperate land, a mapped aerospace
familiar as all the fissures and fractures
in their lofty roosts, where stump-legged fledglings
pledge their faith in flight.

Through the cracks, tantalising breaths
of air stir flight armature, pinions
feathering day by day. A transcendent
switch stirs the nascent birds. Ardently
as athletes, with wing-tip press-ups
they pump muscle and morph ailerons in readiness

for launch. And the first flung flying fall
parachuting earthward then an up-draft catch
and the aeronauts ease into their ethereal element.
In shrill-voiced fly-pasts, they skim clouded vapours
or barely stir the glassy surfaces
of puddle and pond.

Airborne the swifts remain, to mate, to sleep,
to preen. Gliders winging the thousand thousand
season-driven miles.

Epigraph from Anne Stevenson's 'Swifts' - as we lift our spirits and take to the air for my Poetics prompt: Flying