Spirit of place, spirit of time

art: Viktor Popkov

two poems by Elizabeth Jennings:


It was the wildest of days.

Gales and torrents of rain.

The road turned to river.

No-one passed by.

The rowan flung down the

last of its berries.

I kept watch all morning,

straining to hear the clunk

of the rusting latch and

footsteps running to the door,

the family arriving

in spite of the storm.

I kept watch all day,

hearing only the screaming wind.

Yet no-one passed by,

no-one sought shelter.

Had I got the wrong day, or time?

Was it all too late, or too soon?

I had kept watch all year.

Too much to hope for, perhaps,

that the travellers should stop here.

But, as I turned from the window,

a blackbird perched on

the gate-post, unruffled

by the storm, so still,

as if carved from stone,

waiting, guarding the path,

ready to greet with song

the bearers of the fledgling God

who chooses to enter my home.

November Sonnet

Spirit of place. Spirit of time. Re-form

The rugged oaks and chestnuts. Now they stand

Naked and pallid giants out of storm

And out of sorts. It is the Autumn’s end

And this is Winter brought in by All Saints

Fast followed by All Souls to keep us in

Touch with chill and death. Each re-acquaints

Us with the year’s end. Yet we now begin

A life of realism, watching out

for a red sunset, grateful for a dawn

Of rich light now. Tall shadows step and strut

Facing the big wind daily coming on faster.

This is the season of right doubt

While that elected child waits to be born.

Elizabeth Jennings

Published by ahiggins2013

poet, birder, senior citizen, cancer survivor, Catholic sister. Eight books of poetry published: At the Year’s Elbow, Mellen Poetry Press 2000; Scattered Showers in a Clear Sky, Plain View Press 2007; chapbooks: Pick It Up and Read, Finishing Line Press 2008, How the Hand Behaves, Finishing Line Press 2009, Digging for God, Wipf and Stock 2010, Vexed Questions, Aldrich Press 2013, Reconnaissance, Texture Press 2014, and Life List, Finishing Line Press, 2015.

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