The Last Winter recedes…

We walked to heal our hearts and minds. The wind cut through like glass but the sunset set the ripples alight on the water. It was spring and a time of birth and regeneration. New life blossoming all around. But we walked with heavy eyes.

We walk often, it gives us chance to talk, or not as the moment requires. We walk to fill our souls with the soothing spectacle of the distant mountains and listen to the gentle lap-lap and let it wash over us. We are losing a loved one who is between the autumn and winter of his life and the knowledge that he is slipping away is becoming more than a whisper on the wind.

Spring blossoms slowly

Sunset cuts through the anguish

Life melts like glacier.

 

©Alison Jean Hankinson

This is for d’Verse.

From cargoes to wasteland.

The first poem that ever really grabbed me was Cargoes by John Masefield, I was about 7 years old. I think my dad could recite it off by heart and it sounded so delicious, the words were so lyrical and dripped off the page like honey and then there was the dirty British coaster and it made me so proud to be a northerner, whilst we didn’t have the opulence of the Orient, we played an important role in the world. This was when I started to write poetry but I struggled for a while as I preferred to write poems that didn’t rhyme and I didn’t know anything about structure either and had no-one to teach me.

As a teen I moved into the realms of The Wasteland and had a wonderful teacher who made the Thames maidens come alive- I can still hear the Weialala leia- and loved the references and the voices, the languages, and the tempo and timbre changes. I discovered Sylvia Plath and devoured Ted Hughes, he lived in Heptonstall for a while and I used to play there at the whit walks with the Brass Band and walk down the steep cobblestones playing my trombone. Then I stopped writing and only really started again in November 2016 as my 50th birthday present to myself, and I discovered d’Verse. I love the challenge and the words and the learning and the community. It has been a wonderful voyage of rediscovery and I love giving a voice to the past, then the stories can live on.

Winter storm

We take to the road

Spring’s adrift.

©Alison jean Hankinson

This is for d’Verse where we have been asked by Toni to explore where our inner poet was inspired and nurtured.

 

Give with a glad heart…

I watched a film this weekend that has left an indelible imprint on my mind. I wept in places as I watched and the story made my heart and soul bleed, partly because of the kindness demonstrated by the one character for the other but also partly for the complete lack of humanity and kindness shown by others in the same instance. The film was called I Daniel Blake.

I cried because of the injustice, I cried because I had felt those things this year too, I cried for the mother’s love of her children and for how she had gone without to ensure her children were well. I cried for the kindness of the old man for helping the family despite his own hardship and loss. I cried mostly for a society that seems to have forgotten how important kindness is. I cried because in my desperate hours of need I have been given kindess. I cried because even in my own desperate hours of need, my needs will have been far less significant than the needs of many others who probably also needed kindness.

Give with a glad heart.

Expect nothing in return

Kindness warms, ice melts.

 

©Alison Jean Hankinson

This is for d’Verse Haibun monday. The birds are just because….I feed the birds…all birds…big ones, little ones, brown ones, white ones….The seagull on the roof has a gammy leg…he still survives…

 

Driving through Dallam Estate.

It was a beautiful start to October, a little bit of chill in the early morning air and some dew on the grass. In the garden across the road there is an array of spider webs, which glisten in the dew. I haven’t dared to photograph them as I don’t want to disturb the neighbours and having me trample through their garden with my trusty camera might indeed be disturbing.

We spent some time at Heversham visiting family and came back through Dallam Park, it is beautiful at this time of year, with the trees turning and that warm soft afternoon sun. The Deer were quite low down and there were pheasants in abundance. I know that some people find them frustrating as they can damage garden beds, but I love to see them in all their splendour foraging in the shrubbery and grass for spiders and seeds.

Fall’s frail web of lace

Reminiscent of first frost

Pheasants chase spiders.

 

© Alison Jean Hankinson

Haibun for d’Verse.

The spider web image was available to use in the public domain from pixabay, the other photographs were taken yesterday driving through Dallam Park.

 

 

Solway Firth Haibun

We drove north today to visit my dad, it is the start of the main school holiday and the traffic was less problematic than I had expected and we spent a glorious few hours up on the Solway Firth throwing sticks in the water for the dog and enjoying a lazy amble at High tide. The marsh was thronging with walkers fervently following in the footsteps of their forefathers along the route of Hadrian’s wall which separated Scotland from England in Roman times. It keeps this part of the Solway alive and buzzing in the summer months. The church where I got married is open to the public and there is a small kitchen and some supplies and an honesty box for weary travellers who stop by on their journey.

By late afternoon when we began our journey home the sun was beating down and it was much hotter and I longed for air-conditioning in my little Kia Rio. Along the motorway the traffic snaked its way south and even at the top of Shap it was quite clearly the height of summer, there was a constant train of caravans travelling northward to Scotland as we meandered our way down through Tebay. Blink and it will be gone and already in Whangarei NZ the magnolias are in bloom as they head towards spring. Time and tide stop for no man.

Wild roses blossom

Heat haze on the horizon

Swifts fly south to Spain.

©Alison Jean Hankinson

This is for Haibun monday at d’Verse. Where we were given the following directions:

Today is Free For All – meaning, you can choose your subject for the haibun. However there are still some rules: The haibun must be one to three tight paragraphs (2) Ended with a haiku (containing kigo and kireji words – season and cutting words) (3) Must be true (4) Must have actually happened to you.

Tears of summer

It should have been a whimsical day. Instead, I have existed somewhere between morose and forlorn. The summer seems to have vanished and with it all sense of joy and certainty only to be replaced by some strange uneasy restlessness, not quite admitting defeat but eager to have some steerage and surety about where my next steps will lead me.

It has been a weekend of waves and high tides, unsettling and I have been unable to make the most of getting down to the sea. Today it became a necessity, to track the well-worn paths through the grass, camera in hand with the hope of catching a gull in flight or a breath-taking landscape to restore some semblance of order into my world.

Tide high Seagulls fly
Raindrops splatter Terns shelter
Summer deserts us

 

This is for Haibun Monday at d’Verse, where were asked to think about summer.

 

Alison Jean Hankinson

 

Is Urban Walking a Sport?

So this is my sport and I have had to invent it for me. For many reasons like lack of coordination and skill and other critical factors like health and well-being.  I have had to develop my own sport where I can compete against myself. I call it urban walking. I do it with dedicated regularity, attempt an element of speed and finesse and probably walk many kilometres over the course of the average week. The general aim is for about 45 minutes to an hour about 5 times a week and I try to find circular routes and make sure they have a measure of incline and a rewarding and bountiful view. I think it must be a common sport because when I am on the promenade I find many others doing the same thing but usually in sportier attire than I.

It is a rewarding sport, the view and vistas change with the weather and the seasons and pathway travelled. I have my favourite haunts and my own little challenges along the way, do we need windswept today or are we more content to smell the flowers. Often my husband joins me in my urban wanderings and then it is more competitive, he has a slightly longer stride than I and he is always on a mission to push and exert and add a little extra challenge, sometimes it is I that lead the challenge following a day of solo exploration and I will encourage us to take a new path to add to our familiar routes. Our favourites always take in the seashore where we feel exhilarated and catch our breath as the wind blows cold and howls around our ears, we ride through our daydreams on the wings of gliding seagulls.

 

Rocks awash with waves

On the shoreline seagulls soar

Sweeping summer storm,

 

Alison Jean Hankinson.

This is for d’Verse…haibun Monday… we were asked to share on Sport so it might be a long shot but can I count urban walking as a sport?