STORM by Cynthia Smith

STORM by Cynthia Smith

I first saw him silhouetted against the evening sky. My fascination was immediate and I felt compelled to get closer. Walking stealthily towards him, I hid behind a tree a few yards away. He was so beautiful that I hardly dared breathe, lest even that gave away my presence. He looked so strong and powerful, almost arrogantly at ease with his surroundings. I longed to reach out to touch him but knew he would disappear if I moved. As I watched him, crimson and gold streaks began slanting across the sky. The spectacular sunset was a fitting backdrop for his perfection.

As the great red orb sank slowly behind the hills it was followed by darkening clouds. Rain began to fall, soft warm drops on my bare arms. Soon the wind rose, lashing the trees around me and whistling through the long grass, as though urging the elements to a frenzy. It was time to get indoors before the storm hit. Soaked to the skin, I raced homewards as thunder crashed and lightening forked across the sky.

We had moved to this area recently and I was enjoying exploring the neighbouring countryside. On my daily walk a few days after the storm, I thought I would climb a hill to see what was on the other side. The ground was littered here and there with storm debris, but on reaching the ridge the valley below appeared pristine. Verdant meadows basked in the sun, backed by trees dappled in shade. Hawks rose and wheeled, looking for prey; bright flowers fringed the woodland; a glittering stream snaked towards the horizon. It was the kind of vista that Adam and Eve might have seen.

Glancing to the right, I caught my breath. Just a few yards away a group of wild horses was grazing, a dozen or so mares and a similar number of foals. But where was the head of the herd? A stallion does not leave his mares alone for long, for fear of other males stealing them. Sure enough, with a thunder of hooves, Storm arrived. I had decided to call him Storm after the wild weather when I first encountered him. Now he circled his mares and foals as though making sure they were all there. I watched him for a few minutes, delighting again in his beauty and vigour. How I wished I had the talent to paint a picture of him. How I wished …

That evening I told my husband, Jeff, about Storm. He too loved horses and I felt sure he would understand how I felt about the stallion.

“We could ask the Brennan boys to help us round him up – Glen’s a master at lassoing – and of course we would register ownership with the authorities!” I was so excited at the prospect of Storm becoming mine.

“But he’s a wild animal Jenny, wild and free. I can’t believe you want to take the most precious thing from him.”

I felt ashamed that my passion for the horse had made me want to possess him. Jeff was right: it would be cruel to traumatise him with capture. Instead I dug out the camera I had not used for years. Gradually Storm became used to my presence and I was able to get closer for some brilliant shots.

…….

That was more than sixty years ago. Jeff has gone now; many other people and things I loved have gone. There are no wild horses left in America either. But sometimes on stormy nights I could swear I hear thundering hooves and the exultant neigh of a horse, wild and free as the wind.

 

THE SILHOUETTE by Tony Burrows

                                                THE SILHOUETTE

                        Day breaker lost in life, soul breaker lost in love,

                        Homeless, faceless, the awoken dreamer, timeless,

                        A silhouetted figure, broke on shore, sea drawn,

                        Tilts on the unfathomable mooring morn,

                        Cuts ebb low, with glinting glass bottled trapped tide,

                        That brought in the froth of light,

                        And hushed pebbles washed up, another lost night,

                        Now kipper eyed, watches, as postcard promises,

                        The naked flats and ribbed roads revealed, to be

                        Scoured by scavenger, bored by curlew,

                        And re-cast or not, the worms of limpet plays,

                        To urchin out endless ‘in loving memory’ bench days,

                        With hollowed secrets in deepest pools of fears, filled

                        By the salty dried trickle of transient years,

                        The non- participant observer,

                        Visible only as sun dial noon time,

                        Studies deck chair daily families flapping,

                        Gaggle gathered in line,

                        Dominion claims on the tide turning,

                        Tide watching, wave lapping,

                        White legged, burnt back beach,

                        Where pioneer paddlers, shingle surf,

                        Across shimmer mirror sheets,

                        Of the fish bed sea,

                        Coloured in childhood twinkle blue haze,

                        Around ice creamed, sun creamed, sun kissed days,

                        And the light winds that blow kind,

                        Prints indelible on the formative mind,

                        The unwitting players in the golden round,

                        Seaboard tread, leave their shoreline seats,

                        Taking the babble, banter, chatter, and play,

                        Their do and don’ts, the when’s, the may be,

                        And how soon is soon, away,

                        After the day tripper, caravanner, camper, and short stay,

                        Leave and wave the sea,

                        Late couples prim and prom, arm in walking stick arm,

                        Evening casual matching yarn, in twilight hues,

                        Set of retired rusty sea rail capstan tan shoes,

                        No vacant viewing, breakfast course set, harbour bound,

                        Where tired mud, and pondering pools of rainbow oil,

                        Sigh under weed green chains and nets,

                        And empty, once full,

                        Fish boxes from ports no one recollects,

                        As bare beach beckons, open mouthed,

                        Laughing gull reclaiming,

                        Metal hopeful, hapless, map less treasure land,

                        Is scanning foot print scenes, where on-shore breezes,

                        The prosecuting victor in, cock court, shuttle sand eases,

                        And fielding final over, long shadowed cricket,

                        Played out with pylon stumps,

                        Punctuated by racing ball races, to neep tide boundaries,

                        Finding the love struck single, longingly staring far away,

                        To horizon hugging pillow clouds, that touch,

                        The turtle blue backed, never to be eider down sea,

                        Holding benign dreams in captured coupled moments,

                        And with the dripping sun’s early night shades,

                        Silhouette slipping quietly away,

                        Whispers below the unrequited waves,

                        And eventide falls again heavy with sleep.

Ostriches by Chris South

Ostriches

 Take a good look all around you
Get your head out of the sand
Can’t you see what’s happening
In this mean unpleasant land?
The wolves are at the door now
Baying for your blood
Piecemeal won’t pacify them
Did you really think it would?
Bit off more than you could chew
When they were handing out their meat?
Well now they want it back from you
What will your children eat?
They can’t dine on bricks and mortar
Or swallow steel and glass
The problem is that Ostriches
Get bitten in the ass!

 Ostrich people

(Note from the author…for the British reader please feel free to

pronounce glass as ‘glarse’ and change the word ass to arse!) Chris