Painting, Poetry

Snow

All through the day snow has been falling

like stars out of place or angels or prayers; slivers of universe

with millions of possibilities that if singled out and caught by

a warm hand will pale to a tear

leaving only a memory

 

of a feathered touch or eyelash kiss.

From within we watch the new night sky

filter out its blanket of white

silencing the ground as it mimics

a clean sheets over our bodies.

 

Slowly the wind strengthens and like a wolf

the once silent fall becomes

an orchestra of science as

snow twists past street lights,

spirals over houses and dances past the last

 

bus that now takes a unknown diversion.

Snow defying gravity, soaring,

flailing and falling

onto a frozen landscape

that we watch developing

 

like a photograph;

the paper restless in chemicals,

a world in darkness with only

a muted oxide glow to guide our hands

and the sound of wolves now scratching at the door.

 

The snow shoulders farms

against the moor, fills lanes

once engraved through land,

amplifies the essence of our existence

and brings the last moving traffic to a dead stop.

 

We look down upon the village,

down towards the snow globe centre

where a clear web of lights

that once spiralled out from its core

slowly disappears.

 

Children make their escape to first floor rooms

taking treasured possessions and shelving

photographs, books and computer games

for safe keeping. They watch from relative safety

the commuters clearing driveways

 

throwing salt stone and filling kettles

ready for the bite of a morning unknown.

The snow and the wind continue

and together they conspire

to cover everything, leave nothing undone.

 

In the dawn grey light the children jump

from their bedrooms

and slide into drifts where garden walls

once stood. Without boundaries

the commuters give in and turn over,

 

their driveways scarred but slowly recovering.

At the reservoir skaters erect temporary

fencing and jostle for space

practising the latest toe picks and steps

in time to the click of the make shift

 

chair lift that now runs the length

of the banking much to the water board’s

disliking. An old man argues with a group of

German ski enthusiasts, who, unable to build houses,

are offered the chance

 

to take part in the first Pennine slalom

made of frozen sheep and stone. The snow continues.

And in the village where cars no longer exists

dog walkers turn out en-mass, carrying their plastic purple bags,

but deciding to turn back, much to each dog’s delight,

 

next to where the last bus was abandoned

with its lights still on and windows steamed and the driver

reported missing in the last hour as per company policy. The new school

head clambers over the football pitch regretting the early morning text

but looking at the plus of trying out her new coloured boots, one piece suite

 

and combination head scarf that works as both casual and smart.

The snow continues. Warning signs that have flashed

through the night go out.

The wind howls. Roads disappear,

as does the ground floor of that row of terraced houses

 

nearest to the river now frozen to the shape of claws.

An Australian, visiting relatives for the first time, joins a group

of Finns who have all been prescribed light

and feel short changed. They make out

at a self built sauna hidden out of sight with a discarded barbeque,

 

garden shed and a selection of furs smuggled under clothing.

The Australian’s relatives, in some desperation,

follow snow angels on tree lined paths and join the group

naked in the drifts. The snow continues.

And last to move is the farmer who makes

 

a half hearted attempt to clear the lane

but misjudges the weight of the counterbalance

and upends like a duck, slipping from his seat to become

caught by the Saint Christopher around his neck

now half strangled on the tractor’s gear stick.

 

We give in and watch the snow fall.

We watch the village slowly fade from sight.

Darkness falls again. Villagers make their escape to higher ground,

walking on rooftops, as streets begin to drown.

First to go is the pub, then the bakery and the gallery.

 

Then the post office, convenience store

and charity shop. Gone is the off-licence,

the take-away  and flower market. Also

the doctor’s surgery, news agent,

haberdashery and selection of newly

 

opened cafe bars and restaurants

catering for individual tastes.

Gone is the police station, swimming baths, library

and school. And on the outskirts, where property

 

once made a better investment, the  Social,

Conservative, Liberal and Band clubs are all going under.

And the snow continues with no sign

of it ever petering out. From the hills

we see the distant city glow, the only

 

light in the valley, as the people hunker down

in make shift shelters where we listen to the sound

of our breathing amidst the cries of wolves

that leech out in the cover of snow. And we wait for the thaw,

wait in reverence with cold empty hands.

 

Snow first appeared in my debut pamphlet, Flowers by the Road, published by Templar Poetry in 2017. You can purchase a copy from the Templar Shop

Art, Countryside, Nature, Poetry, Walking

Flowers by the Road

My debut poetry pamphlet, Flowers by the Road (Templar Poetry) is now available to order direct from the on-line book shop at Templar Poetry. Price includes free UK shipping.

The collection was a winning entry in Templar Poetry’s Portfolio Awards 2016.

To order a copy please follow this LINK

Thank you

david_coldwell_cover-crop
Flowers by the Road – 2017
Art, Music, Photography

Flight Dream

Flight Dreams
Flight Dream

Look closely and you can just about make out the three para-gliders. Flight Dream is just one of a number of photographs that are now available to purchase online at Photo4me.com – please look at the Gallery page for more details and also new information about the launch of my Artfinder shop where a selection of paintings and limited edition giclée prints will be made available. The photograph was taken just off the Pennine Way at Marsden, West Yorkshire and features the famous Pule Hill.

At a similar time last year some friends introduced me to the wonderful music of Bill Callahan who was playing live in Manchester. Unfortunately work commitments forced me to miss the show and the name slipped to the back of my mind until a year later when, in these post-Yule tide days, I started to scour the furthest recesses of my music collection looking for something to inspire. Fortunately I only needed to get to B for Bill; music collections are like that.

I’m please to say that I’ve now re-discovered Dream River and think that the rest of the world should also do the same. Headphones ready…

 

Art, Music, Nature, Poetry, Walking

Good Fences…

Good Fences
Good Fences

 

Good Fences – oil on board – 20 x 20cm (ex frame). The final image from the ‘Storm’ series which is now available to purchase from Enjoy Art, a wonderful independent gallery based in the village of Marsden near Huddersfield.

The landscape is the Yorkshire Dales looking towards Ingleborough. The title was inspired by the Robert Frost poem, Mending Wall.

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For a musical interlude here’s the sublime, and appropriately titled,  After The Storm by Mumford and Sons filmed live at the 2010 Eden sessions (just in case you were missing the sunshine).

 

 

 

Music

The Hawthorn Halls (the thief’s edition)

Throw open the windows and let the outside in!’ was the battle cry from the Middlemoor clan of Ravenshook. It was the annual celebration of the Haw and this meant spring cleaning at the Halls.

Garlands of evergreen that had framed each wall and hung from the cloisters and porticos throughout the dark months were pulled from their hooks and carried to the greening fields. Here a bonfire would be built whose flames would signal for at least thirty miles to the east the news that spring had arrived on the high lands.

People of the low lands waited patiently, looking west towards the mighty Pen – the green goddess whose sleeping outline formed the horizon. Only when the cuckoo stole its first nest on Middlemoor could the Ravens light the fire – only then had spring truly arrived on Middlemoor.

And then it snowed, again!

And did it snow – for the last two weeks I’ve had the surreal experience of driving on roads carved out of ice and edged with walls of snow that in places reached over ten feet in height. Views that would normally reach as far as York and Selby have been stunted by the solid white mass. The road over Holme Moss (the new Tour de France) was closed for fourteen days.

So as spring waited in nature’s lay-by (no overnight parking) then so did all our Easter plans for the outside. The ground works optimistically created during the now infamous ‘March’ dig have, in the last two days, just become visible again in the melting snow.

There were some positive outcomes from the Arctic exploration experience of being trapped. The main being that I could no longer find any excuses not to tackle the wall papering on the stairs and landing. Unfortunately I’d put the job on hold so long that all the paint work needed a fresh coat but at least the daunting task of hanging four metre lengths of expensive wallpaper on walls that laugh in the face of straightness is now complete. Now we sit patiently waiting for carpet that has been in storage for twelve months.

In the midst of all this cold gloom I’ve decided to re-open the Halls and throw out some sunshine. As a reminder, the purpose of the Halls is to re-discover all those songs that sit quietly at the back of your digital library waiting, as patiently as our carpet fitter, to be played for the first time. Sometimes I cheat by playing a favourite that’s been purchased twice with one download remaining un-played. Other times I simply let the dart of fate land on any number it likes. We’ve also had visitors to the Halls and this is very welcome particularly if you think I’m missing a trick. The rules are quite flexible.

This week I’ve re-discovered a real treat from 2007. Taken from their debut mini-album, The Thief and the Heartbreaker, I’ve Known for Long by Alberta Cross is the song of the week. If you imagine a mix of My Morning Jacket, Kings of Leon and Neil Young and get quite excited by the prospect then I would urge you to discover more at http://www.albertacross.net/. Not only is the website great but you can also currently download their first proper full album, Songs of Patience (2012) for the sum of £4.99 from a popular digital music download type company that also does phones and computers and things.