A song to loving

Come, greet your day and sing with me
A song to loving, come what may!
Drink in the sunlight with the wine
And our tomorrows live today!


Quechua Christ

In the desert was I tempted.
Thirst besieged my throat
And sleep my eyes.
Stones were my only bread
And thorn bushes
My resting place.
My feet stumbled
On precipitous paths.
My mind wandered
With the wind
And sought refuge
In the moving sands.

But still I would not yield.

On the mountains was I tempted.
Finest vicuña
Clothed my limbs
And Inca gold
Crowned my brow.
On the upstream of Time,
I soared with condors
And saw, from the clouds,
The Lands of the Earth.

I alone possessed
The arts of the shamans
And, in my two hands
Held the thunderbolts of power.

But still I would not yield.

At the appropriate time,
I came down from the high plains
And, in the sacred valley,
Drank at the springs of Life.

AJS – On the Altiplano, Peru, April 1998

A glimpse of you

A glimpse of shoulder
Bare on the Pillow,
Set fancy moving
Beneath the covers.
You lay on your side
Facing the window,
The sheet betraying
with sweet complicity
The enticing line
of your sleeping form.

Cow Parsley

This year there is a
Splendid crop of cow parsley
In St Peter’s Valley.
I know you think it funny
That I should love this
Tall ungainly flower which
Grows head and leafy shoulders
Over scarlet campion
And ragged robin,
But its clouds of faded white
Are the saving grace
Of many a marshy field.


To Samuel Palmer

Now breaks the snowy may upon the hedge
And Spring the orchard fills with waves of white.
High sails the full-frown moon across the skies
And floods the dreaming sheepfolds with its light.
The early shepherd plays upon his pipe
And calls the distant dawn across the night.

In Shoreham’s fields the mystic grain still grows,
The wheatsheaves ripen in the August sun,
The spirit whispers in the sacred groves
Of lives well ordered and of work well done.
In valleys thick with corn dead Virgil lives
And through your visions speaks to everyone.

October 1980

On the dunes today

I wish you had been
With me on the dunes today.
We would have rested
Among the white moss roses,
And watched the grasses flow
Before the warm wind
Like fields of ancient corn.
The sea hung misty
Between sky and blowing sand
And the larks were still.

12 June 1968


I love your warmth beside me as I lie
Cocooned in night, the small hours ebbing by,
Leaving me stranded like an errant whale,
High on a wide sandbank of sleeplessness,
A prey to fancies and imaginings.

No devils now, no banshee’s warning cries,
No terrors from a nun-conditioned childhood
Invade my thoughts and force their company,
But spirits of foreboding and of doubt,
Of melancholy and absurdity,
Hobgoblins all of chronic middle age!

You are my talisman against this night,
I stroke your thigh and put them all to flight!

20 January 1990