Thursday, 10 May 2018

So... here it is - SEVENTY

Seventy years. It feels neither feasible, nor possible. I'm still in my 20s, surely? Where the hell has that time gone?
I'm not a great one for celebrating birthdays, but I feel that this three-score-and-ten is worthy of at least a backward over-the-shoulder glance - in gratitude, if nothing else.

I am grateful for all the people in my life - those that have come, those that have gone, those that have passed, those that have stayed, those that I'm just now getting to know, those that are as yet un-met, and unknown, and in more recent times, all the people I have spent time with on social media.  Many people scoff at social media, but I think I can honestly say that the many friends I have made on-line have all been true and honest friends. These are all people that have taken part in my life, whether the meeting was just brushing shoulders in passing, or deep friendship, or even deeper love.  You are all the people from whom I have learned; the ones who have given me experience, and have given my life meaning. I'm grateful to those who have loved me, supported me, and encouraged me - without your help, I would have been nothing. I hope I have given enough in return.
I have no natural progeny, but the children that have come into my life are exactly the kids I would have wished for, all grown to be beautiful people, and having their own beautiful kids. I love them all.

Without all these people, and the characters that they are in their own right, I feel my life would be quite shallow and meaningless. Thank you all!

I'm grateful too for all the things I have done in my life. I think it has not been an "ordinary" life. I have always had a thirst for knowledge - literally for as long as I can remember - but not in the way that, say, a scientist delves into a particular subject - deeper and deeper, but more in the way that a polymath desires to know everything, though I don't rate myself as such; there is just far too much to learn!

As a teen, I found it very difficult to settle to my chosen schooling, and then to any particular career, so in the first half of my working life, I had many and varied jobs ranging from the menial to the technical to the social - milkman to telephone engineer, smallholder to social worker, just a few examples. There were many more. It wasn't that I was work-shy - I had a good work ethic - I just didn't like to get bogged down with any one thing. Then I found basketmaking, or rather, it found me - more a philosophy than a job, but something I could do that fitted into my lifestyle, and manage to make a meagre living to boot. That has taken up the last 27 years of my life, although my fingers have finally had enough of the repetitive strains.

I have spent all of my adult life in "self-sufficiency" mode - renovating, building, making, and repairing almost everything - houses, cars, domestic machinery - anything -  though the latest technology is way beyond me. I did manage to assemble the PC I am at present typing on out of various components though, which pleased me no end.

While all this has been going on, I have taught myself to play several musical instruments - not well, but adequately, and the learning continues to this day. There is also in more recent years, photography, at which, it appears, I have a certain flair. There are still many things I would like to try, many things I would like to experience, but just as important to me is taking the time to watch the grass grow. I have learned to love a hammock, when the weather is fair.  There is just so much to learn, if we would only stand still for a few minutes to observe - or lay back even, and watch the clouds. It is so good for the soul - so good!

So yes - not a bad life. I have managed to get this far without damaging myself too much - no broken bones - though there were a couple of times I came very close to the edge of self-extinction, but I survived. I am still fit and able, for which I am daily grateful, but I can't deny that I'm on the downhill run now. I shall just have to keep my foot on the brake to make the journey last :)
Seventy is nothing to be feared! I feel fulfilled, and very content.
Onward! (albeit at a much slower pace :D )

©  Rob King - on my 70th birthday :)

Thursday, 3 May 2018


Silent silver moon, waning gibbous
presides over the cacophony
that is a thousand avian voices
greeting the new day as one.
Moments pass, sky so slowly changes hue
as still-hidden sun gently toasts the horizon
and worms, slugs, and beetles
resume their fearful exposure.

Monday, 9 April 2018

The innocent photographer

What happens when a friend goes looking for foxes

The fox-hunt

Sneaking through the old park gates
intent on photographs she said
not cognisant of local pastimes
trouble lies ahead

Parks the car, her quarry sighted
mounts her flash, and fires away
but she's not the only flasher
working there that day

Cars draw up and park alongside
windows dancing up and down
seems there are a lot of randy
dog-foxes in this town.

Slowly comes the understanding
all she sees is not OK
starts the car, escape intending
she is now the prey...

©Rob King 2018

New poem - first in a long while

In contrast to my previous post, we seem to be having a run of dull damp days again, which isn't very helpful with so much to do in the garden after a very wet and cold winter.

I need some sun

My bones are longing for the sun
to warm and penetrate my flesh
and ease my aching, swollen, joints
and make my heart feel young and fresh

My eyes are longing for the sun
to coat the world with golden light
to fill the woods with contrast colours,
lake reflections, diamond bright

My brow is longing for the sun
to change the colour of my skin
from winter white to golden brown
to indicate warm life within

My back is longing for the sun
to warm my soul and drive me on
and do the work the garden needs
to grow some food to live upon

My feet are longing for the sun
that some day in this year I'll feel
the warm sand in between my toes
A seaside day - now, there's a deal!

My life is longing for the sun
that I might in my hammock lie
beneath the dappled shade of trees
and quietly watch small clouds drift by...

©Rob King 2018

Thursday, 5 April 2018

I wrote this several years ago and thought I had put it in my blog, but no. 
Anyway, it's pertinent to this beautiful day.

Crystal Clear

Just now
The heavens have a clarity I've seldom seen before
The air is perfect crystal, not a mote my eyes endure
To see it, feel it, breathe it; could I ever ask for more?
Such perfection in a day to be remembered.

when the Summer grows, and turns the furnace on
and haze will shield the vista presently I gaze upon
I'll come back to day remembered and feel the sun that shone
allowing colours to be so vividly presented.

© Rob King  2012

Friday, 5 May 2017

A quiet hammock-nap

Having had a busy morning, I opted for a nap in the hammock after lunch. Tucked between a lilac and a large mahonia bush, and overlooked by climbing roses not yet in flower, but grasping thin air for more support, I lie there, sheltered from the cruel North-Easterly and it's wicked attempts to nullify Phoebe's yellow heat, my eyes are drawn to the tattered rags of the low cloud scudding across the cyan space, and am mesmerised. A small bird alights in the naked ash tree above my head, silhouetted, and mouth full of feed, impatient for me to remove myself, so it can feed its young. Far too impatient, and trying not to expose the nest site it decides to attempt a route from another direction, flits, and is hidden.
A small procession of swallows appears from the south, wheeling and churning, picking flies out of the sky as ever they do, before disappearing as rapidly as they came.
My gaze returns once more to the clouds, where my eye is captured by a movement - a buzzard, soaring, with a slow gyration, quartering the local grasslands for a lame or injured rabbit. Such eyes they have! he is so far up that his markings are indistinguishable, though I know him as a regular visitor. As he passes out of view, I spot his mate, following a similar route, and being somewhat bigger, her markings are a little more obvious. How many more people have spotted them, I wonder? Few in number, I'm sure.
A commotion!  A lone sparrowhawk fleetingly scythes the air across the garden, mobbed by several smaller birds, attempting to distract the express predator from the naive fledglings whose only thoughts are food, regardless of safety first.

Everything settles down again. The clouds unerringly drift and scud South-Westward on the breath of the cold wind.
I close my eyes, and think how lucky am I, to have seen so much in the space of so few minutes.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

A cold North-Easter in Spring

Drawing back the curtains
I am dismayed to see
the grey blanket
of sullen cloud
that has assembled
to be ushered in
under cover of darkness
ahead of the ponderous
North-East breeze,
barely moving, but
sucking all the joy out of the
head-hung wisteria
making her hold her perfume
for yet another day.
Donning my togs
my energy I squander,
wander to the wood-shed
returning with logs and kindling
and rain-spots on my glasses
and once more
re-light the Rayburn.

Friday, 3 March 2017

A poem I wrote in 2014


His ears were filled with ambient noise
not his, but incidental
to the sounds of daily hand-to-mouth, of constant give and take
it seemed to him quite ceaseless, undiminished, incremental
and he longed for total silence, just to give his mind a break.
From the moment that his morning eyes
took in the world around him
his head would start to fill with sound, incongruous to his thought
like the rattle of a Gatling at commencement of a battle
and he couldn't shut the noise out, no matter how he fought.
He swore beneath his silent breath
not wishing an addition
to the chatter, natter, patter, clatter echoing in his brain
it weren't as if the sound was kind, a steady repetition
such as falling water, sighing wind, or even driven rain.
Oh no - these were man-made, every one
demanding that he listen
requiring that he be a part of other peoples lives
when what he really wanted was the chance to do some thinking
and not have his thoughts dismembered by others' noisy knives.
Thus it was, he found himself
in a glen between two rising walls
a glaciated, hanging valley high in Scotlands hills
where noise was Nature's own dominion, nothing more than whirring pinion,
shushing grasses, bubbling burn and quietly running rills.
He came across a Thinking Stone
and there he sat in reverie silent
taking in all manner that presented to his eyes
and hearing not another sound that man had made or uttered
he delighted in the silence
and deemed himself quite wise.

© Rob King 2014

Friday, 11 November 2016


There is nothing left to feel
the mud and blood have sealed my eyes
there is nothing left to heal
even pain my mind defies
the whistling bombs and rattling guns
no longer frighten me to death
for Death is standing over me
arms folded, waiting my last breath.
To think that all I ever dreamed 
a life of love, and love of life
destroyed by powerful men who schemed
and used the likes of me in strife
They will never face such thoughts
as, smashed and shattered, I face now
The future will my bones expose
exhumed by shiny-breasted plough
and once again the shining sun
will warm my relics in the tilth 
and birds replace the booming gun
forgetting all this bloody filth.

© Rob King 11th November 2016

Friday, 25 March 2016


Sunset over Scarning Village

I've been feeling a bit troubled recently with all the political crap that I'm coming across. This puts my feelings into words.


The sun is bright, but has no warmth
the days are growing longer
Winter's truly done and gone
but I'm not growing stronger
I need to set the blood a-coursing
throughout my limbs so weary
but there's too much crap inside my head
and I sit here feeling teary

Is it me or is it them?
that cause me so much trouble
that make me feel that all is bad -
reduce my heart to rubble
It seems to be a daily fight
to find a happy thought
when the world around me isn't just,
and doing what it ought

I read the words and hear them said
and try to understand them
and assay to divine the truth
but find I can't command them
there's lie on lie, and lie returned
all words of propaganda
and liars thrive within the hive
paid out with a backhander

So if I say "the truth to tell"
I mean it as I find it
and cannot offer guarantees
to the truth that lies behind it
for I can only speak out loud
of truth as it's presented
but walls are built with bricks of lies
and with more lies cemented

© Rob King