This poem was conceived after I had taken a photograph on one of our favourite local walks, in Millstones Wood. The sun, shining at a very low angle through the defoliated trees in early November, glanced off the leaves that covered the floor of the wood, and, for a moment, turned the foliage into something that resembled a blanket of gold leaf. It was a magical moment. I posted the photo using Instgr.am shortly afterwards and it proved to be quite a popular image.
So I thought of this stunning Autumn imagery; I thought of the warming globe; I thought of an autumn in which we have seen the birds starting to nest again, fooled into thinking that the Spring had arrived early, in an unusual warmth, when we would normally be expecting a frosty chill. And I thought of Christmas.
Then I thought of the very English sonnet, the sonnet that William Shakespeare made famous, with its classic meter, the iambic pentameter and strict rhyming scheme; and there you have it.
So I designed the poem to combine a little nostalgia for the classical images of Christmas that were engraved in my memory as a child with the reality of shifting seasons; an expectation almost that we shall see a future where the golden leaves of Autumn become the image of Christmas; Spring arrives much earlier; Winter is lost forever.
I love crisp and cold weather. I love the four seasons. It is the stuff that made us and dozens of generations before us here in this temperate climate, what we are: sturdy, resilient and, above all, adaptable.
P.S. Millstones Wood is, sadly, dying because grazing removes any chance of development of an underwood and renewal of the wood itself. It has a character all its own, sitting, as it does, on the ridge of a hill, which leads to a trig point and three hundred and sixty degrees of stunning views. It is regularly windswept by the prevailing south-westerlies that sweep across the treeless moors of the Peak District, the effect of which is to give the trees a rather exaggerated tilt, some of which form eery arboreal sculptures. May be one day, in my imagined future wealth, I shall buy the wood and sponsor its renewal.
Happy Christmas Everyone..
..and I hope you enjoy the poem