Cold? Nah, Just Brassish… #garden #philosophy #poetry

There’s an old expression about the cold: ‘It’s cold enough to freeze the knockers off a brass monkey’. Which sounds rude but isn’t (or so the Archaeologist told me once – something to do with how they used to stack the iron cannonballs on board Men’o’war using brass racks – called monkeys. Since iron shrinks in the cold more quickly than brass they would fall through the gaps in extreme cold and, well, you get the picture).

Thus when the temperatures dropped and the pond iced over, I trooped around the garden to see the signs of life.

I’m never sure if I have a favourite season – sometimes these days I wonder if the seasons I used to know as a kid exist any more – but I definitely enjoy winter. Not necessarily the cold, when it’s biting into my neck like a vapourised vampire, but the stark scenery, the bare branches showing me what the trees really look like, when I can see the ground laid bare with small signs of life poking through and hinting at what’s to come.

In fact, put on the spot, I much prefer cold to hot. I’ve managed to put on so many layers I feel like Bibendum the Michelin Man but I’ve yet to find a way to remove my skin in order to try and release the captured heat.

But, yes, it’s the trees that win me over, sculptured against the sky, fractured into fractals. waiting on Mother Nature’s dropped flag to Go! and start budding up.

All of which puts me in mind of a set of three sonnets I wrote a while back on the subject of climate change and the changes wrought to the seasons as we know them. Enjoy. Or maybe just ponder on… like Dog…

A Springless Future

Cold Jack, content and job well done, creeps home

Allowing Spring her turn to warm the earth.

Crocus tongues push out through softening loam

As glass-eyed shepherds watch their flock give birth.

We, unplucked youth, prime cocked with urgent sap,

Feel the tug of Nature’s call to breed.

Like sheep, we follow Her bewitching map

To plant, in fertile earth, our febrile seed.

Yet somewhere Nature’s diverse scheme is lost;

Our black-fuelled lust sears seasons into one.

Our greed neuters Jack; he has become a ghost,

Sharp fingers culled by a remorseless sun.

Why should our lambs breed, given this breach of trust?

We’ve fried this once green Earth, turning it to dust.


Global Warming: The Future’s Hot

 His skin is a sticky backed plastic,

One he made earlier. A white

Crust forms, pores oozing their oily mastic,

Like a shield displaying the toiler’s blight.

He bows his head against the drooping sun,

Leans into the teeth of the harsh solar wind;

Effortful tears round his farrowed eyes run,

Each suppurating drop leaving him blind,

False-stepping from trimmed field to tangled Web,

While arrogant man thinks he’s in control;

The future’s a desert, his life-waters ebb,

Jet-glazed, he continues his skills to extol.

For our children the tide will lap them with dust;

Our bequest will be fields we have covered with rust…

Tilting The Future

We’ve browned off the Earth with careless needs

Thoughtless beyond our artificial horizons;

Enlightened by science, scattering seeds

Of our potential destruction. Denizens

Of Earth shrug – having a secular faith

Expecting absolution; they plough on

While the plough rusts in the field; a wraith

Of their lush youth melts in the heat. Clarion

Calls dissipate. Tipping points have passed.

Narrow minds ‘know’ summer’s oven is a phase,

Seasons change: solid winter never fails its task.

Oh history, be their teacher – Time’s backward gaze:

Recall the dinosaurs; even they all died

While the rest – the birds and beasts survived.

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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44 Responses to Cold? Nah, Just Brassish… #garden #philosophy #poetry

  1. Ritu says:

    I’m not sure of my favourite season either!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Love this, stunning photos.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. What lovely flowers! 🌸 We’ve only ice and snow round here, still.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Our current seasons well evoked

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Mary Smith says:

    I hate winter. I love some aspects of autumn – the warmth, the colours, the fruitfulness but always feel melancholy hovering because autumn leads to horrible winter. I wish I could hibernate.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Looks like spring blooms around your place. Is that a quince with the pink blooms?

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I tend to weep with despair when reading such poems – at what human arrogance and ignorance has done and continues to do. But much of humanity today makes me want to weep with despair so I’ll just enjoy the pics and Mylo again and say I love all the seasons except for the heat of summer.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Very nice poems! And your photos inspire me to take a walk around my house and see what might be making it, even with the cold. Fingers crossed for my oleander tree!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Funnily enough, a dash of cold air would be very welcome at the moment! I love all seasons for varying reasons, I especially enjoy the in-between seasons of Autumn and Spring. Why? Well, I am always up for change in the weather by then. Made me smile “ponder on like Dog”. Good old dog and lovely that he gets a mention!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Charli Mills says:

    I’m actually enjoying winter at the moment. Love the season you’re in? England always looks to be in some varying shade of green. But who knows what is in store for any of us with doubters and flamboyant capitalists burning our future brown rather than curb our impact on the places we call home. Good to see dog.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Norah says:

    Thanks for explaining the brass monkeys. Although I am familiar with the phrase, I wasn’t aware of its meaning (and yes, thought it rude).
    Your photographs are beautiful. Spring is on its way. We’re sweltering here in Aus with all temperature records broken. I may not like the cold (your cold) but I sure as hell, don’t like this heat.
    I enjoyed your poems, your first one most of all. Jack was a familiar sight in my childhood days, but he’s crawled away to hide and hasn’t been seen for many years.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Jennie says:

    Gorgeous photos, and thoughtful words. The first signs of spring are the most glorious. We have a long way to go before we see any signs.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. willowdot21 says:

    Lovely post, beautiful photos the last poem is my favourite though all are good.
    “Recall the dinosaurs; even they all died
    While the rest – the birds and beasts survived.”

    Liked by 1 person

  14. JT Twissel says:

    You’re a great poet! Of course, we hope mankind has gotten a little smarter over the last years but it seems we take one step forever and three backwards.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. ellenbest24 says:

    Tis with a calendar of seasons we feast. Lucky to spot the changing beast.
    Drops of snow bloom the way
    Until crocus too short like me to swoop and sway.
    Tits with eggs astride the nest
    Worms to fill the reddest breast.
    And so we hope to always see
    The altering seasons bring
    The humbleest Honey Bee.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Elizabeth says:

    Ask the Archaeologist if there is a historic reason that the phrase “cold enough to freeze a witch’s t**ts isn’t rude.

    Liked by 1 person

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