Ride Out the Storm - Valerie Mendes
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Ride Out the Storm

Ride Out the Storm

Blenheim, 5 February 2022

Ride out the storm! Chill winds may blow
Bringing their lethal hint of snow
Spring blossoms flutter in the shower
Threatening to break their tiny flower
Dark clouds will clash until they hear
Those rains begin. Thus every year

We long for warmth, we check for signs
Of healthy growth. That mould … Benign?
Or newly hatched beneath the sky
When, silent and alone, ash die
Becomes ash fine. Big sigh relief,
March on determined. Every leaf

Now blown asunder acts as slime
I slip and slither every time
I skid and swear, I clench my fist
Banging umbrella against wrist
My hat takes off to find the Lake –
I watch it leave me as I make

My way back home to friendly soup
Umbrella inside out. I stoop
To check my Christmas rose. Her droop
Warns me her colours will be gloop
Beneath the snow, now falling fast
I close the door. I’m home at last.

Ride out that storm! My chimney weeps
Diamonds of sooty feathers. Cheeps
Of tiny hatchlings grumble. Moan
The acid gusts, those nasty groans.
But storms though stormy come and go:
Bring me my shawl, it round me throw
And I shall sing instead tonight
To celebrate tomorrow’s light.

For Sir Sam Mendes CBE
who gave me my marvellous Woodstock sanctuary
with gratitude and love