Mar 2013

January Colours

In the winter garden
of the Villa del Parma
by the artist’s studio
green
grass turns vert de terre
and the stone walls
a wet mouse’s back
grounding neutral – but calm,
soothing like calamine
in today’s mizzle,
a permanent dimpsey,
fine drenching drizzle,
almost invisible, yet
saturating skylights
with evidence of rain.

February Colours

In the kitchen’s borrowed light,
dear Grace makes bread  
on the mahogany table,
her palma gray dress
bringing the outside in.

Whilst next door, inside
Vanessa’s garden room
the French windows
firmly shut out this
season’s bitter weather.

There, in the stone jar
beside her desk,
branches of heather;
Erica for winter’s retreat,
Calluna for spring’s expectation.

Tea awaits in Duncan’s domain.
Set amongst the books and murals,
Spode’s best bone china  
turning a porcelain pink
as the hearth’s fire burns bright..

Today
in this house
a very Bloomsbury tone,
a truly Charleston Gray.

March Colours

Not quite daffodil
Not yet spring
Lancaster Yellow
Was Nancy’s shade

For the drawing room
Walls of Kelmarsh Hall
And its high plastered ceiling
Of blue ground blue.

Playing cat’s paw
Like the monkey she was
Two drab husbands paid
For the gardens she made,
For haphazard luxuriance.

Society decorator, partner
In paper and paint,
She’d walk the grounds
Of her Palladian gem
Conjuring for the catalogue
Such ingenious labels:

Brassica and Cooking Apple
Green
to be seen
In gardens and orchards
Grown to be greens.

April Colours

It would be churlish
to expect, a folly to believe,
that green leaves would  
cover the trees just yet.

But blossom will:
clusters of flowers,
Damson white,
Cherry red,
Middleton pink,

And at the fields’ edge
Primroses dayroom yellow,
a convalescent colour
healing the hedgerows
of winter’s afflictions.

Clouds storm Salisbury Plain,
and as a skimming stone
on water, touch, rise, touch
and fall behind horizon’s rim.
Where it goes - no one knows.

Far (far) from the Madding Crowd
Hardy’s concordant cove at Lulworth
blue
by the cold sea, clear in the crystal air,
still taut with spring.

May Colours

A spring day
In Suffield Green,
The sky is cook’s blue,
The clouds pointing white.

In this village near Norwich
Lives Marcel Manouna
Thawbed and babouched
With lemurs and llamas,
Leopards and duck,
And more . . .

This small menagerie
Is Marcel’s only luxury
A curious curiosity
In a Norfolk village
Near to Norwich.

So, on this
Blossoming
Spring day
Marcel’s blue grey
Parrot James
Perched on a gate
Squawks the refrain

Sumer is icumen in
Lhude sing cuccu!
Groweþ sed and bloweþ med
And springþ þe wde nu,
Sing cuccu!

June

Thrownware
earth red
thrown off the hump
the Japanese way.
Inside hand does the work,
keeps it alive.
Outside hand holds the clay
and critically tweaks.
Touch, press, hold, release
Scooting, patting, spin!
Centering: the act
precedes all others
on the potter’s wheel.
Centering: the day
the sun climbs highest
in our hemisphere.
And then affix the glaze
in colours of summer:
Stone blue
Cabbage white
Print-room yellow
Saxon green
Rectory red

And fire!

July Colours

I see you
by the dix blue
asters in the Grey Walk
via the Pear Pond,
a circuit of surprises
past the Witches House,
the Radicchio View,
to the beautifully manicured
Orangery lawns, then the
East and West Rills of
Gertrude’s Great Plat.

And under that pea green hat
you wear, my mistress dear,
though your face may be April
there’s July in your eyes of such grace.

I see you wander at will
down the cinder rose path
‘neath the drawing-room blue sky.

August Colours

Out on the wet sand
Mark and Sarah
take their morning stroll.
He, barefoot in a blazer,
She, linen-light in a wide-brimmed straw,
Together they survey
their (very) elegant home,
Colonial British,
Classic traditional,
a retreat in Olive County, Florida:
white sandy beaches,
playful porpoises,
gentle manatees.

It’s an everfine August day
humid and hot
in the hurricane season.
But later they’ll picnic on
Brinjal Baigan Bharta
in the Chinese Blue sea-view
dining room fashioned
by doyen designer
Leta Austin Foster
who ‘loves to bring the ocean inside.
I adore the colour blue,’ she says,
‘though gray is my favourite.’

September

A perfect day
at the Castle of Mey
beckons.
Watching the rising sun
disperse the morning mists,
the Duchess sits
by the window
in the Breakfast Room.
Green
leaves have yet to give way
to autumn colours but the air
is seasonably cool, September fresh.

William is fishing the Warriner’s Pool,
curling casts with a Highlander fly.
She waits; dressed in Power Blue
silk, Citron tights,
a shawl of India Yellow
draped over her shoulders.
But there he is, crossing the home beat,
Lucy, her pale hound at his heels,
a dead salmon in his bag.

October Colours

At Berrington
blue
, clear skies,
chill mornings
before the first frosts
and the apples ripe for picking
(place a cupped hand under the fruit
and gently ‘clunch’).

Henry Holland’s hall -
just ‘the perfect place to live’.
From the Picture Gallery
red
olent in portraits
and naval scenes,
the view looks beyond
Capability’s parkland
to Brecon’s Beacons.

At the fourteen-acre pool
trees, cane and reed
mirror in the still water
where Common Kingfishers,
blue green with fowler pink feet
vie with Grey Herons,
funereal grey,
to ruffle this autumn scene.

November Colours

In pigeon light
this damp day
settles itself
into lamp-room grey.

The trees intone
farewell farewell:
An autumnal valedictory
to reluctant leaves.

Yet a few remain
bold coloured

Porphry Pink
Fox Red
Fowler
Sudbury Yellow


hanging by a thread
they turn in the stillest air.

Then fall
Then fall

December Colours

Green smoke from damp leaves
float from gardens’ bonfires,
rise in the silver Blackened sky.

Close by the tall railings,
fast to lichened walls
we walk cold winter streets

to the warm world of home, where
shadows thrown by the parlour fire
dance on the wainscot, flicker from the hearth.

Hanging from our welcome door
see how incarnadine the berries are
on this hollyed wreath of polished leaves.

Nigel Morgan
Written by
Nigel Morgan  Wakefield, UK
(Wakefield, UK)   
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