Keep Calm and Keep Walking🚶‍♂️

Hi, everybody!

I just got back from an invigorating and inspiring walk through the beautiful countryside of my home village of Meriden, here in the United Kingdom – walking over green fields and following trails that I have walked many times over the years, so much so that I know every blade of grass and every leaf of every tree like the back of my hand.

I have always enjoyed walking and I always take great pleasure in the time that I am gifted to be able to do it. I have been inspired to write many poems about my home surroundings and the natural world environment that I have been blessed to enjoy all my life – and, as a result, all of my books are filled with poetry and inspiration inspired by something that I might have seen, heard, thought about, or felt while walking.

I would not be the writer I am today without walking. I would not have written all that I have written if I had not fallen in love with the gift and the magic that walking or just being in the great outdoors has given me.

During my walk this morning I passed by a fellow walker who greeted me and wished me a “good morning” – which compliment I immediately returned, of course; and just before he and I parted ways, my fellow rambler said: “What a beautiful morning to be alive, isn’t it?” And I could not have agreed with him more, because this morning felt like a true breath of fresh air that I and everybody needed.

So, wherever you are and whatever you are doing this weekend, from me to you, I just wanted to say that I hope you have a wonderful weekend – and, if you can, take a moment to enjoy the natural beauty of what surrounds you.

Keep calm and keep walking, my friends!🚶‍♂️

-Mark

My Poem “Ramblers”

In the warm embrace
of the shining morning sun
I walked through a forest of trees…
in the bright and beautiful open air,
as I breathed in deep,
I found myself enraptured
by an instant sense of peace.

As I walked amongst the flora
and the fauna that surrounded me
my eyes were opened wide…
as my eyes were drawn
to all the colours that I saw
I experienced the sensation of
a door opening within my mind
and I felt as if I were somewhere
completely removed from time –
and it was this feeling of contentment
that made me close my eyes,
smile, breathe in, and sigh.

Within nature is where I feel
the most at home…
when I am blessed to see
a bumblebee collecting nectar,
or when I am fortunate
to hear the sound of birdsong,
or when I inhale the infinitely
complex fragrance of nature,
I wish that I could share exactly
what I see, what I hear,
what I experience, and what I feel:
rejuvenation, elation, and,
most importantly, overflowing
waves from an invisible ocean of hope.

I like to live in hope…
I like living close to nature…
I like to immerse myself in
whatever I find wherever I go…
I like wandering down a path
while wondering about the future.

I thrive on the beautiful poetry
of the natural world…
I am always inspired
after spending some time
visiting oases of life…
I feel like I can converse
with the blossoming trees,
the green fields, and with whom
and with what I do not see
without even having to utter a word…
there are times when everybody needs
to leave the beaten path and explore
what gives the wonders of the wilderness
its enamoring allure to those of us
who are commonly described as “ramblers”.

My Poem “Memory Lane”

Walking down and around
my old stomping grounds,
down the long and winding lanes
of the countryside near my home
that I know and could never forget –
especially now, while the world
feels like it has been turned upside down –
feels so rejuvenating, it feels so relaxing,
it feels like stepping back in time
and simultaneously being the man I am now
as well as the man I was back then
when I last walked this path,
as if I am in communication with myself
as I was five years ago in the past.

The grass looks just as green…
the budding trees look just as pretty…
the sky above looks to me to be
the brightest blue that I have ever seen…
the furrowed fields look just as
mesmerising as they always did –
in fact everything that I see, hear,
feel, and inhale of the nature that surrounds me
intoxicates me with its natural,
lush, and majestic beauty.

It is no wonder to me
that so many artists have attempted
to capture a view and the epic expanse
of a landscape within the confines
of the edges of a canvas –
because there is so much to be found,
because there is so much to take in,
because there is so many evocative
shapes, colours, textures, nuances,
wisps of language and meaning
that constantly jump out from
a green and pleasant environment
that has so much to say
and to convey about itself,
about who and what calls it home,
how it has changed and how it is
exactly the same as it was.

Quite often you find things out
about yourself that you recognize,
sometimes you might encounter
things about yourself that
you may have forgotten about,
and sometimes things can look different
when seen through the prism of time,
experience, memory,
and what we see can inform us
of exactly where we have been,
where we are going,
what we have been through,
and most important who we are –
and that is why one of the most amazing,
transformative, and rejuvenating things
that we can do from time to time,
especially when we feel like
our spirit needs a boost,
is to see beyond the frame of the present
and take a walk down “memory lane”.

My Poem “For Bake’s Sake”

Because of the current circumstances
that we all find ourselves within
so many people have been forced
to stay at home, to stay indoors,
and to stay away from
close friends and family members –
and, as a result, there has been
an increase in the necessity for
Internet bandwidth so that people
who are at home 24/7 can continue
to remain in contact with
the rest of the world,
so that they can continue
to be entertained
by all the content that the various
streaming services have to offer,
and so that people can continue to
engage with rest of the world
via all the forms and all the sites of
social media and social interaction
while the majority of the planet
continue to practice physical
social distancing between one another,
and there seems to be no more
popular activity than people
daily posting pictures, videos,
and even live streams of what they are doing,
what they are making,
and what they are baking behind closed doors
while they wait out the time of being
locked down from the outside world
which continues to progress at
the only pace that it is capable of taking.

We all have to do something
to pass the time when we are being
asked to do as little as possible,
to leave the house as sparingly as possible,
and to not interact with anyone
anywhere other than with those
who live under the same roof as we do –
and some people have chosen to
become home bakers, artists,
social media streamers,
book readers, television
and movie watchers,
and they have chosen to share
what they are doing with their
time of isolation more so
than they would if they were able
to leave their homes if
and when they wanted to.

Time goes by so slowly
when you have to look
for things to do
to distract you from the situation
that you find yourself in –
especially when you and everyone
you know is attempting to live
under a shield of quarantine
in an attempt to protect the lives
of their family members
and the world at large –
and which is why the allure
of making things and using your time
to create something and to share
the process and the end result
of doing something worthwhile
is what so many homebound people
have chosen to gravitate towards
and will no doubt continue to do:
because if this troubling time
is reminding all of us of anything
more profoundly that usual
is that time is precious, life is short,
and our human societies are fragile –
and that is why I think what people
are doing to pass the time while
they at home is important,
and whether watching, writing, reading,
making, or baking, what people are doing
is for all our sake and not just
baking for baking’s sake.

My Poem “The Long Way Round”

Some times it is good to go that extra mile…
some times it is worthwhile to go back
to where you came from…
some times it is good to revisit those places
that used to make you smile…
some times all you need is to return
to those open spaces that you will always remember
and let the winds of home
blow away the cobwebs of your memory,
and once again you can feel like you are
walking among old friends as you retrace
those steps that you made
that gave you a reason to not feel alone…
the shape of time is a sphere…
even those who feel lost
one day arrive back where their journey began
and again they feel found…
the walls that surround our heart
and our soul are crystal clear…
just as we take a step into the future
we also always take a step back into the past,
and while doing so we all always feel glad
that when given the choice to take the short and easy way
instead we chose to take our time, to smell the roses,
and see the sights along the way,
as we took the long way round.

My Poem ‘Back down to Earth’

I’m back now…
my second home is now
4000 miles away again…
I’m back below the clouds…
I feel like I am a man of two minds:
one, a proud Englishman;
and another, someone who feels at home
in Georgia, in the United States of America,
where there is more opportunity
to do anything, at any time of the day,
and at any given moment
as there are lanes on a highway.

I’m back where everybody drives on the left,
instead of on the right…
I’m back where I was born –
however, there isn’t a moment
when I do not miss the light of my day,
the light of my night,
the light of my life,
back there where you can see
fireflies flying and glowing
against the stars of a twilight sky.

I’m back wearing jeans –
however, only days before
and for two weeks-straight,
I had been wearing shorts
morning, noon, and night,
and getting touched on the skin
by the heat and the light of the sun…
I’m back walking down familiar paths
and sitting in the same chairs
in the same places that I know every inch of –
however, though I am awake and writing
here in England, I am also projecting myself
back to Georgia with Melissa
and dreaming along with her
and surrounded by the scent of a burning candle
that smells like coffee
when its wick burns and its wax melts.

I’m back where there are not as many drive-throughs
as there are in the US;
here in the UK, for example,
if we want to withdraw some money from our bank-account,
or if we want to pick up a prescription from a pharmacy,
we have to actually walk to somewhere –
however, in the US you can get money,
you can pick up your prescription,
as easily and as speedily
as you can order take-out food,
and you don’t even have to leave
the comfort of the driving-seat of your car.

Both the US and the UK share many things in common,
but there are many wonderful differences
that set them apart…
we have different names for the same things:
in the US, people seem to find more time
to celebrate and remember the liberty
and the freedoms that they are
constitutionally entitled to…
both the US and the UK even have
different forms of humour
and things that they find funny,
but both the US and the UK know
the true joy that comes with sharing experiences
together as friends and as a family,
and why it is important to smile and to laugh.

Both the US and the UK have for centuries now
shared a “special-relationship” with one-another,
and from my perspective and from my experience
our commonalities have no limit
to their importance and worth…
to me, both the US and the UK
are two sides of the same coin,
they are two halves of the same heart,
and I feel and I know with all my soul
that the US and the UK are bound to each-other
in more ways than could ever be described –
and when I am away from both the UK and the US
there are things and there are people
that I miss more than others,
but it is my knowledge
of what makes both the US and the UK
so special that always makes me smile
and always brings me back down to Earth.

My Poem ‘Waiting…’

Waiting… waiting…
I’m waiting for something…
I’m waiting for something,
and for this thing
I have been waiting all morning…
I used to think that I was good at waiting –
for my birthday, for Christmas, for the weekend…
when I was a kid I knew that within no time at all
my favourite days of the week and the year
would come around again
and within the blink of an eye
they always did…
but, I am all grown up now –
and as I wait now
for what I am waiting for to arrive and be delivered,
I now know the true meaning of the song lyric:
“the waiting is the hardest part”…
did I mention that I am waiting for something?

I have been keeping myself and my attention occupied
while I wait, I have been doing things
that I have not done for years –
but since I cannot leave the house,
and there is no one else
who can sign for my delivery for me,
I knew that I would have to keep
my eyes from constantly
looking at the time while I am waiting…
so I cleaned – I cleaned my bedroom window,
I cleaned the dirty-dishes from the night before –
I listened to music, I sat looking out the window…
thinking… wondering… waiting…
and now here I am, writing, still waiting,
and anticipating…
my morning and my day started early,
as it always does –
but now it is 2 o’clock in the afternoon,
and I am still waiting.

Waiting for what?
What is this something that is so special
that I would stay at home all day and wait for it?
Well, it is something special indeed that is coming –
something that you could say I am connected to,
and the reason that this something even exists…
what I am waiting for is something
that I have spent a long time invested in,
and as I wait for what I hope will soon arrive
I am even starting to have flash-backs
to my first encounter with the idea
of what is beimg delivered,
and I think about the journey that I and it
have already taken with each-other –
all those mornings… all those nights…
all those words… all those internal fights.

When you are doing things,
time literally flies away from you…
when you are watching something,
talking about something,
and when you take your mind off of something,
then the waiting for something
can be a little more bearable,
and less mind-numbing –
but waiting can sometimes be a good thing…
waiting can be exciting…
waiting can also be boring,
especially if you have been
counting how much time
you have actually been waiting…
time is a wasting –
but maybe it’s not?
At least I got to do something
to fill my time while I was waiting:
I wrote this poem that you are now reading –
so at least something worthwhile
came about and was born out of
all the time that I have been waiting…

My Poem ‘Welcome Back’

It’s been a long time
since I thought like a poet,
or wrote a rhyme…
I didn’t know if
I would be able to do it again,
when I opened my notebook
and I picked up my pen.

I have been enjoying life
living every day surrounded by love,
but now I am traveling
into the morning light
and flying like a dove…
an island on the other side
of the Atlantic Ocean is calling:
I am going back home
to where the temperature is low
and snowflakes are falling.

I don’t want to leave where my journey began –
I am happy to see my family again,
but I am truly sad to be leaving
the love of my life and my second family…
I can still see the last face I saw
before I left America behind for a while,
I can still see in my mind
the house that has been my home
for two weeks, or more,
that has the family name
hanging over it of “Dial”.

Once in a life-time memories made,
but now I am flying on a plane
to the land of Shakespeare,
red TELEPHONE boxes,
green-fields, and The Beatles…
in 10 hours, I will be back home in England –
however, already I feel a sensation
of ‘butterflies’, and pins-and-needles.

My mind is always in the rear-view mirror,
I am always reliving in my mind
moments that other people
might think too small
and too brief to be remembered…
when I left the U.S. tears fell down my cheeks –
whenever I have to make a difficult leap
it is always hard for me to know
what to say and how to speak –
however, though time has gone by too fast,
I know that this time will not be my last,
being where I think about every hour of the day,
with those whom cannot wait to see me again
and wish me a heart-felt ‘Welcome back!’

My Poem ‘Standing Rock’

All ground is sacred ground…
the Earth beneath our feet
has its own identity…
the world that moves silently through space,
and its spirit, is so powerful and nurturing
that it creates its own gravity
and a near-perfect environment
for all life to thrive and live…
all that breath in the air of the planet
to which we are all bound and indebted
are expected to not only take away,
but to give back in return…
our home, this world, is the home
of countless species and forms of life –
each and every-one given from birth
the rite to exist and fulfill their destiny…
some people have learned to understand
and interpret the timeless language of nature,
and they also understand that not only
does the Earth have a spirit –
so too do the trees, the plants,
the animals, the mountains, the rivers,
the seas, the fish, the microscopic organisms
smaller than the human eye can see…
every thing with a consciousness,
with thoughts, with feelings, with emotions,
with instincts, with a reason to be,
has a reason to be alive…
even a single drop of rain adds to our planets worth…
we are all luckier than we know
to live on the planet that do…
long after all the stories of our lives
have faded to dust, the Earth will still have
a billion and more mornings and nights,
Winters and Summers, frosts and thaws,
and the world will live on –
and though humanity will have gone,
we will still be ingrained in the DNA
of our home-world, and our monuments will remain,
just as the beautiful natural-monuments of Earth
will continue to boggle the mind
of everyone who is lucky enough to see
our planet’s deepest reaches
and its breath-taking, towering,
and still-standing mountains,
and epic formations –
our most special and sacred
wonders of Earth and rock.

mypoem-standingrock