Autumn - Conker Hunting at Kirkstall Abbey

 picture courtesy of

A Sunshine Autumn Day to Play at Kirkstall Abbey.

Across the field ahead of us, a ghostly playground lies,
where fingers of dark granite point to copper, autumn skies.
We'll play amongst the ruins of a creepy haunted place;
where thorns on brambles grab us in a witch’s cold embrace.

Tendrils try to catch us so we crawl by on our knees,
then run towards the Abbotts cell, just by the conker trees.
The black of Rooks and Ravens, are they witches in disguise?
They watch us very closely with their beady, shiny eyes.

A north wind nips and pinches us with very icy fingers.
It gives us all our rosy cheeks and causes us to shiver.
Pulling on our coat hoods, we pretend to be like monks.
But if we really saw one, we would run and do a bunk!

We hide behind some bushes and hope we will not spy,
a very hairy, scary monk, with glowing big red eyes.
One stare and we’ll be turned to stone, and so we look away,
maybe we’d feel braver if we came another day.

Children shouting cheerily, we’re playing hide and seek,
hiding round the tombstones when we hear an eerie shriek
“Shush! Listen now!”We hear a sigh… is it a ghostly nun?
Then a creak,  a footstep, from a great big red eyed monk?

We all stop, scared and nervous, then looking at each other,
little Philip runs away, the coward who’s my brother.
He bravely swore he’d get the monk, and fight him face to face
He said he’d got his cowboy gun with all its caps in place.

“I thought we came for conkers.” shouts sister Caroline
From the bottom of a nun’s grave, deep and soft moss-lined
The Abbey house museum clock announces time to go.
Three rosy cheeked heroes, kicking leaves, aim for home.

And so we leave behind the monk with glowing huge red eyes.
He isn’t dead, but next time we will take him by surprise!

A Child in Gaza

This poem was written after watching this amazing interview with Israeli soldiers on channel 4 news at the beginning of the year - January 2011. It was wonderful to discover humanity in all the dust and rubble,death and sadness in Gaza. Hopefully there will be peace eventually in my lifetime.
White Flag in Gaza

I made the white bones of your city,
the skeletal fingers which point to the sky,
I made you homeless and cry.

I fired the white shells into your city,
I fired randomly and I don’t know why,
and I saw your parents die.

I saw the white clouds hanging over your city,
containing the sulphur that burns your skin.
I did nothing about it and that is a sin.

I turned and saw you - the child waving the white flag,
I then saw the whites of your eyes, and the fear within.
I looked and saw you recognised the fear in mine.

I saw all this as a soldier, as a child; and as a man
I was taught to kill, but now I know that I can,
say that I ‘m a human and as a parent I care
about a child with fear in it’s eyes and a frightened stare.
And a child who waves a tattered white flag,
is a child saved in Gaza.

Diana Leighton January 2011

Femme Sole

view from the M5 towards Brean Down, Minehead and Exmoor

Femme Sole

Start the engine,
Hardtop off,
Sun is shining,
Where shall we go?
Maybe the coast
Put on chill out CD
Ahhhhh sooooo cool.

Breeze brushing shoulders,
hair blowing, flowing.
Foot down feeling cool,
heart beating with the beat.
Smell the air… so green,
see the fields… passing.
Fall back into the seat,
driving my life forward
to who knows where.
Mysterious freedom.

Tapping feet,
fingers drum beat
on the steering wheel.
Sun is so warm on my arms
driving has its glorious charms.
Watching the world pass
through polarised glass in
my racing green machine.

Speeding down the road,
going where I want to go.
Music in rhythm
with the wheels.
It doesn’t feel real.
Feeling solitary,
in control.
Rock n’ roll,
Femme sole.#

# French for Woman alone



Early sun casts rays of gold.
Ethereal ghosts drift in mist,
a flash of light;
will 'o the wisp
whizzes by.

sits and knits
necklaces of dew filled
pearls, on strands of
to be worn
by Iris

glints of turquoise;
shimmering rainbows
hover over
wings made
from gossamer ;
She hovers
her tail

casting ripples
in still deep pools.
passing time, watches
as nymph
morphs into nymph,
still water
on warm days

\ /
on glistening iridescence; shimmering rainbows hover over
chiffon wings, seemingly stitched with gossamer .