Just the end of something

storm sunset very saturated

It is not bitterness
that runs through the deepening sky,
wind and water braided,
shot with the palette of infinity;
the black is not death
or ulterior motive
and behind, always
the night ocean swells


petals fall
torn by end of summer wind,
white, red, pink
piled beneath shadows,
and the moon that soars
in the bird’s egg blue of the sky
will always hatch
another winged spring.

Shooting stars


Nous sommes tombés du haut,
on dit, brillants,
éclat perdu dans les ténèbres osseuses
nous perdons le fil
filant comme des étoiles.

Il était une fois dans un rêve,
enjambé de chevaux bleus,
des petits fleurs blancs poussaient
dans les empreintes de doux sabots¬
et l’odeur de miel. Mais

tout change, file,
dans des flaques d’eau et de sang
la vie sous les bottes,
qui battent la terre jusqu’à la boue—
il n’y aura pas de tempête, pas de cris,
seul les gémissements
d’une étoile qui s’étouffe.

Étoiles filantes

We fell from the summits they say,
dazzling, brilliance lost
in the bone-strewn darkness.
We are losing the thread,
labyrinth unravelling like unstrung stars.

Once upon a time, in a dream,
blue horse-galloped,
small white flowers grew
in gentle hoofprints
and the perfume of honey. But

all changes. What runs
in pools of water and blood
is life beneath the boots that beat
the mild earth to mud.

There will be no storm, no screams,
only the whimpering
of a single strangled star.


No autumn this
chill and solid rain
no mellow fruitfulness of fruit
already fallen shrivelled in the heat
the brusque shift brutal

the slope too steep
we shiver
no autumn flame fading
from fierce to mild memory

leaves blown already brown
sink beneath the torrents
to an ignoble end
sludge beneath heavy boots.

The ocean rises these days
to wash away the sun
the dust of summer
with melted ice in its breath
the ground bones of glaciers

and the world changes
the rough beast we have woken
slouching not to be born
but to devour our prattling
and sabre-rattling idiocy.


For the dverse prompt. I used to be an activist, defender of poor, minorities, worker’s rights, women’s rights, but the cacophony has grown too loud, too insincere, too many causes spitting on the cause in the next street.

I will not pick a cause and howl injustice
while abusing those who disagree,
I will not defend a man just because he is black
if he treats his wife like a punchbag,
or a woman just because she is a woman
if she holds down her daughter
to take the excision knife,
or a kid just because he’s had few chances,
if he murders a woman because she’s a Jew.

I will not make a pecking order
of grievances for human kind;
let them learn that respect for each is the only way.

I will defend the voiceless,
the trees, the birds, the slaughterhouse meat,
the homeless of the jungles,
the tuskless elephants, bulls bleeding in the arena,
badger and fox cubs thrown to hounds,
the victims of our barbarity,

and I’ll tell you why:

because they know respect and loyalty
and their form of love, courage, and generosity.
They know no cruelty, no genocide,
no slavery or misogyny or the refinements of torture.
I will speak for those who have no guilt,
for those who pay the price of our inhumanity.


Threads loop about the cooling drying stalks,
wreathed in rain-spangled spider web
from thistle head to oak summit.

They tie me to the stray that stalks
and perches on the windowsill nights,
looking in.

Threads pull skeins of birds into tight flocks,
slacken as they soar, balloons,
weightless through the clouds,

hauling in the stars
and laughing gull laughter
at the falling rain.

Threads loop and necklace drape
about faces never seen,
drawing words from voices never heard,

but hearts have no need of faces, voices,
and the threads that join them, taut and tight
as gossamer in the rainy meadow,

need never break.

This morning

A hind runs under the window
In the pale grey light of morning
In the cold light rain of morning
Russet leaping against the green.

In the pale grey light of morning
Beneath the dripping trees
Russet leaping against the green
A hind runs through the meadow.

Beneath the dripping trees
In easy muscled movement
A hind runs through the meadow
To the thicket by the stream.

In easy muscled movement
Hooves light among the leaf-fall
To the thicket by the stream
She bounds and halts to listen.

In the cold light rain of morning
A hind runs under the window
Driven to race through leaf-fall
Pausing only in flight to listen.

Equinox tanka

Fun with Google translate, or the perils of trusting a machine to make poetry.

sun moon day night
balanced the space of a day
before earth tips spills
rain fills thirsty mouths washing
summer’s dust-dry taste away

gives this (inaccurate) French translation:

soleil lune jour nuit
équilibré l’espace d’une journée
avant que la terre ne tombe
la pluie remplit la bouche assoiffée de se laver
le goût sec de l’été loin

then back-translated to English:

sun moon day night
balanced for a day
before the earth falls
the rain fills the thirsty mouth to wash off
the dry taste of summer away

Morning and figs


Morning mist lifts
slow and damp
and gold fills the fields
always gold even at noon
now strewn with orange leaves
and the soft brown wings of songbirds.

Morning lifts.
I climb the hill
between fluttering leaves
fluttering wings
and the glorious rich smell
of sun-drying figs.

Morning melts
into midday
into noon
then dusk and night
carried in the dance of leaf and bird
and the smell of ripe figs.