Sick lights


Some mornings, when the light
is full of the furred and flashing
pounding of shells, shrapnel bright
and biting, bitter bile rises
like cockcrow from beyond the trees,
stirring the shards, pecking
and scratching with spurred feet.

Some mornings I close my eyes,
try to stop the dizzying, disjointed
fireworks dance, the techno beating
silence and, fumbling with trembling
fingers, hang above the roaring flood
that pours over the edge of the night.

Three Line Tales: Perseverance

For Sonya’s Three Line Tales prompt.
photo by Linus Sandvide via Unsplash



Almost five hundred years since the abbey was destroyed because a king needed a divorce and the extra revenues weren’t to be sneezed at either, and still the ruins fascinate.

He wanders the silence where grass covers stone flagged pavements, and birds nest in niches of crumbled stone where once prayers were muttered, lifting his torch to the sky opened by fallen roofs.

There is still so much majesty in the soaring stone that has never surrendered to either fire, cannon or the elements, so much that sings in the stonework and architectural grace—he tosses his torch into the petrol doused kindling—time to finish the job.

November Ekphrastic Challenge: Day 26

Today I chose the painting by Terry Chipp Restless as inspiration for day 26 of Paul Brookes’ challenge. It reminds me very much of images of Italian partisans in World War II.

TC26 Restless


They are never still, the young ones
who pierce the mists of obfuscation,
the cynics and doubters who believe in the stars
but doubt the reality of golf balls
and the great never-never.

They make a noise, the young ones,
when they let the words pour out,
the joie de vivre, soaking in music
and good-time drugs,
but they never lose the north.

They will be there, the young ones
who see the truth, the stars,
who have the dreams,
when the jackboots drum and the batons fall,
defending you, me and a noble idea.

I would have been like them,
I think, once,
I hope.

November Ekphrastic Challenge: Day 25

Today’s poem for Paul Brookes’ challenge is inspired by this painting, They’re supposed to be my dreams by Marcel Herms.

MH25 They're supposed to be my dreams, mixed media on paper, 21 x 29,7 cm, 2019


This is what you get, says the Sandman,
teeth and hands red and running,
this is what you get because there’s nothing else.

I shake my head until it almost drops off,
limp as a frost-bitten rose bud,
and the ocean stretches deep and blue and glittering.

The bringer of nightmares turns
away, and the world goes black
as a Sandman’s cloak, but in the dark

the waves still gleam
with the dancing of dolphins
and the golden sheen of apples,

and I smile
because he doesn’t know
that there are dreams too.

Progress report

I have a few success stories to crow about, so I’ll let them all go here.

First, I’m proud to have three poems in the anthology As the World Burns published by Indie Blue. I get a special thrill that my third entry is the poem that closes the collection. Yes, my desk is a mess but I can’t tidy it because of the ladybirds hibernating on it.



Second reason to be cheerful, a haibun of mine is one of the Ekphrastic Review’s five nominations for the Sonder Press’s Best Small Fictions anthology!

Third—my second collection of poems, birds and other feathers will be available in kindle version from November 27th (husband’s birthday) but the print version will have to wait until I’ve seen a proof copy, and that is in the hands of the postal service.

BAOF single

And last, but not least, I have finished another novel! I know, I do this often and nothing happens. One day though, I hope to be able to say, and somebody has picked it up.


I was too busy to ponder this month’s Visual Verse prompt. Just looked at it now and this one popped out instantly. Life’s like that.

Sky flutters
to get rid of the smut?

Birds flutter
never smutty
bright as planets
strung lights

we clutter
swaying among the effortless wings
hollow-boned grace

our machine-stinks
sky blinks.

November Ekphrastic Challenge: Day 24

For Paul Brookes’ challenge, the prompt is They say that about the meek by Marcel Herms.

MH24 They say what about the meek, mixed media on canvas, 60 x 50 cm, 2019

Ask no questions, hear no lies.

No rest for the wicked, they say,
the devil makes work for idle hands
and takes the hindmost,
but God helps those who help themselves.

Let me have men about me that are fat.

And we, the meek and mild,
the children and their mothers,
the poor and the dispossessed,
the widow who handed over her mite,
we who wait on the side lines for
those promised crumbs from the rich man’s table?

You have a lean and hungry look.

Blessed are those, they reply,
who turn the other cheek,
so as not to see the blow fall
at the other side of the street.

The earth teems with the meek
with no voice, the four-footed,
the winged; all creep into the abyss
made for them by the fat and sleek.

Haibun for stargazing

For the dverse prompt.

The most crowded place in the Milky Way

The night sky is always there though often veiled with cloud or rain, sometimes oranged with glare, sometimes floodlit by full-sailed moon, but the nights of no cloud, no rain, no moon, away from the orange stain that seeps skyward from the unsleeping town, are the nights to be swept into the net of the universe.

Soaring, we reach out to the million million blinking lights of the starcrusted sky, Milky Way spilt and pale, and the great fiery beacons that hold our spellbound gaze, until we see nothing but layers of light, hear nothing but leaves falling.

sky so high
and hung with lights and the dark
with fox-bark