Yesterday was infernally hot, and not too far away in the pine forests of the Gironde, it was an inferno. The inferno continues, and cooler is only relative to unbearable. The warblers are singing again and the wood pigeons are cooing their soothing verses, but there is still no rain.
There will be violent storms this evening, but bringing only thunder and lightning and high winds. The red heat alert has moved to wildfire alert, the lightning of a rainless storm could start a conflagration anywhere in these tinderdry lands.
I’m tired of hearing silence, the climate disaster nowhere on the political agenda. The cost of living ie the cost of petrol, is so much more important than the reality of dying.
Our world is burning, our home, but we cheer on the Tour de France and argue about pronouns and the weight of the average school satchel.
I’m tired of hearing only the crackling of the flames.

Why do birds sing
when the sky reflects only the anger
of the parched earth
shrunken and cracked yawning wounds
and the crisp brown of tinder?

Why do the wood pigeons
persist in feeding their chicks
among the fringed leaves of the mimosa tree
when the sun is a demon
and the stream has run dry?

Being only human, I have no answer,
know nothing of giving so much
and expecting nothing in return.
I know only how to take,
to start the fires.


A Sea Wolf’s wish

Sometimes, the words go off on a strange tangent. Inspired by the random word selection in the previous post, there’s perhaps a poem in it.

A Sea Wolf’s wish

He makes a wish,
the lodestone showing north,
for the calming of the seas
and the calming of the storm.

The timbers of the deck are slick with water,
the sky as black as a whale’s dark throat,
and life has never seemed so sweet.

He needs no more wealth than his arms can hold,
needs only an oar to pull and a narrow ship
to take him home to the ones who are waiting.

His eye is fixed on the gap in the clouds,
the scrap of sky with a bright star showing,
and the trough of the waves is a passage grave,
the light at the end, a winter hope.

Through the fog of cloud
and the storm spray blowing,
the lodestar shines and the timbers crack,
the sound of the waves is his homestead weeping,
sinews shrieking and the snap of oars.

But the wish and the star and winter hope
find a path through the spray and the storm clouds breaking,
and he hears not weeping but bright, wild laughter,
as he follows the gulls and the guiding seals.

Leaping salmon

This is for Merril’s prompt at dverse. You can join in here.

Leaping salmon

In the pool beneath the alders,
where sun slants soft as butter through the leaves
and lies in pools of spangled light,
where midges dance, a ripple runs.

Sleek and black and quick as all wild things,
a young one swims, a coypu’s child.

I wish it was an otter,
a sleek and playful otter, never seen,
though longed for as a dog when I was small.

But this small pool and unimportant stream
could never hold the river king,
and I must make do with marsh beavers,
stolid cheerful marsh beavers, making do
with this creek that barely has a name,
paddling their roly-poly roundness,

while I wish for otters and the bright flash
of a salmon-leap, where hazels bend
over other streams, in other dreams.

Lake water

The dverse prompt is to write an ekphrastic poem based on a painting by Fay Collins. I have chosen this one Grasses at Ennerdale.

Lake water

There’s peace in the grasses, deep rooted in shallows
that mirror the sky and the roof of the world,
where water and meadow meet at the wild fallow’s
edge, green tossed with yellow with clover pink curled.

I sit with the light, among shed plumes and plundered,
as hues metamorphose from dove-grey to red,
as mists fill the sky with clouds billowed and thundered,
clear lake water washes our sorrows all fled.

Best wishes

Tis the season, so here’s a festive decoration from outside the barn door

couronne de noël

and one from inside the barn door in the kitchen


Kitchen barn door

House hunkers down. The folk that pad and trot around its walls the night have gone. Only the birds, ever-hungry, ever-cheerful chatter, fluttering from tree to tree and into the porch after seed and other necessities. A deer family ambles through the willows by the stream. Dawn sun streams gold, a glimpse of heaven before its flow slows and ceases. Cloud thickens.

days slip deeper
into the heart of the cold
east wind sighs winter

Life flies

I have two daughters in Italy at the moment, one in Milan, the other in Naples. The one in Naples will be back soon, the other will be back for Christmas, but perhaps not to stay. I haven’t felt so happy in ages.

Fifi's Alps

if you take your eyes off it,
just for a moment,
takes wing, flies, like nestlings,
leaves on jet plane or some other form of locomotion,
soars unaided,
taking memories of the closeness,
the warm breath of home,
arms enfolding, hands holding,
and suddenly, a shared part of the world
is a shade cooler, a place in the nest
half-empty, where it once throbbed with young

Danu’s children pass


Air too grey

between ditch and tree bough,

gone the sun.

We hear the rushing tide,

the dark night roaring that swallows the stars

and we shut our ears to winter’s song.


Through rain and streamwater

Danu’s children watch

with cold misty blue eyes

a summer world

of kestrels’ wings.


The world shrinks,

colour of water,

blossom chased into the past

like empty husks in the icy steppes.


I close my eyes, my ears, the shutters tight,

that the lilting wind melody

lull to sleep

the children of the mist,

and, their laughter ending,

the tide turn its ebb into the dark

to flow bright with summer kestrels’ wings

for we who cower beneath mortal skies.

Rain music and moon songs

I don’t usually bother the Oracle in the week, but thoughts were getting grim and gloomy and something prompted me to see if she had anything to offer me. I’m glad I asked.


Honey-shadowed forest—

did you see its water beauty

winding in its bed towards the sea?

Beneath a  misty sky,

blue dream ships sail

with rain music in their wings.

One day, I will follow,

singing sun and moon songs.


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