Listen to the moonrise

After another anxiety-ridden night, I was expecting something apocalyptic from the Oracle. She teased this puente out of me instead.

Painting by Lionel Walden.


This is always about what comes after,

when fish no longer fill the oceans with stars,

when bird magic flies away

into the everlasting night,

when trees bow and die,

and only the sky, weeping hot tears,

is left to wake


~on the last morning of all~


the moon will rise

to swim in sky waters

to sail memories across the bitter blue

and find the light.

Somewhere it still shines.

Listen and you will hear the music

of rain on roses.


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Yesterday, Olutomi Akinsanya at Wordcipher suggested we pull a poem out of the exchange we had a few weeks ago inspired by my short poem Treeline. You can see the conversation in the comments. I had a go at it yesterday but we lost internet (again) for the rest of the day, so I’m posting it now. If I could choose an image for this collaborative poem/meandering it would be Kerfe’s painting to illustrate her poem Inside of the out both words and colours seem to me to fit perfectly. Thanks, Kerfe for the loan 🙂

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Here a mountain rises,

a woman draped in robes of flowing green

above a valley carved by giants at play,

and boulders tossed in some wild game.

Did they carve their runic names in coombs and craters,

wield hammer and water, riveting sea

to land with glittering fjords?

Here a sandline, spiked with desert-parched rocks,

runs doggedly miles, merging seamlessly with the sky

in rainbow strata, bright as the spread wings of bird-myth.

Wings spread and water pours, endless waterfalls,

emptying mountainous giant bellies,

spouting river cords, binding sea, land, mountain, desert

and the creatures of myth, mountain and sky.

All with roots delve deep in the ocean,

where sea caves echo with the clamour of stories,

the builders of the earth’s foundations,

digging, carving, shaping sea images,

purple as mussel shells glowing with pearl light,

echoing with the sad song of doomed whales,

then rising on monstrous tides,

soaring on phoenix wings above rainbow cliffs

and the still, craggy face of the mountain woman and her flowing

waterfall of greenery—nature, calm and chaos,

weaving the dolphin-leaping stories of earthlines.



Heat rises

evening june

Heat rises from baked earth,

sighs in whisper of thistledown and butterfly wings,

bathes in gold the green beneath

more and more relentless blue,

seeps in the sweet, ripe smell of bird-pecked figs.

Leaves flutter,

flickering the shadowed sunlight where

a blackbird sings softly, a trio of notes,

listening in vain

for stream babble

to finish the line.

I thought


I thought it was mist,

rising from the river,

creeping up the hill and rearing

in dragon coils against the dull sky.

I thought it was the setting moon,

glaring bloody red

through the leafless trees.

I thought it was the crackle of dead leaves,

beneath the hooves of startled deer,

but now I smell the fear,

taste the smoke and fire,

hear the laughter of the flames—

the world is burning.

Walking with trees

dverse is looking at madness today. Not a condition I’m acquainted with, but mild depression is something most of us have experienced at one time or another.


There are days when only trees will do,

or the way the dead leaves lie so still beneath,

and the stream trickles by with its watery song.

Those days, birdsong is the only common sense,

and the flash of a wary creature almost seen

is to be treasured, a lifeline.

Days pass and nights full of stars sooth

and draw the eye away from the black holes

in the head into the glittering cradle of the sky.

But the day I dread is the day I raise my hand

to pluck a ripe fig, blackbird crashing in the hedge,

the sky full of swallows and I let it fall,

because not even this immensity is enough

to drive the stuttering engine one moment further.