Small things

Our private wilderness

Cleaned and rearranged

A parade ground of trees

PENTAX Digital Camera

Rows of saplings

march in spindly ranks

across the wasteland.

Once the rusting girders

of forgotten engines

lay beneath a dancing riot of creepers.

silver grey


among the flowers,

the debris of an era

fragments of a busy past

washed clean by rain

and scorched

of all the oil and soot and noise

by summer sun.

Quiet now, picked clean

wood and iron revert.

But the saplings march

and in the van the diggers dig

clearing land billiard table flat

and the memories are dragged away

and buried

where the murmur of their voices

won’t disturb the joggers.

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They dug up the field

Where long meadow grass

Cradled old boats laid to rest

Their paint faded forget-me-not blue

To plant rows of tidy trees

PENTAX Digital Camera

There was a place

Beyond the town

Where grass grew tall

And a thousand birds sang.

Where tram rails rusted

And boats with gaping holes

fell quietly apart

beneath a sprawl of speedwell.

But chaotic nature jars

In a tidy town

where parks and gardens

with cycle tracks

and explanatory notices

large as tombstones

are so much safer

Than a quiet temple of memories.


Another Paradise

I have no use for your paradise

full of scum repented at the last

a motley crew of priests and politicians

delinquents and dictators

the brutes and the bores

les infréquentables.

Your paradise has no place for those I call my friends

who give everything and ask for nothing in return

whose eyes are full of trust, deserved or not

and who find their joy in another’s happiness.

Give me the deep earth for eternity

the vibrant earth so full of life

and let my essence mingle

with the blood and bones of those

excluded from your eternal bliss

because their humble hands

have never learnt to pull a trigger.

In the forest

In the forest a leaf falls

And feeds the snail

That feeds the thrush

That the fox takes to feed her cubs.


In the forest a tree falls

And the fox wakes

To catch a rabbit sniffing green shoots

So the shoots grow.


The rain from the ocean pours

And the earth drinks

Feeding the shoot

That grows to a tree.


In the shade of the tree

Fox lies where snails glide

Watching the rabbits

While the thrush sings.


The sun shines

The rain falls

And the ocean rolls

While in the shade of a tree

Young foxes tumble

Among the first falling leaves.


Fox waits

Shoots stems stamens

Stalks and sap striving.

Roots and rhyzomes

Deep in the damp dark

Digging and delving.

Leaf furls worm curls

wave rolls on the windswept beach

Hail batters rain patters

And the raw smell of animal hair.

The bird in the egg struggles

Magpie snatches.

Hawk hovers

Voles mice shrews scatter.

And cradled in the warm earth

Fox curls around her young

Waiting for the wheel to turn.

©Rylee Isitt
©Rylee Isitt

Night poems

Bright white light

Almost day

But not quite



* * * *

His cloak

the black velvety night

Orion stands,

a star on each shoulder

his belt the light of a million worlds

and at his feet

the brash puddle of the city.

* * * *

So many stars the sky’s net is full

* * * *

Cat on the wall

stares at the stars

not returning their distant winking

dreaming of sunlight

and the tremulous softness of birds

* * * *

Deep night

full of toiling clouds

their struggles

etched in silver

by the wandering moon


Spring Earth

Dark earth twitches with tiny life,

Pale and grotesque,

Blindly industrious,

And sharp crocus spears thrust to the light

Through last year’s rotting leaves.

No human values apply in the real world.

The slug, the crook-legged insects,

The sharp smell of rottenness,

All have their place with the new, unfurled leaf,

The graceful curve of a rose petal

And heady garden scents.

The rose dies, a brown sludge

And brambles bar the way as well as any wire.

Songbirds die exhausted after winter fast

And plumage dulls beneath the creeping lice.

Beauty and ugliness

Two words with meaning only in the world of man

Who makes and breaks and judges what shall be and what shall die.

Give me the morning, sharp and cloud-smudged

With the tang of rain in the wind

And I will raise my face to the sky.

The man-made paradise

With shark-free lagoons of heavenly blue,

Concrete pools, ice-chinking drinks

And misery behind the barrier of palms

Is uglier far than this dark earth

Creeping and busy, full of dead and dying

And life.

© Axel Kristinsson First Flowers of Spring
© Axel Kristinsson First Flowers of Spring

Happy cat poem

The workmen disturbed the nest

too close to the kittens,

too loud.

Fearful of too close too loud

she looks for another place

far and quiet

and finds it on the landing

by the door of the empty flat.

Dust in the corners,

old papers, cobwebs, and no light.

No more too close too loud.

Safety and peace of sorts.

The time for a kitten to grow.


Cat poems

When the wind blows cold
and there is no shelter
from the lashing rain
cat curls among the market crates
and cheats his empty belly
with the smell of butcher’s meat.

* * * *

In the dark places

where the streetlights die

cat prowls



searching for an open door.

* * * *

Clouds gather


rain spats


cat slips


into the cellar


* * * *

Sky colour of mud

rain dull pewter

a cold curtain.

In a dark corner

the stray cat waits

his eyes on the closed door

and the empty bowl.

* * * *


in the night

is a cat’s furtive footfall

and the hot hiss

of the stars