Night walking

For the dverse prompt. It’s a while since I’ve done one of these, and the constanza is a new form to me.

Night walking

I will go walking through the night
and dreaming face the coming years
though some will sure be full of tears,

and take the path of brightest light
between the trees and by the stream,
lit by the moon and this bright dream.

The moon to guide, no star so bright
no planet shining in the dark
more splendid than this crescent spark.

Though moonlit trysts can seem so trite,
they beckon, dark and silver trees,
and whisper secrets in the breeze.

I’d run with you, dark woodland sprite,
through all the years come weal or woe,
we’d make our home where poppies blow.

I will go walking through the night
And take the path of brightest light,
The moon to guide, no star so bright.
Though moonlit trysts can seem so trite,
I’d run with you dark woodland sprite.


I always look at this type of prompt, hoping that the line of poetry will be one that could possibly be slipped unnoticed into a piece of prose. More often than not, I don’t see it. Merril’s offered line from a poem by Sara Teasdale, though nagged at me because it suggested something that I only understood this morning. 144 words exactly.

You will do anything for me. Always have. Anything within reason at least; I’ve never asked anything truly outrageous of you. But am I just being selfish? I keep asking myself if I doing the right thing. How can I be sure?

I shall see again the world. On the first of May a new life begins for all of us, though I will be the only one to leave. I will take myself and my self-doubts to that shining city I have always dreamed of visiting and build a new suit of armour, but this time, made of sunshine and cicadas.

When I return to the familiar, shabby and humdrum, you will all be here, still, always, unchanged. The old house, children, cats and dogs, the birds and the busy silence, and most of all, you, generous and loving. My immutable magnetic north.

New arrivals

This time in two weeks, we’ll have two new members of the family. It’s almost six months since Finbar died, and we have never got used to his absence. We thought we would adopt another ‘dog’, then decided what we really wanted was not another ‘dog’ but another Galgo. And we wanted a happy Galgo, so that meant at least two. They’re sociable animals, pack animals, and in the countryside, the occasions for socialising are limited. In any case, they prefer their own kind.

These two are probably brothers. They’ve been together all their lives and were dumped together at the refuge because they weren’t any good as hunting dogs. They have been waiting a long time to be adopted. It was time to give them a home before they lost hope.

The photo was taken the day they arrived at the refuge.

The Great Panjandrum moves

The NaPoWriMo prompt for today is ‘to write a poem about a mythical person or creature doing something unusual – or at least something that seems unusual in relation to that person/creature.’

I don’t think what I have written can be called a poem, not even a prose poem, but it’s a response to the prompt. An allegory if you like.

The Great Panjandrum moves

Darkness lay on the face of the Earth as it did before the Organisation, but now it crawled with men and their veils of fiery smoke. Above, in the sunlit uplands on their imaginary mountains and puffy clouds, basking in ambrosia and celestial harp music, with choirs of winged eunuchs and naked minors, the imaginary deities led their parallel existences. Some looked down with furrowed brow, some pointed and laughed or carpet-bombed with thunderbolts because it was Tuesday. And one looked away because, although He was omnipotent, He was powerless, or unmotivated, to stop it. It was one of the rules, and he had written the rules. Why, is the great mystery of Faith.

Darkness, thicker than ever, spewed and vomited over the Earth, and as they felt the end approaching, a great prayer went up from the suffering people to the imaginary host in the sky. In the past, the sacrifice of a child (spare daughter) would have won over most imaginary deities, but in the End Days, there was only the One. The Great Panjandrum. And ye cannot petition the Lord with prayer! Never, in the existence of humanity had the GP interceded to change the course of human suffering. It was an ethical thing. Upholding the free will of butchers.

But we are innocent! went up the cry from the depths.
The Great Panjandrum shrugged. No one is innocent. Except Mother.

And the weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth made such a clamour, that the imaginary mountains and puffy clouds rocked and put the chorus of winged eunuchs off its stroke, and the hundreds and hundreds of imaginary beings yelled at the Great Panjandrum to show misericorde. Hundreds and hundreds of former representatives of the GP begged Him. Even his mother begged Him to do something.

Finally, the Great Panjandrum sighed and peered over a puffy cloud, through the veils of smoke and fire at the heaving mass of dying humanity. He saw the outstretched hands of tiny children, the unspeakable horrors, and He pointed.

In a village, laid waste by a retreating army, among the heaps of dead and dying, a last execution was about to be held. The Great Panjandrum pointed, and the tank commander looked at his watch.
No time, he shouted, and his men piled into their tanks and left. In the village, surrounded by heaps of dead and dying, the baker, a corpulent middle-aged man in the terminal stages of cardiovascular disease who had never been known to give a centime’s credit, fell down on his knees in gratitude.
A miracle!

Satisfied? The Great Panjandrum asked.
His former representatives on Earth beamed, and His mother tapped him on the arm.
You see? Sometimes it’s good to act out of character. You’ve made one fat baker very happy.

Some things you can’t unknow

For the dverse prompt.

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host of golden daffodils;

I snap the book closed in annoyance and replace it on the shelf. And while you were wandering so lonely did you spare a thought for the daughter you left behind in France and her mother, whose chances of a decent marriage you scuppered?
Poets are supposed to be sensitive, but you doubt the sensitivity of a man whose sister had to drag him across the Channel to finally meet his nine year-old daughter, and then only to tell her mother that all things considered, he was going to marry someone more appropriate instead.
William didn’t make it as far as his child’s home, but apparently they had a nice walk along the beach at Calais.

Haibun for an uneasy peace

I have been staying away from my computer, staying away from the social media with their words and images that inspire so much sadness and disgust. Writing fiction is hard too, unnecessary, perhaps even indecent, when real people in real places are suffering, and who will read it anyway?

Winter shrinks like words
once written forgotten
ditches running bright.

The sun is bright between the clouds, the wind brisk but not cold, and the buds are bursting. Daffodils are over but the first forget-me-nots are blinking blue, honeysuckle and plum blossom full of scent and the humming of bees. Alder leaves are opening and elder, the first vine leaves, and the birds are too busy nesting to come to the house after food.

Fox sniffs the air
the storm coming in grey clouds
will break the sky.

The strip of un-grassed clay around the house we call a garden needs weeding and pruning, proliferation dividing, repotting. It keeps my hands busy, my mind on tiny things. It stops me wondering what will happen to these tiny things if, when the unhinged minds blow, the profiteers move in, and the tiny things are ground to dust, indistinguishable from the dust of the great big things.

Spring sparks daffodil
yellow against the blue sky
we still fear nightfall.

Hope Rage Sunflowers

I know a lot of poets have expressed a desire to ‘do’ something to help in the Ukraine. Writing poetry is one thing, but translating poetry into aid is also possible. This collection of peace poetry is one initiative I’m pleased to pass on. You can download the collection here, and you’ll find the link to make a donation after the title page. Please help. Every little is welcome.

Vixen sniffs the wind

For the earthweal prompt.
Painting by Franz Marc.

Vixen sniffs the wind

The days are growing tender green,
leaf green, shadow green.

Dark is softer, wind wilder, moon dances.

Urge is stronger, wilder, yearning
like green plants,
stretching upwards to the sky.

A fearful smell is carried on this wind,
blowing from where the sun is born,
behind the wild, warm scent of kin,
the smoking fire stink of man.

Kin, leaves, moon, I dance,
because it’s time.

Skin shivers.
And then?