Thoughts perhaps

For the last ten days or so I’ve been struggling to find a reason to keep on writing. It’s the time of year when death is uppermost in my mind, my mother’s birthday, the anniversary of her death, the festival of the dead and the start of the dark half of the year. Thanks to a friend insisting (nagging) that I don’t give up, I went back to the Oracle. I think the message is that some things don’t need a reason.

Forgive me if I don’t feel like ‘joining’ though, and have bowed out of the interactive scene. Hanging around on the margins is enough.

What follows starts with the eight square poem I wrote yesterday, leading into the Oracle’s response this morning. I have ended it with a coda of my own.


There is no more in these hands to

shape and form into butterflies,

no more music in the flute of

the wind. There was little of worth

and nothing to match the ripple

of stream or birdsong. Now I watch

the rain, the mist rising, sunlight

falling, and that must be enough.


Listen to the words in the wind that pours,

see how the ice grows red as fire in the sky,

fly in the face of the poison men spread,

and perfume the night with the scent of roses.

I will sail into this sky wet with stars (or is it rain?),

where the broken and the brilliant fish

their slow desires in the well of eternity,

where the morning wakes like thunder,

and your soft ghost of a smile

dances blue as the overwhelming salt ocean.


Wind blows sea whispers (from rock and wave)

across the skin of the sky,

rain sings in water shadows, purple and

black as a night far from the land.

I wonder if the moon is less than the sun

when she swims with dolphins through spray

petal light and creamed with foam,

and why I can no longer hold the elusive blue

and gold of twilights in my hands.

Is red the only colour of time?


These are questions few can answer,

perhaps the black pearls sleeping in deep waters,

perhaps pearls of moondrops falling in deep waters

or rain in puddles beneath a November sky.

Perhaps there are no answers,

perhaps they are the wrong questions,

but I will paint my thoughts in the sky

at the back of my head behind my eyes,

full of this sunset obscured by rain.


Mapping winter

Blow the summer sky into the past
bury it beneath last year’s dead leaves
and sweep it into purple sleep before the fall.

Dark days are coming
black wind-fingers plucking tree music
scattering leaf notes like startled birds.

The storm will pass
ebb with the hiss of a wild tide
the blue beaten and bruised

and we will learn to tread the frost
follow leaf-veined parchment maps
in search of hidden treasure.

Night air


Air too hot to move hangs heavy,
darkness weighing,
between sight and wavering stars.

Air as hot as high summer
sighs among the trees, these nights,
in breathless whispering,

buoying on its billows, owls
that drift from glade to meadow
stroked by unseen hands.

Air, a river, swollen
with the sluggish sloth of tropics
and troubled depths,

yet I hear it, nights,
in wind ripples, restless,
ruffling the careless hair of the poplars.


For the dverse open link.

Photo ©Felix Uribe1600px-Bubulcus_ibis_Garcita_bueyera_Cattle_Egret_(6549249775)

Up in the field behind the plough
that chops and churns the heavy clay,
the egrets flock, a snowy storm,
bird-blizzard, feathered phantoms walk.
Heron-tall, but not so still,
they stalk, stork-white amid the clods
and stand like sentinels in white,
beneath the sky so burning bright.

Slow-flapping wings where tractor plies,
this autumn ploughing, out of time,
the crisp air, leaf-fall, hawthorn red,
is just a wish, a memory
of other times when ploughs would climb
the hill amid a cloud of crows,
so long ago, another world,
I scarce recall how north wind blows.

Here where pink hibiscus blooms
and regal purple, roses climb
where lizards fly like dragon birds,
and dragonflies skim swallow light,
I count the egrets on the hill,
the snow white birds beneath the sun
and wonder if white grace will run
in feathered streams when summer’s done.

Three Line Tales: Anonymous

For Sonya’s prompt.

photo by Sunyu via Unsplash



I can’t write your story, but it’s written in your eyes, the days of tracking, the fear, the fatigue and in the end, the men with spades.

They dig until they reach the heart and drag it out, still beating.

I have seen them, the cubs still blind, tossed in the waste from the cowshed, and whenever in the cool spring night, I hear a vixen call, I think of them, and all the others.

Sometimes roses

There are roses on the wall and climbing,
To the dark of midnight, light of sun;
There are flowers falling in the garden,
Though throbbing, brazen summer’s not yet done.

There is darkness coming with the turning
Of the year, the guns already blaze,
And leaf pyres in the field already burning;
The acrid taste smoke in morning’s haze.

There are roses climbing through the roof beams,
And tangled honeysuckle, berried-black,
The pretty path is harder than it first seems,
And the truth is, you can never take it back.

Ripe stars

For the dverse prompt. I have used the line: Those/ pale /flowers /might /still /have/ time/ to /fruit from Karina Borowicz’s ‘September Tomatoes

Those summer nights,
pale with slowly winding stars,
flowers of fiery gas, blooming in the dark,
might once have been enough.

Still, the stream now, the running path;
have I lost the thread of happiness?
Time was when I knew the way
to you, to what was in our hearts.

Fruit falls, over-ripe, spills like stars.


In the dusk light falling,

where the trees are dark,

the shade so green,

I heard a deer bark, calling

to the shadows deep,

the empty meadow wide

and dappled with the dying sun.

No answer came;

the call rang fainter

through the dark trees

‘cross the meadow.

Find your herd, bright russet one;

the days grow shorter,

and the winter will be long.  

Out of kilter

Wind rose at fall of night,
the hot breath of the south,
dust-dry, its rasping tongue
lapped up the shadows’ cool
and soothing secrecy.
All things were bared beneath
the still and moonless sky,
while dead leaves crackled grey
in impassive starlight.


For the dverse prompt, a prose piece of 140 words including the line from Mary Oliver’s Death at Wind River:

In their dreams,
they sleep with the moon.

All night they rustle, the night folk, creeping stealthily through dry leaves, keeping out of the pools of moonlight, stalking though the thickets, nibbling around the edges of the meadow, racing beneath garden bushes. They have their tracks and their highways, more and more of them, as the daylight grows too noisy, too dangerous, too populous. They take to the night paths while men and dogs sleep, twitching legs and trigger fingers in their dreams.
They sleep with the moon, the night folk, though some once ran beneath the sun, curled beneath brambles and in the dense thickets of elm and hawthorn. They sleep while the day grows bright, the dogs sniff and whine, and fear creeps beneath the leaves, driving them out of sleep and secrecy, driving them, on and on, into stark winter and its treacherous naked light.