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.


Lost and found

A nod and a wink to the dverse prompt, but not the prompt. The Bay of Naples.

Lost and found

The wind has lost its way, I hear
it rushing up and down the rows
the soldier-straight stalked rows of corn
that flap their paper arms, wind-torn
and shadowed by the black-winged crows.

The wind has lost its autumn voice,
the brisk and shrill that tosses leaves
like alms upon beseeching earth;
it sings in southern tongues tonight
beneath the stilly stars so bright.

The wind has lost, and I have found,
the path across the holy ground,
to where our dreams begin and end,
where dusk and dawn and moonlight blend
in whispered waves, the scent of pines.

I found the path beneath the trees,
that bend and bow beneath the breeze,
the corn-dry cantilena breeze;
and taste the distant southern sea
that rolled once just for you and me.

Wind changes

Wind changes

Walls run with lizard, ladybird, sun-shadows,
stone baking still though the fierce heat has gone,
shrinking day by day deeper to the core.

Meadow grass bobs with yellow flower heads,
sunspots, dabs of mauve, clover, thistle,
the dash of butterflies.

But wind rattles the drying leaves,
tossing poplar pennies, raining acorns
where furtive fur ruffles,

and the lizard lifts its head, sniffing the change,
aeons of memory of the great cold coming,
and the dark just beneath the hedge.

Coins and other sides

Coins and other sides

There are stories too sad to be told
to be sung by violins
shouted blue as a painted sky
and though we stir the bitter dregs
we find no sweetness.

Shadow is the other side of light
the dark juice that runs through the green trees
that outlines the softness of feathers
the silence behind the whispers
the sharp retorts.

Wind draws mist veils across the sun
and whips the storm clouds
driving ship-death upon the rocks
stripping golden leaves
and scattering the year across the mud

but there is always beauty
in water diamonds
bird music
the eternal light show of the universe.
Even when there is too much sadness to bear.


For earthweal.


When the leaves are drying, curling,
rattling in the rising wind,
sharp as the gunshots that ring
from side to valley side,
autumn’s beauty marred by brutes,
it’s hard to remember

~ spring ~

bird racket and squirrels leaping where leaves unfurl,
the stream racing after the rains,
light falling bright and green,
falling on a mallard turning in the flood,
her chicks bobbing boats in a baby’s bath,
their new voices thrilling.

The sun is on the meadow

The sun is on the meadow

The sun is on the meadow,
the hawk is on the wing,
and beneath the leaves’ dry murmur,
I can hear the chaffinch sing.

But the air is growing colder,
the nights are clear and bright,
and our hearts are growing older
with the failing of the light.

The sun is on the meadow,
though the wind is rising loud,
the hawk banks on the wild gusts,
soaring high, so fierce and proud.

I see winter in the cold stars,
in the glitter of their gaze,
and chaffinch, hawk and lovers
all regret the golden days,

when the sun was on the meadow
and winged the world with song,
but they’re gone the birds and lovers,
and the winter will be long.



Knots silken and hempen
cords wired like pianos
stretch and coil
but the tension won’t break.

I carry the worries of the world
in the mesh of these nets
and sometimes they drape the trees
in sorrow

tangling the light of day
birds’ wings and their autumn laments.
Sometimes one word is enough
to bring the forest crashing down.

The wind beneath the door

For the dverse prompt.

The wind beneath the door

Pain is always present in the cold bite of the wind,
early morning, and the dead leaves swirling,
the bones, too many, too sharp beneath the old cat’s fur,
the deaths and the regrets, too many, too late.
They never go, the needle-pointed jabs of memory,
the jolt of absences, the ghosts at the elbow,
when the laughter gets too free, and the light
seems so bright it will never fade.
There is a reason in the ache but not a remedy,
a wound but not a lesson, a scar but not a healing.
The animal curls around the hurt, seeks not
to measure good times against bad, to remember.
Our pain is the shadow behind the sun;
without it would we even feel its golden warmth?