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.


Spring slides

Spring slides stealthily into summer
covered by the staccato fire of crickets
and the fluting conversation of orioles.

Bedstraw sheds honey beneath the shade
and in the hedges
among moss-lined twig-tresses
tiny bead-black eyes
watch the slow glide of buzzards.

Blue of fire

For the dverse prompt.

Blue of fire

Blue is the last to go,
when the waltzing pinks and whites and golds
are cold and grey with shadows,
and mist rising, dew dropping,
drained of day-life,
still as the ocean bottom.

I watch for pike where magpies waddled.

Above a wash of water-blue,
blue light,
the set sun, lingering by proxy,
pricked and pierced
by the jagged light of stars,
reefs in the deeps
where satellites float in their lonely glitter,
pretending to be meteorites or asteroids,

expensive toys lost in space,
where blue is fire.

World wakes

World wakes, slow and soft
as rain falling through the still grey.
Sleep never came;
the sound of wind and rain drumming
turned the wheel of the night,
and in the lulls, nightingales tried,
to fill the gaps in the tune.
Dark soft sleep never came,
though grey dawn
and the gentle drumming came,
growing lighter with the light,
paler than sleep,
with the rising song of blackbirds
and dripping eaves.
Sleep never came,
but the light broke in softness,
and through the opened shutters
paleness of pink and white waved,
green-grey meadow grass glittered,
moon and mist-silver,
and the long night fled.


The hills are lush
with woods and meadows
silent but for cricket chirp
and songbirds singing
and nothing moves
but the wind
stirring stalks and feathers
and me walking the lane
through lush woods and meadows
stirring the echoes of cattle long gone
the cantilena of Italian voices
working their land
their dream of lush green
where now I walk
the hills
singing gently.


The wind that blew all night

Painting by Krzyżanowski

The wind that blew all night has stripped the leaves
and ripped the ivy from the wall;
its hot breath bringing summer from the south
has faltered, anger in its mouth.
Wild storms will come, I hear the urgent call
of songbirds sheltered by the wall,
and nothing battles in the higher air,
no wings are crumpled, tossed aside like chaff,
the magpie doesn’t leave her swaying nest,
a feathered anchor for her fledgling brood.
I hear alarm in every leafy sigh
and sough of branches, heavy with new leaf,
in every flower head with petaled crown
that fragile, bows, so soon to come to grief.

The sky is singing

The sky is singing,
cloud chords plucked by languid wind-fingers,
life and death songs of sun on sea,
where the wind blows waves
to break in foam feathers.

The sky sings salt
and night scents of invisible blooms,
enfolding silver-sheathed meadow grass
in the cool silence of fox and badger moon,
the cropping of monochrome deer,

and I listen to the bell flowers
chiming in the hedge,
the water ripple of birdsong,
running into summer,

give thanks to the rooted force,
rising and falling in beauty,
that makes all these tides
ebb and flow endlessly.

Nightingale sings

Nightingale sings the sun down,
the moon up and the stars.
He sings through the night time
and the daytime without pause,
while fox and vixen walk the path
through meadow grass, through night wind,
beneath soft rain of song notes,
round, ripe, silver moongaze,
and the scent of early roses
in the dew-dropping air.


those eyes hold a reflection of the inside,
and in tight-curled fists, a fragment
of the last star that blinked
in the warm dark of the before time.

Hold it tight,
keep it safe,
they fade so soon.