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.



18. (seven lines)

The photo is of the stream. I haven’t been over to the pool since the weather has been bad, too cold, dark and quiet.


No stars shine in the cold mirror,
no bright scintillating sky
is reflected in this dark pool.

I hear the stealthy movement
through the sedge and wait,
immobile, breath withheld,
for the wild thing to pass by.

The stones in the path

For dverse. I hope this counts as a poem.

The stones in the path

We would watch for the bus going past on the lane, know it would stop outside Mitchell’s barn, run out the back gate up the farm track.
The pavement of stone flags outside the houses was cracked sunken, unused.
The ruts were deep, full of coloured stones, green and blue, not river-smooth, not pebbles, bright and sharp as flints.
We’d run and she’d be there, turning into the track ,with her shopping basket and handbag, wearing her white suit with dark blue spot-and-shadow markings, like the breast feathers of a great solitary bird. An osprey maybe
Her shoes were dark blue, with laces and tiny holes in the leather. Her hair was a white bob, cheeks apple-round with smiling.
I’d get there first, hang onto the shopping bag, peep inside, the deep blue-purple of chocolate bars, and I would smile back,
turn my step to hers, walking, still hanging onto the bag, chattering, though that world is silent now.
That world is silent, but I remember every green stone, every throb of the starlings’ babbling on the telephone wires, every pulse of that warm, haunted heart.

even in the puddles
those days.

Dark times

This one was inspired by the random words Merril posted yesterday. It was freezing and dark yesterday; it’s freezing and dark today.

Dark times

No bird-voices ring out,
only the drum beat of the wind,
the fretful voice from the sea
and its uttermost depths.

It wakes the coiled cold
from its hold on root
and tentative rosette,

draws down the hawks and crows,
entices the fox, and explains
the sudden absence of mice in the house.

The world is hungry,
sheep huddle in the barn,
and the rain slices thin slivers of air
that cut like broken glass.

We prowl, voiceless and sleepless,
empty fields, looking for a sign
that these dark times are relenting.


This was the form Paul Brookes chose last week. The structure of the trimeric is simple, three of the four lines of the first stanza repeated in a cascade, heading each successive stanza. Trimeric poems tend to be short and imagist (as in my first poem), but there’s no reason why they can’t be denser (second poem). I enjoyed this form and will probably use it again.

January, early morning

Night is over,
light frozen at grey dawn,
a stopped clock,
its mechanism rusted.

Light frozen at grey dawn
hangs in mist wreaths
over frozen puddles,

a stopped clock
in a silent room, where
ash fills the hearth.

Its mechanism rusted,
this year grinds on,
drenched in fog.

Turn of the year

The world grinds on its hinges
with the rusty creak of rainswept trees,
black and dripping with winter,
and birds sing to ward against the cold.

With the rusty creak of windswept trees,
rain-light ruffles feathers,
ships tossed on stormy seas,

black and dripping with winter.
Horizons close, veiled in water,
endless tracts of grey,

and birds sing to ward against the cold,
to spell spring’s return and
ease the earth’s rumbling course.