Gogyohka: autumn rain


I look for light where there is none,

taste the wind

for a salt memory of the sea

and touch the wild grasses

for the fleeting presence of a hare


wind blows

full of damp grey ribbons of cloud

streaks and shafts of steely grey

rain-wet and dew-wet

and a scattering of noisy finches


dusk seeps and creeps

beneath the cloud

between the rain drops

among the raggedy grass soldiers

still standing

Haibun for a change in the air


The season is changing. The rich summer ending and memories of bitter winter ruffling feathers and fur. The trees around the house are full of songbirds again and a blackbird has made his HQ above the nail where the bird feeder will hang. A hare appears now each evening, coming closer to the house, squirrels chase beneath the oak trees where deer shelter, and in the evening, the dark is charged with owls’ cat-calls and foxes barking at the new moon.

changed air

heat gone from the gold

falling leaves

dance with birds

all finding their place

Come the day

I know ‘Ireland’s Call’ gets a lot of flack for being an awful song, but I like it, and as a message for a united Ireland, starting on the sports’ field, written by a Derry man, it does the job. Ireland beat (battered) Scotland this morning, and the tune has been trotting in my head.


Come the day and come the hour,

Come the last days of September,

When the leaves are falling thick and fast

Tossed by rolling winds in from the ocean.

Come the storms, their black capes billow

And poplars bowing in the tempest,

When the night is full of the sky’s dark waves,

Hear the parched earth whisper to the raindrops.

Come the dawn and come the morning,

Come the longed for deluge pouring,

Dry tongues lap the rain wished for summer long,

And the earth turns slowly into autumn.


Haibun erased for autumn rain




In this house, the only sound is the click of the keyboard and the hum of the flames. Cats, dog doze, thoughts drift into the dark. Night presses on windows with heavy hands, and I see no stars; clouds, rain-swollen, spread across the sky. Tomorrow will be the same, green, damp light and sodden leaves. Autumn clings.

from water we came

we wade in autumn rain

stream fills with brown leaves


The sound of thoughts,

night with no stars,

the sky, the same green light—water.

We wade in brown leaves

In this falling time of the year

Taking a poetry break. A terzanelle, though it preferred iambic tetrametre to pentametre


In this falling time of the year,

With golden leaves and berries red,

The rain and fog is grey and drear.


Beneath my tread the brown and dead

Of leaf fall, nut husk, seed pod strewn

With golden leaves and berries red.


The house sits silent, grey stone hewn,

Amid a rolling dewy sea

Of leaf fall, nut husk, seed pod strewn.


Falling rain and flailing tree,

In autumn gales we’re cast adrift,

Amid a rolling, dewy sea.


The sky is wild, clouds fly as swift

As white-sailed ships that catch the tide—

In autumn gales we’re cast adrift.


The bare-branched trees, leaves scattered wide

Are wreathed in fog so grey and drear,

Yet white-sailed ships still catch the tide,

In this falling time of the year.

WIP update, a photo and a poem


Since mid-July I’ve been working on a complete rewrite of The Green Woman series, and a couple of weeks ago I finished it. It has grown by 100,000 words and is very different to the original in just about everything. The central idea is the same, but not the way it’s presented, and the characters, the tone and the story threads are all different. It’s gone from straight YA to an older readership that I would describe as crossover adult.

About ten days ago I started revising another manuscript that I like a lot but was far too short. It’s now finished, 13,000 words longer and just about passes muster for length. I have two other projects that are started, and I should choose one of those and get on with it, but I think I need a break first—too many characters and too many stories still squatting my brain.

The brilliant hot summer weather has just broken this afternoon. Not with the thunderbolts and torrential rain we were promised, but the persistent wind rose to violent gusts, bringing rain clouds. It rained for a half an hour, the wind dropped and the evening is dull and grey. Summer, I think has finally gone.


The change is coming, the turning of the year into the dark time. South wind blows blue and the sky is still full of summer, but the shaking of the trees is eerie. Not just the whispering, sea-hiss of the poplars but the ploying and raking of the oaks and the alders, green leaves silver-backed writhe in torment on twisting branches with the roar of the ocean. Soon, the wind will turn, bringing cloud and rain, and the leaves will give up the unequal fight. Are they leaves or birds that scud across the meadow?

Do the hinds count the young ones left of this year’s brood, mourn the lost and cover the survivors with panic-stricken care, or do they cast a cold eye on the changing sky, the flickering leaves and listen for the heavy human tread, the snuffle of dog in the bracken? With grace, they melt into the shadows where perhaps another day waits at the other side.

Year ends in rain

golden and crisp, feathered

as fleeing birds.