Haibun for spring song

The dverse prompt is birdsong in a haibun. If you’d like to join in, this is the link.

The songs are short in the winter months, though the thrush thrills without a pause and the crisp air is loud with calls of crows and magpies, the chatter and clatter of woodpeckers and jays. But as the year turns the birds tune in. Great tits and warblers, chaffinches and robins, and though the mornings are for the thrush, the evenings swell with blackbirds’ song. Now that spring is full and sweet, the chorus is complete, loud and rippling, floods of notes, the nights are rocked with the cradle music of nightingales, mornings by the woodwind wake-up tones of orioles. And flickering to their own unmusical twitterings, swallows bank and weave in the first sun.
Wind in the leaves
water rippling over stones
magic in bird throats.


Into the dark, the robin sings

Photo©Brian Robert Marshall


Into the dark, the robin sings,

Notes fall sweet as summer-ripe fruit,

Crystal clear, a cascade of song.


Autumn gathers like storm grey cloud,

Days grow shorter; the wind blows cold,

Into the dark, the robin sings.


Muttered voices call in the gale,

Waves pound on the distant strand, yet

Notes fall sweet as summer-ripe fruit.


The world is turning; the night begins,

Still robin pours from tiny throat,

Crystal clear, a cascade of song.

Last songs


Though blackbird’s song is hushed, his eye’s still bright,

Searching through dead leaves while lasts the light,

The wind blows brusque and sharper every day,

No ruffled feathers keep the cold away.

Ripe fruit falls and bruises on the ground,

Too late for wasps, leaf fall the only sound.


From summer-weary birch tree boughs I hear

The robin’s song of notes, as sharp and clear

As icy water trickling in a rill,

As starlight glittering on a snowy hill,

Reminding me, sure as night fades at dawn,

That this sweet summer too is almost gone.

Microfiction: Chorus

For Ronovan’s Friday Fiction. The prompt is a concert.


It had been the longest night, of a fitful, light sleep between bouts of wakefulness. Each time she surfaced, the stab of pain had made her gasp. It had been the first night she had slept alone in years, and her body could not believe that he was not there. The space howled, the sheets tossed like an angry sea, and her hand reached out involuntarily as if it expected to find his warmth, that it had all been a mistake. But the night air moaned and muttered with his last words and she knew that those words could never be taken back. Even if she had wanted to forgive him, his pride would not swallow them.

Grey light fell through the cracks in the shutters and there could be no more pretence that there was still time for him to come home. The night was over, and he had not returned. He had gone where he had said he would, to those warm arms and fluttering, diaphanous smiles, all pulpous mouth and no words. As the light increased the hurt grew. She flung back the sheets and stumbled to the window, her back to the bed and the empty room. She raised the latch and pushed open the shutters onto a calm morning, lusciously damp and green. He had taken everything, she thought, even her pleasure in the secret dawn. Her mouth pulled into a tight, bitter line and she stared down into the garden angrily, as if she expected to find broken pieces of her heart lying among the flowers.

Then, slowly, hesitantly, the first bird piped the opening notes of its morning song. In the birch trees, the finches gathered, bright feathers catching the light, and the blackbird was joined by another, then the robin and the wagtails, the redtails and the tits, until the air throbbed and rippled with music. The tight line of her mouth loosened and she smiled. He hadn’t taken everything after all.

Drink, said the muse

A poem for Margot, the queen of blackbirds, whose Easter eggs hatched over the weekend, inspired by the Secret Keeper’s writing prompt. This week’s words are:



Drink, said the muse and you will know,

Look for the flame-lettered sign on the wall.

I own I saw no great symbol there,

Or tasted honey in that cup at all.

Watch my lips, said the priest, and believe,

The test of your faith; you must take my word.

I own I saw only a puppet leer,

And the wind in the reeds was all I heard.

The blackbird sings when the spring buds burst,

He sings his heartsong in a voice so clear.

I own I see roses in the sweet notes falling,

And the scent of pure love in what I hear.

Drink of this potion and know the answers,

Blown in the breeze as it ruffles the sedge,

Caught in the dewdrops that spangle the roses,

In blackbird’s sweet voice as he sings in the hedge.

The blackbird

A bit of self-indulgence for one of my favourite birds.


You sang your small heart to the summer,

Filled the woods with an endless song.

The soul of the orchard and hedgerow,

Your magic swelled all summer long.

But you wore out your heart with your singing,

Your brittle bones failed, not your art,

Winter’s white hand took your sweet songs,

And its cold fingers stilled your warm heart.

The roses have withered and fallen,

You have flown to the Islands of Bliss,

Where blackbirds still sing in the rose trees,

In that world so much gentler than this.