Green change

Cadralor inspired by today’s random word generator.

Green change

We wed the green and growing
to the grim grind of fabricated things,
tossing our debts to tree and planet
in the poisoned river.

Glaciers melt unremarked,
mountains slide to the sea,
but we kneel to old gods
and to cast out old demons.

Should we ever look beyond the cliff’s edge
to see the dark sail approaching,
would we jump?
Would we know that this means the end?

The questions chalked
on a childhood blackboard have changed,
our language adjusted to accommodate
new lies, new illusions, to deny the quicksand.

Yet if we peer through the mists,
the copper and bronze glitter
of ancient times still linger, the hope
that we might be better than we are.

Random word generator and other things

Yesterday I was too busy and preoccupied to post anything. Today I have:

Made a hedgehog house and café, away from the fence. The dogs scream at the poor thing as it tries to have a quiet meal under the plum tree.
Watched a young deer leaping through the meadow, the heron circling looking for water.
Written a letter to the tax people.
Walked the dogs and preempted a violent meeting with Imelda (cat) twice.
Made a hospital appointment.
Watered all the things in pots with water from the well.
Made a minestrone and the dogs’ dinner.
Written a few poems.
Revised a bit more of a manuscript.
Watched in admiration the changing light in this warm autumnal breeze.

Here, for those who would like to use it, is a selection of words that I didn’t post yesterday. Quite a good one, I think.

There are strange things hiding in these strings of random words, the limping laugh and untidy cry, a venomous cure, clam oil, ruddy muscle (or mussel) and the insistence on milk. And there are whole tragedies, the irate uncle with a secret, who imbibes until his state reaches alert, and the attractive skier now a grey stiff. Ultra regret.

This is what I got, a cadralor, I think. I chose this Chagall because it’s bright and full of music and movement, but also ambiguity.


We are a barbarous race,
build bonfires of all that is good
and scrape up scraps of tawdry leavings,
gewgaws and glitz, to venerate.

The peace breaks, a muttering in the air.
Did the wind swing the bell,
or does it toll in alarm at the change,
a gale gusting from the ocean?

Bird-talk, a busy painting,
a concert hall’s swollen sound,
laughter that dive-dips, the colour of jay’s wings,
the rhythm section of the chiff chaffs.

Speaking of God, I see him striding, the curé,
as if he still evokes fear,
seeing only the ghosts of the long-dead,
who would have bowed at his passing.

There is something grandiose
in snow-capped mountains,
and secrets shared with a cat, a baby,
someone who will never tell.

The end of something

The end of something

Waking is a dog-bite, rapid, unforgiving.
It leaves scars of the night,
snaps tight on dreams,
leaving only a scattering
of feathers.

You walked in distant places,
the dusk swilling around your walking shape,
your face a cloud.
This morning, a smile says more
than words.

We met a dog, hunter,
its approach hesitant, eyes evasive.
The sharp bark of command to return
was like an electric shock.

This season is sad as the death of trees,
of partings, getting older,
watching understanding dim.
We retreat into our shells
for comfort.

If, when this time passes,
we could walk without fear
that the sky may fall on our heads,
rivers may run again, and next year,
the roses.

I had a dream

Because my first Oracle-inspired poem was such an odd one, and because Kerfe’s poem was also a strange one in the same way, I went back, using the new word set this time. She gave me a cadralor, less enigmatic, and one of her favourite paintings (by Odilon Redon) to illustrate it.

I had a dream

I had a dream
blue lake violin music
drifting like mist
and in a pool your face smiling.

Salt clings to the skin
a memory of childhood oceans
sea caves echo
with a fading song.

Death waits
beneath every stone in the road
each step takes us closer.
Owls croon uncaring.

Spring shadows
were cool as moon eggs
summer hedges are red
with the flutter of departing chicks.

If I had a thousand lives
I would keep from each one
a single petal
and make one glorious flower.

Random word generator

I’m getting this in early because I won’t have time later. 100 random words from Oracle II. My poem is below. The Oracles work as a team.

Waiting for the rain

I hear the crash of dark waves
and the intake of mussel breath.
Lighthouse, coastguard, the beacon on the hill,
sentinel from another time, watch the darkness.
Fear, trepidation or curiosity hold our gaze,
waiting to see what will drag itself into the world.

We challenge history, deny the truth,
draw it out like chewing gum,
wrap it around a stick and toss it in the fire.
We have always done it, rewritten the facts,
and it has always been to justify
the flawed incubus of the present.

Some word associations feel uncomfortable
like Satanic verses, yet we see them
writ large in fiery letters every day,
their net cast and drawn in, wriggling and squirming
with the dark deformed things
that should never have seen the light.

Quickening, the leap of joy
that sometimes missteps
and never leaves the crucible of potential.
Not every wish is granted, not every shoot will blossom.
The quick and the dead, all the same in the end,
it’s just a question of time.

Cloud hangs low, damp smoke billowing,
and we watch for stray lightning bolts, listen for thunder.
Most of all we listen for rain, not the gentle foam hiss
among dry leaves, but the purifying torrent.
Night falls with the first drops
amid the release of withheld breath.

Taste of past places

I wanted to write a cadralor for the dverse prompt. I don’t think this is one really, and it needs more work, but it’s late. I’ll look at it again another time.

Taste of past places

We never ate out when I was growing up.
No money for that kind of thing
and where would we have gone?
Only with you, always with you, to sit watching you,
the sensual joy of watching enjoyment, indulgence,
and on your skin, the candlelight.

Hilltop town encircled by vineyards,
Giotto colours, background of ochre and eggshell blue sky.
I never even imagined living there.
Too close to perfection, even longing
for a green-shuttered house of orange stone
would have been a sin.

Shrieking brakes and voices raised,
anger dying down as easily as it flared.
Laughter and the roar of a scooter.
The gutters were full of cigarette packets, Nazionali,
And the streets always smelled of urine,
and pizza bianca from the darkly enticing trattorie.

So many times we slipped in among the students
and workers, the noisy, crowded places
where food was cheap, and there was no menu.
Always spaghetti with tomatoe sauce. Basil leaves.
We were i ragazzi francesi
not knowing enough Italian to put them straight.

Nights I smell things. The migraines do that.
Perfume sometimes or odd, dead things.
But I never smell pines and Nazionali,
sun cream with sand in it, pizza bianca,
Frascati and red Colli di Trasimeno.
I never smell the past that was where we began.

What we would do, if we could

Painting by Anders Zorn.

What we would do, if we could

I would heave these shadows overboard,
watch them shred in the spray,
blow away in the mist,
and let the sweet sea-light
flood all the dark places.

The dog with black ears
keeps a wary eye on the drunk,
singing now, but when he remembers
his bitterness with the world,
he will heap it all on that uncomplaining head.

Sun bakes beach sand brittle,
shrivelling the green of spring,
and we are blinded by wave-glitter.
There’s a haven over the water, they say,
but who dares swim in such fire?

A chaffinch sings in the summer tree,
filling the holes in the silence.
Flowers bloom between your words,
and you ask, how I can be sad in such a garden.
You don’t notice the roses falling.

Just spread grass beneath my feet,
forest shade about my shoulders,
let the wind make music in the leaves
and let me sit with you
while the rain drops diamonds.

Something better is coming, perhaps

Cadralor inspired by yesterday’s Mechanical Oracle word suggestions.

Something better is coming, perhaps

The letter stays unwritten,
the bell tolls in the rain,
and faces turn away, thin lips tightened,
keeping their words of kindness
for themselves.

The river has burst its banks,
the bridge unpassable.
Caught between here and high waters,
I wade into the leaf-swirl,
become a broken branch.

Summer oranges
in the sieved sunlight,
the smell of bread and coffee,
such wealth in this room
that has only ever known poverty.

The scales are level but only here,
on this cusp of time and place.
Beyond, greedy hands are building the pyre.
So much ash in the balance,
and I have nothing left to counter it all.

Night trees roll in a wave of ink,
the fierce day is over,
its heat drenched in the cool swell,
and joy in the shadows runs wild,
dark and sweet as purple wine.

A better place

The Oracle has her work cut out for her, to create a little optimism.

A better place

Who are these people who want?
To be, to have something different?
Refugees from themselves, ship-searching,
looking for an ocean of their own creation.

There is bitterness in this dawn
that drips with cold mist,
the kind that rots and rusts
even the brightest things.

They tell me there’s an entity
up there in the sky or down in the cool earth,
a mother watching, guiding.
I think I feel her presence, a mother screaming.

Perhaps the sun rises for this,
to end these mad dreams,
to dry up the mists that hide what’s really there,
the fallen trees, the orange decomposition of leaves cars.

Only when the storm dies
do we hear the sea whisper, of blue and better times,
a place where the only pounding is the surf,
and spring is soft rain and apple blossom.

Things that fade, things to come

Things that fade, things to come

The roses have fallen
wind-plucked petals
but their music still plays.

The woman wandered the forest
looking for beauty, not knowing
she carried it with her.

Rust has a smell of blood
the taste of iron
in the veins of all things.

My fingerprints on the rock
washed by the rain
ephemeral traces.

When this storm is over
I will see beyond the horizon
the white sails of the sea.