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

One voice in the wind

I am tired of writing the same words,

feeling the same pain,

stifling the same tears,

hands raised to my face,

in a gesture of despair,

again and again.

Who am I?

What does my sorrow matter?

Not a jot in the sands of time,

the starred and clouded sky,

in your fossilised hearts.

But grains of sand make mountains,

the sky our rocking cradle,

and your hearts will shatter

beneath the great hammer of history,

if enough stars and grains of sand

join to form the hands

to wield it,

and one day,

they will.


For the dverse prompt.


Each gust tears a little more of the scenery,

plucking dry orange-peel leaves, one by one

from windy branches, sending them fluttering

like small brown birds.

There were orioles in the trees once,

now robins lord it about the woodpile,

bramble patch shrinks where persistent donkeys graze

And the fox rambles after dark,

and the owls drift in the night,

here and there,

like ships lost at sea.

Morning comes, sometimes misty,

sometimes frosts crunch a bit more of the summer

and we forget how green was green.

Sky rolls in a kaleidoscope of cloudy colours,

where the moon drifts in the daytime,

and the sun wraps itself in pale veils.

No moment is the same as the one before,

no bird flash of wings or fluted call.

Just blink and the little red deer is gone.

The skies are changing


The skies are changing, wild cloud streaking

In and out of sunbeams, veils of grey.

Roses heavy bowed with bee-loud scent

Strain against the wind, stain pink the day.

I hear your words again against the howl

Of crow-black branches, twisted by the gale,

They lie as dull as water in the ditch,

Their echoes faded like a distant wail.

Roses fall, wind bears all trace away,

The sky has changed, in stormlight shadows play.



Flowers open and fade,

trees sigh as branches crack in the wind,

and the stripped leaves bleed red into the earth.

Waves wash blue then grey,

rain rattles cold or feather-soft.

Movement there is,

in dust motes and the clouds,

in the wind and waves

and the flight of the swan.

Change and decay,

though our feet are planted firm,

and we shout loud at the waning moon, the setting sun.

Nothing stands still,

not even the stars

that are dead and dry as dust

beyond their false glitter.

Microfiction Three Line Tales: Ghost

This story is for Sonya’s writing prompt. The scene in the photo is as much outside my experience as a bazaar in Marrakesh, hence the rather fuzzy story.

photo by Clem Onojehungo via Unsplash


She had been going into town since she was a child, so long ago now the memories sifted through a veil of dust and rocky roads, so long ago she could no longer remember why she was there, or be certain of the way back.

She parked the truck, where her father had always parked before leaving her and her brother to amuse themselves while he bought whatever was on his long list from the one store, and stared about her in bewilderment at the strangeness, the bustle and the noise.

She shrank back from the crowds, pale, two-dimensional people who pushed past her, walked through her with a shiver as if they’d seen a ghost and her eyes wandered longingly back towards the road out of town, the dust veil, and the safety of the past.

Is there happiness?

Painting ©Bernardien Sternhelm


Is there happiness to be found,

to be picked up for the asking,

plucked from random moments

and the bustle of other people’s lives?

It used to be there,

I remember,

packed in books and chocolate,

and sauced with the scent of Christmas pine and pudding,

or filling the hours spent sifting pebbles and pond life,

while the world stood still and held its breath.

What remains of that wonderment

that filled to the brim the vessel of content?

Cloud hangs now on the horizon,

fear of tomorrow at every fiery sunset.

Grains of sand in the machine

grind and grumble through the blackbird’s song,

once beauty pure enough to stop the sun in its course.

The world is full of shadow,

and the limpid mornings,

the golden afternoons,

the birdsong of another time,

an echo growing fainter by the year.

When the darkness gathers

and the ricochets of broken dreams

fall thick and fast as bullets,

and the veil of fog on the river will not lift,

I reach out and touch your hand,

the pivot, the centre that must hold,

however thick the darkness grows

and the sunlight cold.