No autumn this
chill and solid rain
no mellow fruitfulness of fruit
already fallen shrivelled in the heat
the brusque shift brutal

the slope too steep
we shiver
no autumn flame fading
from fierce to mild memory

leaves blown already brown
sink beneath the torrents
to an ignoble end
sludge beneath heavy boots.

The ocean rises these days
to wash away the sun
the dust of summer
with melted ice in its breath
the ground bones of glaciers

and the world changes
the rough beast we have woken
slouching not to be born
but to devour our prattling
and sabre-rattling idiocy.

Spring wind


Wind winds through cracks and crannies, picking at

the insulation around the frames of window and door,


poking frigid fingers into spine and soup, chilling hot

food with a frozen flap of the hand. Wind whines in


the chimney, rattling doors to get in, riffling the pages

of an open book, rustling like dead leaves or flame-


crackle in the stove. Wind wins the battle with defences,

teasing the cracked plaster apart to whisper with thin lips,


This is the way of spring, the bright promises made, the

singing and the shooting, the sharp cut and thrust of birth.

Blue as frost

A collaborative poem with the Oracle. Perseverance through to the last page of words often brings a hopeful ending.




dogs my steps


light shivers

a dance

of broken glass


beneath this sky

that none can warm

no breath melt the ice


only fools

find joy

in wild mornings


broken things die

enfolded by clouds

and the night


yet they wake

blue as angels

in the soft vastness of home

Moon light

For Frank Tassone’s weekly haikai challenge, three gogyohka on the theme of the cold moon. The painting is by Marianne von Werefkin. Her moon is a sun.


in this cold sky

of dark night stretching

from the receding shores

of dawn and dusk

the moon lights


how can we say the moon is cold

when stone cracks and dead things lie

when we know our own hearts?

In this wintry world of night

moonlight is the only warmth


cold the sky

cold the earth

cold the stones

where hearts should lie

not the moonlight’s silvery touch

Night owls and cold moon

Kerfe’s owl again.

owl moon s

night is cold

full of stars and owls

hard brilliance

feather softness

bound in streamers of moonlight


night is cold

windows run wet

breath steams and streams

while the owl mocks

our shivering


owl song trembles

tremolo among the dark trees

warm notes

winged grace quavering

in the chill of starlight


moon round and pale

baleful silver

silent as owl-flight

casts a chill eye

for the night is cold

Cold coming


This world turning spins cold where heat fluttered, languid

as flower heads, spinning frost webs among the green stalks.


It takes so little to chase the comfort from this space,

so little to chill the blood and spin the fear that the cold


will dig deeper this year until it reaches the core,

and the life blood will spill out in a stream of mist.


Birds hang in the cooling sky, hunting; night things

creep and stalk the frosted meadow, the fallen leaf-crisp,


and I shrink, cringe away from the night, the dark, the cold

wind and tend the flickering flames in the fickle grate.


Still chill

The north wind is still blowing hard here and temperatures have plummeted, down to I°C last night and only reaching 14°C in a blustery sun and cloud. Everything is suffering. Some of the grape vines have wilted in the cold, and the pyramid orchids that shouldn’t really have been out yet.

Last night we brought some of the army of plants waiting to be planted into the porch for shelter and today have been planting out some of the more vulnerable plants: four roses, a honeysuckle, one of the hydrangeas, a passion flower, a mock orange and an apple tree. It’s the tip of the iceberg. I took the photo a couple of weeks ago. The plant family has grown considerably since then and the porch is so full now you can’t walk across it.


Chill strikes deep

tender growth cutting

a scythe

before haymaking time.

Limp the flowers now

that bloomed too soon

and silent the hedge

where new things chirruped and mewled.

A handspin too far too hard

the breath of wind too cold

and spring turns inward

retreats what can

furls what was spread

face to the sun

and waits for better days.