From fish to frogs


This streaming sky,

dark as a concrete river

clouded with dim-seen fish dips low,

an ocean of marble,

veined with lightning streaks.

Listen to its secrets booming loud,

though no one hears.


The long, slow night flows,

feeding tree roots with silence,

breathing moisture into leaf mould,

waves washed against trunks—


Their voices are there,

put your ear close to the heart and listen.


Perhaps later,

with the sun in our eyes

and the liquid joy of over-spilling ditches

bright with frogs

and bending boughs dripping with birdsong,

we will hear the clamour of life,

the plea to live and let live.


When stars wake

Photo ©Arctic light – Frank Olsen


When stars wake at morning,

women have wept fire in the night,

their tears melted the empty glass.


When smoke rises through velvet-furred trees

colour of cloud, moving like the ocean,

its billows will speak with one voice.


Listen to the red hot words of cloud, rain,

the sun-singing tree birds, the universe,

and follow the dance of sparks in the night.


Listen, or peace will never linger long;

like a barely remembered perfume,

it will slip through your open fingers


as they grasp at the tails of comets

that have already hurtled into the dark.

Listen and you will hear the stars weeping.

If I have grown


If I have grown from the mother sun

and the countless spangles that strew the sky,

who, what, will

they blow winter winds and rip the shadows

of her shining ship to shreds while you watch?

Would you?


Black is beauty, you say, like the night

with its diamond rivers, but so is light,

rising from purple to pink and gold, smiling—

a mother’s face?


Rain whispers, this too is spring,

and behind the clouds we are still together,

you, me and the mother of us all.


Moon draws a red blood-loop of sun flares

about the stars, waxes with withheld breath

and bathes us in cool silver so we sleep

you, she, me,

through the storm of night, light and shooting stars.


Still, with sleeping ears,

you, I, we

listen to her music soar high as roses

reaching to the sky

and water falling like tears of joy.

And the deep dark follows us


And the deep dark follows us into the earth

along the path to the mountains’ roots,


no warm wandering in the sun,

blossom to berry, dawn to dusk,


a river of light.


Watch the fruit fall from the horns of the moon

and the stones bloom with the colours of happiness.


Will they seed-spring, tendril-twine,

or will all wither on the vine and

water run dry, bird, bee fall silent

and leave the rain-quiet glade?


The air still breathes gentle in the grass beneath the shade of

forest trees, singing the songs of why and which, you and I,


making poetry from frost flowers

and the rustle of rose petals

falling though a summer night.

Broken are the good

A visit to the Oracle which probably fits the GloPoWriMo theme of dreams too. The painting (naturally) is by Odilon Redon again.


Broken are the good

though they were flawless as marble

they sail now among the slow stars. I

s s s

see their yellow-prowed ships

in the meadow among the flowers.

Is life only because death?

Between dawn and dusk

what does the waking rhythm say

words music or the digging of dark holes?

Is is is

this their time then the leaving

with trails of memories in their wake

a phosphorescent stream?

I touch the pale echo of their passing

ing ing

caught in buttercup petals

and I hear in the golden bee-touched bowls

the fierce song of the universe.

In the window of the morning.

The Oracle sent yet another poem about a tragic female figure. I found this Waterhouse painting to fit the subject, and there is a window, onto another morning.


A child explores a broken cup in the grass.

Had it held poison once, does she remember

the woman weeping in despair

and and and


Her ghost haunts the shards,

life spilling an ocean of wild pictures,

a a

an embrace then death.


She raises the cup to her lips,

her dreams stirring uneasily,

lets the liquid memory pour

in perfumed peace, a slow stream.


Would time have made a difference?


The girl shakes her head with a soft smile,

Best to make an end

and sleep in the arms of the trees.


From the night, the woman sighs, agrees,

Let the day grow dark,

so so so

this glass may shine

like a star in the grass

for a child to find

in the window of another morning.

She asks

The last line of this collaborative poem was taken from the final page of words, so the Oracle’s contribution ended on an optimistic note. I’m not complaining.


She asks:

Where are the trees in this world, the laughter and the joy?

I saw something creep away with the young red fox,

slip into the blue horse shadows, a trick of the morning light?


Some things I remember, bright days and white

sails on the horizon, the wild breeze scattering

winged brilliance across a gaudy sky,


but the colours died when the source dried up

and the stream ran no more. Ice haunts these

nights now and an ocean of steel and concrete.


She says:

Listen to the echoes of grass and the liquid trill

of the birds. They linger among the stars, only

waiting for you to hear and call them back.

Waking to singing

Collaboration with the Oracle after a much better (drug-aided) sleep.


Morning breezes blow away the darkness of

night, and the sky smiles, sings with bird voices;


broken pieces of blue fill ditches with glitter,

kindling the roots of an ocean of flowers.


What has our concrete world to offer, what

stars smoke through the urban fire-dazzle?


Do we hear the singing, see the dancing of root and

branch, the maze of nest-weaving speckled with shells?


Perhaps if we dip deep into the real that clings beneath

the nails, dark and dirty, following worm galleries,


we will remember the path of the song and feel the

light touch of unadulterated joy on our skin.

Glimpse of the north

The Oracle sets the ball rolling, I pick it up and run with it.



Cloudy morning, no red sails on the horizon, the sky

leers with loose lips dribbling where birds dart,


perch in gloomy weeds. The day begins, growing out

of damp grass, spreading in overflowing ditches bright


as silver scales, running to a rhythm old as oceans,

wild as the stars that glitter unseen behind the sea-


sky mists, guiding geese north by ancestral memory,

a fierce longing for home that courses in the blood.


I watch, anchored by clinging clay to this green patch,

north here beneath my boots, worm-rich, spring-in-waiting.