Shiver

For dverse

Shiver

There’s a stream runs into the river,
With spangles of dapple quicksilver,
Where willow-wands trembling shiver,
Beneath the frosty moon.

There I watch the dimming of sunlight,
The sparkle-speckle of star-bright,
Leave my shoes in a pool of midnight,
Listen to fierce owls croon.

These mornings

For dverse

These mornings

These mornings heavy with rain,
drops quivering on grass stalks,
where wings flutter quiet as feathers,
I listen for the spring

clamour in running water
and the chant of chickens,
dog-bark at windblown scents
of fox and deer.

Listen, the oaks are singing,
leaves not ready to fall, give up
their root and anchor to young buds,
burnish-bursting where chaffinches peck.

These mornings, I listen where the thrush
pours water music above the stream,
and in the bird quiet in the deep earth
where my feet tread,

I hear the root and branch seething,
soft seep of worm galleries,
and the piping voices of sprouting seeds.
Spring-bubbling source of earth magic.

Tea and tree-rustle

I’m late looking at this prompt and I’m tired, but a challenge is a challenge. For dverse. I’ll maybe try again tomorrow.

Tea and tree-rustle

Tree-rustle and wrapping paper,
the sound of oak leaves falling,
snow spattering the window panes,
they smell of pine, sweet sherry and parkin,
and chocolate Christmas decorations.

The chink of china, teaspoons,
laughter, ham sandwiches,
and the crisp, crumbly sweetness of mince pies
linger, enveloped in the warm comfort
of old people and the neighbour’s cat.

Time halts on a precipice as the flavours
rise and mingle, lips move in faces
mouthing words that grow fainter with the years,
but the taste of all this is as present now
as the memory of how soft and yielding
was a grandmother’s lap.

Terre d’Oc

Not wishing to tangle with anything as complex and obscure as Early Medieval poetry written in Occitan, I’ve settled for plain modern French, a homage to the Pays d’Oc and the Troubadours, and where I live.
For dverse.

Terre d’Oc

Ces terres d’Oc, de Gascogne,
ce vert pays de collines douces
et grands fleuves tranquilles,
d’accents qui roulent dans l’oreille
comme le bourdon des abeilles,
comme des ruisseaux clapotants,
entre berges d’oiseaux chantants,
je t’aime.

Loin, les temps de la chevalerie,
la pénurie et la disette,
gras, tu t’étend au soleil,
damoiseau fleuri, épée oubliée,
le feu et le sang, un souvenir roussi,
comme ces nuages qui sombre
dans les braises
de ce doux coucher du soleil.

Losing it

For the dverse prompt.

Losing it

Amentalio beneath the pine trees
where the sunsplash and wave plash
ring with cicada-song.

Dimenticati i ricordi
the faces and the places
intaglio e impasto

chiaroscuro¬—
who slips through the shadows?
When did they leave?

The wind blows through our fingers
only the colour of the sand remains,
the smell of the pines.

Lamenti.

A rose is

For the dverse prompt.

The old man whose home this was before it was ours, was born here before the Great War. His mother planted a rose bush by the door. It’s still here, vigorous. It has produced the offspring he and his wife sadly never did.

Can a rose be a monument,
a reminder of a past slipping away
inexorably?

Did she know when she planted this bush,
not barley, not tobacco, not tomato or potato,
this frivolous, pale-petaled flower,
that could not be harvested or sold,
that it would still be here,
its scions flowering along the walls,
long after barley, tobacco and tomatoes had gone,
cows sold, pig sties dismantled?

Could she, whose hands planted and hoed,
mended and milked, have known,
long after wars and occupation,
times of dearth and empty fields,
and the long march across the Alps
of the poor who would make them flourish again,
that I, not Gasconne, not of this Italo-Occitanian soil,
would cup those same petals in my hand
and remember?

Fox night

For the dverse prosery prompt, a 144 word prose piece.

I dress in their stories patterned and purple as night’

from the poem, When we sing of might by Kimberly Blaeser.

Painting by Franz Marc.

Fox night

Light falls in pale bars through the shutters; mist rises, thickening to fog. The earth will be soft, the mud deep after the rain, and full of prints. I heard them in the dark, the foxes, the dog fox barking on the hill, the circumspect padding beneath the window of the vixen, the dash and leap of the cubs. I will find a tale beneath the tree where I put the food, a tale of full bellies and a full moon to light the way home.
I dress. In their stories, patterned and purple as night, are the pangs of hunger, fear of the hunter, the joy of cubs not lost to sickness or starvation. In the dance of their prints I read a little, but no human heart can ever know the wild tastes and tangs, loves and lives of such as they.