Tears and tears

The dverse quadrille theme word is nick. Not an easy one, which is maybe why I did it.

Photo ©Forest Wander


Looking at the night sky

I remember why

it makes me cry—the light

the sight of so much beauty

so high

tiny tears in the black curtain

and the light pours away like

tears from the heart

nicked by your knife-point’s casual twist.



The dverse prompt is cat poems.


Cat-shadows slip,

silent as the water’s breath

above the stream,


where, quick as dragonflies,

barred and spotted as tree bark and sun-dapples,

hunters watch with green eyes,

patient as stone statues until

the leap.

And when dusk fills the spaces,

a tide of darkness, washing colours and birdsong

into the night,

cats slink, grey as mice and storm clouds,

to  corners, curled and comfort-scratched,

at the centre of their realms,

to sleep.

None so blind


The truth is there

in the morning dew, the evening mist,

in the careful tread of the deer

in the curled bud of a rose.

The truth is in beseeching hands,

reaching from the waves.

The children with death in their eyes tell it best,

and the mighty forest, no more than a raw scar.

The truth is in the melting icecaps,

the cows that never walk on grass,

the children forced to take up arms

and kill parents and siblings.

The truth points its finger at us

every minute of every day,

its dance macabre darkening the noonday sun,

empty  ribs casting shadows on the sand,

on the pavements, on our faces,

but we are what we are—

none so blind as those who will not see.

Simple pleasures

I wasn’t going to take up this dverse challenge because I really couldn’t imagine any situation where anyone would say: you will love again the stranger who was yourself. I’m not even 100% sure I understand what it means.

Anyway, I did it, a 144 word flash fiction from the Eric Morecambe school of literature—all of Derek Walcott’s words are there, just not necessarily in the same order.


I never wanted to see you again. Love given and tossed away will have that effect. I used to think I knew you inside out, but you became a stranger, to me as well as to yourself. I never knew who was pulling the strings—you or some deity having fun with us.

It’s been weeks. I’ve stopped counting the days. Your face still shines out of every man’s I meet, his features morphing into yours. Even though I’ve changed jobs, changed address, I still dread bumping into you. But a message from Brenda in my inbox made me smile.

She said you’d been into work with a big bouquet.  When she told you I’d left, your face crumpled, your whole body sagged—like cancelling a kid’s Christmas. You turned in silence, head bowed, abandoning the flowers at reception.

I hope they were expensive.




Ripples of truth

I didn’t think I was even going to attempt a sestina, the dverse prompt, but after reading Kerfe’s beautiful poem, I decided to have a go. It’s an early Medieval form, intended to be sung, so I reckon it ought to have a rhythm. I’ve stuck to the original iambic pentametre and chosen end words that rhyme to give it a bit more cohesion as I can see it’s a form that can easily end up saying nothing at all. I think I still agree that the poet gets more out of this than the reader, but I rarely turn down a challenge.


Ripples spread from pool to pool, unfurl

Like roses blooming when their petals curl

About a raindrop, while the cloudy sky

Drips into pools and always pools reply

With ripples, glittering in the fitful light

Of day, and silver moonlight in the night.


Listen hard and you will hear the night,

Its music play, its dark leaf flags unfurl,

Beneath the dapples cast by soft moonlight,

Where sleeping things in secret burrows curl.

Listen to the owls call, the reply

That ripples in the stream of starry sky.


Before the dawn, the overarching sky

Is wing-flecked, starlit still. The night

Is full of owls; listen how they reply,

When wind blows through the trees, their leaves unfurl,

And whispers day is coming, time to curl

About your young and sleep, to flee the light.


Songs ripple from bird throats to greet the light,

Oceans of sound that fill the morning sky,

Waves of music roll, like breakers curl

And sweep into the shadows left by night.

While one by one the rose petals unfurl,

I stand and listen, learning to reply.


Water falling, feathered flutes reply,

Just listen to the wind, follow the light,

Wisdom of deer and owl will then unfurl,

Written in the cloudless morning sky,

Those stories told by foxes to the night,

The songs sung as the first tide’s wavelets curl.


Among the roses, birds flit, grapevines curl,

A thousand voices ask and I reply,

In this place where time is hung, the night,

The moon and stars, the darkness and the light,

All that ripples, runs, sings to the sky,

I will protect, my mother-strength unfurl.


Though this reply may fade, mist in the sky,

In dazzle-light, lie hidden by the night,

In a petal’s curl you’ll see its truths unfurl.




This poem is very loosely inspired by Migratory birds by Desanka Maksimovic. (sorry, can’t get the accent). For the dverse prompt.


Geese fly south when the cold bites

and makes them cry for fledglings

lost to fox and hawk,

to the death of hunger-weakness or guns.


Geese fly, and their cry echoes in the winter sky,

the cry of ice-bound reaches that I will never see.

The geese fly south to winter warmth because they must,

and the hunger-weak fall behind.


Although I am not a goose,

and my winter place is my summer place,

and my chicks never died of fox or hunger-weakness,

still their cries tear a reply from my heart


for all that is left behind

and all that will never return.