For the dverse prompt based on five of the ‘charms’ of Samuel Greenberg author of The Pale Impromptu.

We walk and wade through swamps of yellow dreams,
sluggish where the mud sucks, root-tangle entraps,
and wake to the grey life that sucks and entraps,
and the consumed moon that drips like molten wax
into the slow swell.

But some nights, we walk, wade through fields
of flowered scents, the palmed rose rising in blue air,
and we pluck long stalks of meadow grass, string pearls
from tissue made, wear them like the chain of Brísigamen
until the night pales.

We walk, wade into the eye of sun opening,
into the misty pearl sown with rose petals, the song
of red-gold memories and the chink of precious stones,
and perhaps, just this once,
the grey will lift.

City garden

This is a really intriguing prompt (hop over to dverse to join in), especially as the words I chose quench.forest.rivers took me to my first job as a student at Seven Dials. Thanks for suggesting this, Sarah. I shall write another poem using the coordinates for where I live now.

No more green in this garden
the forest long gone
but the rivers still flow
of motleyed crowds then as now
and when I walked those seven streets

and though these days
I walk a different road
beneath a different sky
no sea no ocean weight of time
can quench the fire of bright memories.

The leaves upon the water

A ballad for the dverse prompt.

Dead leaves fall on the pool beneath the willows,
Red gold just like the colour of your hair,
As it lay against the linen of the pillows,
While the wind blows through the branches stripped and bare.

The wind blows through the branches sighing sadly,
A song of summer past, the swallows flown,
Of storm and gale and sea swell crashing madly,
And those who left, while I sit here alone.

I sat and watched the leaves drift on the water,
Too happy to see how some men deceive,
When I was full of pride in our first daughter,
And you were thinking of a way to leave.

You left, before the budding of the sallows,
The fever struck when came the winter cold,
The fever took the child too at all Hallows,
And I am left with naught but to grow old.


Not sure if this hits the prompt, just my usual sort of mystical ramblings. For the dverse prompt.
Editing because I didn’t answer the question and realise I don’t know what to say. There’s a mystical quality to poetry and the writing of it and I always listen out for it.

Caillou High

There are no trout in this deep pool,
and though I peer with seeress eyes,
I see only damselflies
and the rapid scissor-dart of frogs.
I peer, see only in the mud, the wreck
of trees, the flotsam banked
like intricately woven dams.
No hazel twig hangs in suspense,
but whitethorn berries crowd the bank,
red-cloud the branches overhead,
and in the clouded crowd of small
white moths, I see the pearly drops
of moon, the fluttering ash of fire spent,
and know that you will come no more
to watch for trout in the damsel pool,
beneath the cooling white-moth moon.

Haibun for return of the sun

For the dverse prompt.

Rain cloud hung heavy. Days were cold and wet and nights were dark, but today the sun came back, the wind turned and brought the warm breath of the west. Butterflies, orange ochre and blue, danced, lizards skittered over the walls, and the new fresh green was like a premature spring.
I should have written the moon, but the sun is still in my eyes. It brought a flock of egrets, moonwhite, and herons, flying so low one grazed the windscreen of the car with trailing legs. Breathtaking.
whatever the night
there is always a moon


For the dverse prompt. I used to be an activist, defender of poor, minorities, worker’s rights, women’s rights, but the cacophony has grown too loud, too insincere, too many causes spitting on the cause in the next street.

I will not pick a cause and howl injustice
while abusing those who disagree,
I will not defend a man just because he is black
if he treats his wife like a punchbag,
or a woman just because she is a woman
if she holds down her daughter
to take the excision knife,
or a kid just because he’s had few chances,
if he murders a woman because she’s a Jew.

I will not make a pecking order
of grievances for human kind;
let them learn that respect for each is the only way.

I will defend the voiceless,
the trees, the birds, the slaughterhouse meat,
the homeless of the jungles,
the tuskless elephants, bulls bleeding in the arena,
badger and fox cubs thrown to hounds,
the victims of our barbarity,

and I’ll tell you why:

because they know respect and loyalty
and their form of love, courage, and generosity.
They know no cruelty, no genocide,
no slavery or misogyny or the refinements of torture.
I will speak for those who have no guilt,
for those who pay the price of our inhumanity.


For the dverse open link.

Photo ©Felix Uribe1600px-Bubulcus_ibis_Garcita_bueyera_Cattle_Egret_(6549249775)

Up in the field behind the plough
that chops and churns the heavy clay,
the egrets flock, a snowy storm,
bird-blizzard, feathered phantoms walk.
Heron-tall, but not so still,
they stalk, stork-white amid the clods
and stand like sentinels in white,
beneath the sky so burning bright.

Slow-flapping wings where tractor plies,
this autumn ploughing, out of time,
the crisp air, leaf-fall, hawthorn red,
is just a wish, a memory
of other times when ploughs would climb
the hill amid a cloud of crows,
so long ago, another world,
I scarce recall how north wind blows.

Here where pink hibiscus blooms
and regal purple, roses climb
where lizards fly like dragon birds,
and dragonflies skim swallow light,
I count the egrets on the hill,
the snow white birds beneath the sun
and wonder if white grace will run
in feathered streams when summer’s done.