Haibun for the talking baby

For the dverse prompt.

Babies learn so quickly, growing from unformed blob of glup to something that walks, talks and has its own opinions.

So few weeks ago
it was spring and these birds
were still eggs.

Between September visits, our small grandbaby has changed from being dog spectator, watchful and amused, to dog commander, dishing out treats from her plate, and expecting to be obeyed in all things. She follows them about, calling, but of course, they don’t understand their new baby names, and of course, baby gets furious when she has to shout twice, or ten times.

Scattering leaves
with a swirl of red skirts
summer leaves the stage.

By the end of the autumn, who knows how her wings will have grown. Perhaps Bee and Emon will have learned a new language too.

In the porch
dog watches leaves bowling
remembers the sun.

Bee (more commonly known as Bix) stealing the talking baby’s lunch.

Emon (Redmond) and Bee (Bix) early morning June, hence the green.

Winter evenings

For the dverse prompt.

Winter evenings

Winter evenings, when the house
smells of nutmeg and ginger
and apples stewing with cloves,

when the draught beneath the door
nips at ankles, and the windows
are veiled in steam,

when the stove crackles and leaks
a pall of smoke, and there are cats
and sleeping dogs on every chair,

and the night sky sings with sparks
and stars, and the hot peppery red
of Tuscan sunsets seem so far away,

I look inwards, listening to laughter,
and take your hand, their hands,
and the smallest hands of all,

and think ,this is not so bad.

Everyone had a gran, only a few of us had mine

For the dverse prompt.

Everyone had a gran, only a few of us had mine

Talk the hind leg off a donkey,
Tea weaker than a Jesuit’s piss,
Living off the pig’s back,
There’s more Paddy Reillys than one,
There’s no show without Punch.

The expressions she used
coloured my life,
painted features on the language,
made it laugh.

Another Lady

For the dverse prompt, inspired by this painting by Lee Madgwick.

Another Lady

They kept her like a fairy apple tree,
out of sight and out of careless mind,
no one to touch her ageless face,
her hands forever folded in her lap.

A treasure none would ever see,
and she no man would ever know,
nor ever look nor hear the sounds
of singing, water lapping some boat’s prow.

Until the sea took pity on her plight
and sent a barque, a gull to lead the way,
the lover that she dreamed of looked away,
and set his horse to travel other roads.

The window’s there, the cracks, for all to see,
the boat, the empty water wide,
but the lady who the world was not to see
is gone, to where the river still runs free.

When sun has set

For the dverse prompt.

When sun has set

The days have shortened, gone the long
and torrid days, the warbler’s song
is heard again, his tongue unlocked.

Above the dry and dusty trees,
the moon rides full upon the breeze,
a silver ship, a smiling face.

When sun has set, birds ceased to sing,
the tawny owls take to the wing,
and with their call, night can begin.

A child sleeps

For the dverse prompt.

A child sleeps

The wind in the leaves, a lullaby sussurra,
smoothing his brow above tight closed eyes,
a cantilena he hears in his dreaming,
a mother’s singing that cradles his sleep.

She sings to the child as the first star appears,
a scintilla sprung from the depths of the dark,
lids in dormiveglia flicker, then close
as the sky’s glitter-glimmer trail arches above.

A cradle, a mother, a child’s milky breath,
a river of stars singing sparks from the night
lilting and whispering soft as the down
of a bird, of the wing of an owl in its flight.

If I ruled the world

it would be my choice to redistribute wealth, the surplus, unearned and obscene wealth, to rebuild stricken societies.
It would be my choice to give all women autonomy over how they dispose of their own bodies and how they construct their lives.
It would be my choice to ban the possession of all firearms, the torturing of animals for sport, entertainment or to make cosmetics silky-soft as well as unnecessary.
It would be my choice to close down the meat and dairy industries and grow kinder foods.
It would be my choice to close all places of worship and teach philosophy in schools, not religion.
It would be my choice to take a great number of rotten, corrupt and morally bankrupt world political and business leaders to the edge of a very high cliff and push them over it.
But they’re choices I won’t ever be offered. And most people would judge, that is probably a good thing.

Haibun for paper shelters

For the dverse prompt.

There are shelters within shelters within shelters: wrapped in a coat, inside a room, inside a house, beneath a roof, in a country with government and laws and no war. Umbrellas. But from some things there is no shelter, no higher shelter that keeps us all safe.
I walked in the forest today and saw the fern fronds brown and dead beneath mossy trees, their leaves shed in survival mode, and the dead snake-skin of an empty gully where only echoes run.
We are running along dry, leaf-filled gullies. And when the rain comes, no big car or swimming-pooled palace will be shelter from its fury.

Fox digs out the hole
in parched clay. Mouse sees only
a giant’s shadow.


For the dverse prompt. The line I chose was (obviously):

Shake hands for ever, cancel all our vows.


Shake the leaves, dead summer’s ending,
Hands of chestnut-fingered grace,
For spring won’t last, its green unfurlings,
Ever is a lonely place.

Cancel thoughts of endless sunlight,
All yesterdays are shadows now
Our green and tender days are midnight,
Vows, like stalks beneath the plough.