Crossing the line

Last week’s Earthweal prompt was Otherworld. I never got around to it, so I’ve written one now, late. The painting is by JMW Turner.

There are places and people and times that we miss,
places to linger and people to kiss,
and the magic of moments beneath sky’s blue dome.

There are veils and deep shadows, bright sun on the waves,
hands held in comfort, the soft word that saves,
and on the white strand we’ll dance in the foam.

We’ll dance in the foam with the wind in our hair,
and the call of the gulls will draw our feet where
gold light falls through boughs sprung from generous loam.

I’ll walk with my shadows beneath the bright sun,
and walk through the sunset when my day is done,
in the palm of earth’s hand, when she gathers me home.

Ghost cattle

I’m still following some prompts, but not posting them on the different sites. I’m finding I just don’t have the time to read and reciprocate to comments. This poem, a sonnet of sorts, was written for the earthweal prompt, a reminder that we’re coming up to Bealtaine.

Ghost cattle

In this meadow where only ghost cattle low,
bright buttercups bow their golden heads,
blue flax flowers mirror the pale May sky.
In this meadow where only ghost cattle low,
lush grass growing now is cropped by the deer,
a jungle where pheasants and foxes peer
through stalks and stems and flowered threads.
There were cattle here once but now the hare,
the fox, the badger, the rabbit and deer
tread wary paths the night time; no snare
is set in the grass, no traps to fear,
beneath the hedge where the spindle trees grow,
and the fire that’s lit on this clear spring night
is for ghost cattle shades, the past’s swift-winged flight.

Sins of the fathers

For the earthweal prompt.


Was there once a time
when we could flutter among finches and wrens,
a time when we could walk
side by side with badger and fox,
not being prey and predator,
in companiable silence,
when we played water games with otters,
when weasels ignored our presence,
kingfishers and all the hawks and owls of the air?

If there was, it has long gone,
and all that shines in the robin’s eye
turns away in blackbird, hedgehog and wolf,
is distrust and fear;
all that glitters in mine,
the sorrow of being a killer’s child.

And if we were already dead?

For the earthweal challenge.

And if we were already dead?

Life is a mesh a web a flock herd tribe
life spins enfolds cradles embraces all into one
oceans are swells of as many drops as grains
of sand as stars as many leaves in every forest
that ever was feathers on every bird
wormed digested fragments of earth
microscopic bacteria plankton the fantasy organisms

~ crowding the bottom of the ocean ~

as multitudinous as our unmemorable thoughts
dropped into the silence
are the weightless things of sterile self-indulgence
our fatuous flatulent oms our self-saving
for a cleaner more special and exclusive life
after life/death we drown in our navels
while the core grinds to a pitiful halt.


This is for the earthweal prompt.

Is she aware of her grace, padding silent
over brittle grass sun, dappled invisible,
sleek, powerful, target of envy and brutality?

She treads as they all tread,
soeurs, frères semblables,
have trod since the time when
the stones were young, the grass rich.

Can she hear their voices in the dry wind?
Does she know stars, raise her waking head
to watch the lights of the sky’s pelt
and see beauty, mystery?

I know only that she sleeps,
curled about her cubs
like any mother.

Days of water

An Imbolc poem for earthweal.

caillou Brigid's flood

Days of water
nights of rushing wind
and only thoughts of fire.

Winter runs in these cold streams,
dull browns and mud-grey,
sodden with cloud-spill.

No light, bright and sharp
as whetted steel,
no gold glints among the weeds

or the mud-stirred ditches;
winter runs still
in these cold veins,

only the birds,
colour of sunglitter and holly berries,

dance to the music of Brigid’s footsteps,
settle on the budding twig-snap
of her fiery fingers.

Veins of time

For the earthweal challenge.
Photo ©O’Dea


In the hollow under-the-ground
stone-flagged whorled endlessly
the silence of five thousand years of night whispers.

No breath but moth souls
brush with papery wings this space
a womb cradling death in the dark

and every breath of mine
borrowed from the ancient dead

footsteps echoing
theirs now and dwindling into the before time
when there was only night and day
birth and death

and in between
the waiting for ends
and beginnings.


For the earthweal challenge and the dverse open link.

morning in january

Eyes, a window
in a borrowed room
with a view
of borrowed memories.

Thoughts skirmish,
birds after seeds,
rapid as stream water carrying its burden
of glitter into the dark.

Am I the thin branches,
pooling shadow beneath?

Not the bird, jay, crow, pigeon,
that rises chattering,

not the bonemeal
of dead leaves and burrowing things;

my feet are deep in this earth,
making my own ancestors.