Not following the NaPoWriMo suggestion today. Something more topical.

Photo©Art Anderson


And will the world keep turning on its endless round,

the stars still hang with frigid smiles

in the icy wastes of space?

Will the trees still leaf in spring,

the vines unfurl their complicated leaves,

and the blackbirds fill the hedge with song?

Will you still love me

and tell me I am all that ever mattered and ever will,

and let me tuck in collars,

snip off trailing threads

and point out the bristle missed shaving?

Will wars stop or start,

armies advance or retreat,

the dead come back,

and the babies never born still fill our thoughts?

Would anything in this endless, infinitely varied universe

change one iota,

if they, stumbling upon a desert tomb,

beneath an olive grove and the dry whistling of sand,

fingers trembling with emotion,

should peel back the shroud,

and find beneath the crumbling linen,

the body of their God?

Microfiction Three Line Tales: An Easter story

This three line tale is for Sonya’s photo prompt.

photo by Gemma Evans via Unsplash



Lamb 753 spat out a bit of thistle and replied to Lamb 537. “Because it’s Easter, for their God fella, because he’s compassionate and merciful and full of peace and love.”

“So they’re going to eat us? All of us? Even us babies?” Lamb 537 said, glancing fearfully at the row of trucks waiting, ominous and empty.

Lamb 753 spat out another piece of thistle. “They don’t have the same ideas about peace and love as the rest of us,” he replied mournfully, “and they’re in charge.”


For the dverse Haibun Monday, I have worked the haiku I wrote earlier today into a piece of prose, again based on Hugh’s birth on a very snowy Easter night.


I watch the light die on this spring evening so unlike the night you were born. The wisteria hangs immobile, filling the air with such heady scent, and the birds settle into silence. Moon soars, pale against the blue, in a sky without cloud, and vine leaves open in dark green clusters. Hard to believe that on this night twenty years ago, there was no light. All was shadow, densely clustered, and snow fell thick and heavy. I put on boots to tramp to the maternity hospital arm in arm with your father, ploughing through the white and stopping to let the contractions pass. It was dark and cold and white flakes blurred our vision, and we feared for the next hours.

Wisteria hangs and I bask in the golden scent. Sun has set and the sky is dark. Roses are in bud and the pansies turn their opulent faces to anyone who will look at them. The shadows fall soft and scented now; there is no fear hiding in their depths. You are all that your birth promised, big and strong and fair, and snow has never fallen at Easter since then.

Easter birth pangs grip,

snow falls hard, a soft blanket—

from chagrin springs joy.




Swan God

Photo ©Alan Walker

No dead god for me,

No redemption in spilled blood,

For sins that were not mine, nor anyone’s,

Being his own invention,

A tortured circular argument,

That ends always in shame and death.

The green and growing,

The golden sun,

The eternal love sworn by a pair of swans,

This is what I revere.

No judgement here,

No flagellation and tearing of hair,

Just love,

Pure, simple and more beautiful by far,

Than your bare and bloody hill,

Crowned with dead trees

And ringed about with thorns.



In this dark time of the year,

When buds still sleep on rain-black boughs,

And famine stalks the winter-weary woods,

Stealthy as fox tread, quick as the kestrel,

I do not bend my head in sorrow or in shame,

Or shake green boughs to ward off last year’s ghosts.

I watch the blackbird settled on her nest,

Listen to the cloud-grey turtle dove,

Murm’ring softly to his lifetime’s love,

And make a promise to this burgeoning and blossoming,

To live what I have left of sun and showers,

With as much unselfish passion,

As these feather soft, fur trembling, gentle ones,

My precious siblings.

Ashes and other painful subjects

Photo ©Judgefloro


I learned from twitter that today is Ash Wednesday. Looking at the several hashtags dedicated to the fun times some people are having today, I was left feeling bemused at the gulf between this ‘fun’ and my own memories. Receiving the ashes is now COOL in some parts. Catholics joke about what they’re giving up for Lent. One could ask why they can’t work up just as much enthusiasm for DOING something for Lent, like volunteer in a homeless shelter, campaign against climate change, adopt a stray dog, anything, as long as it’s positive and doesn’t end with the Easter chocolate fest. But that’s by the by.

Ash Wednesday brings back memories, mostly unpleasant of being a Catholic child in a virulently Methodist town. It was bad enough for us just being Irish Catholics without doing cranky things to draw attention to it like having the bishop smear grease over our foreheads. We were given pep talks every year about the sacred aspect of the greasy black stuff, and above all, it was beaten into us that we MUST NOT TOUCH IT. Those ashes were holy, sacred, and invested with the superpower of causing instant ejection from the club, a state of mortal sin and eternal damnation if touched with grubby fingers.

So, how did we get rid of them? we asked. We didn’t. They were supposed to wear off naturally. Naturally me arse. As soon as somebody in power, like the priest, teacher or a nun had witnessed the dirty smear across our childish brow, a quick swipe with a coat sleeve got rid of most of it.

Ash Wednesday paled into insignificance though compared with the supreme ignominy of the May Procession. Many of us must still have nightmares about being forced as small children, to parade through our equivalent of the Bronx, the streets lined with stony-faced, disapproving locals. The priest in full regalia led the way behind the great statue of Our Lady decorated and splendiferous in all her nineteenth century kitschy glory. The girls followed, tricked out in white frocks, veils and shoes, then the boys in white shirts and blue sashes. We walked in a slow march, singing the most plaintive, lugubrious hymns to Mary. It was dreadful. And cold. May in Yorkshire can be brisk, windy and wet. Veils would blow off, the boys’ sashes would come undone, and we’d be perished with cold.

The horrors of the May Procession didn’t outlive the 1960s by much, but obviously some of the lesser humiliations have done, and have become popular. It’s a funny world we live in.