To a baby not yet born

This is the sonnet for Ingrid’s EIF challenge. It’s not a Valentine’s Day thing, every day is Valentine’s Day in this house, but there’s love in it and that’s what counts. If you feel a sonnet coming on, link it to her post so we can all read it.



To a baby not yet born

When north wind blows through ragged winter trees,
Raking thorny claws through stark black hair,
Silent fall the furred and feathered, these
Who trembling cling to bough and brake, pauvres hères.
Living in the moment, hopes of spring
Are dim, when frost’s cold pelt lies on the ground,
And only soul to brave the blasts and sing
Is thrush, the lone unfrozen liquid sound.
Could there be life beneath this frozen skin,
The skim of ice on water, snowdrop-pierce,
Where deer scrapes break leaf-crackling, thin
As hunger clinging to the bones, as fierce?
Sleep, curled in nested flesh, heart-pulsing, warm,
My little one, untouched by winter’s storm.

Taking ship when the grey gulls call

This is for Ingrid’s EIF challenge. It’s a long time since I wrote a villanelle. Now I remember why…

Taking ship when the grey gulls call

With all the many things still left to do,
Before the night falls, bringing final dreams,
And the ship to take us where the grey gulls flew,

I let the seconds diamond-drip like dew.
Words wait, ink-dry, to fill white paper, reams,
With all the many things left still to do.

We planted roses, thought that when they grew,
Their blooms would fill the house’s cracking seams,
And the ship to take us where the grey gulls flew,

But their boughs are frail, and the changing hue
Of rainbows fading shows how water teems
With all the many things left still to do.

I’d memorise the thrush’s song, build blue-
Skied worlds with sunset words and golden beams,
And the ship to take us where the grey gulls flew,

For there is no time to start the world anew,
Nor chase the river where the far sea gleams,
With all the many things left still to do.

The balance tips, desires, plans askew;
We fill our hands with memories and streams
Of all the many things left still to do,
Before the ship takes us where grey gulls flew.