Painting by Franz Marc.

Away we are bound to go;
life stream pulls like moon tides
and the storm that blusters in the wind.

Above, the leaves stream,
beaten and lost.
Trees wave them goodbye;
the rest will not be far behind.

A hare raced across the sunny bank,
chased by the clouds,
and the bright glitter
of last night’s raindrops fled.

Into my listening ears,
the rain whispers a story
of oceans and rivers,
the journeys some will make,

but the songs that pour
from unseen bird-throats
never falter;

they have heard it all before.

Two harts

I watched two harts lock horns today,
The dance was wild with russet light,
Their graceful fight seemed more like play.
I watched two harts lock horns today;
The sun shone gold beneath the may,
Until the dusk dipped into night.
I watched two harts lock horns; today
The dance was wild with russet light.

Too much and not enough


There is too much cold in the drop of the light,
the pit of the stomach, the corner of the eye.

Time pours, gushes over the edge,
and the tremulous gold of the dandelions,
a finch’s wings, cannot hold it back.

Wind blows and its tongue is bitter.
From all four corners the message is the same,
from all colours and all walks of life.

(Don’t let them blind you with pseudo-science).

While there are men who say death is the answer
to any question, I will watch the light drop,
hands crossed upon my breast and whisper,

give the world back to the mothers
and those who say, let all their children live.

Bird words

For the dverse prompt.
Painting by Franz Marc.
Taking the quote à contre pied.


“As if we could hear music inside the words” Gail Newman from the poem Trust.

Wordless the songs
the fluted whistle swooping swift as light

grass quivers
branch trembles
and gone.

I strain in vain to hear the words
in the different strands of sound,
staves staked in morning grass dew-heavy,
booming with the memories
the shadows make
of night just past,

a harp chord echoing on the hills
where cocks crow unmusically
bullroarer and trumpet-voiced.

Wordless the songs to human ears
but what music, beak-tongued,

eloquent as stream babble,
hooved feet
tapping careful cadenzas,
squirrelled grace notes
tripping from tree to tree,
and the light pat-pat punctuation
of fox paws
through drifts of muddy leaves.


For the earthweal challenge.



Out of the depths she has cried, the vixen,
and runs now by rushing waters;
no lying down in the deep dark or bright day,
running, outrunning.

The earth, her earth not ours,
fills with hounds’ teeth
and the shining teeth of the trap.

From morning watch even until night
she runs, red running, finding solace
in the companion, the faithful shadow,
watchful, padding print for print
with her between the winter trees.

She dreams of a day of rest,
eyelids flicker, paws twitch in fitful sleep,
and the perpetual light shines—
on white and shining teeth,

and again she runs,
perpetual motion.


For the dverse prompt.



From the rolling red deeps
of fierce Dies irae,
purple splendour of Lacrimosa,

running light and sharp as hoarfrost
along the branch, the threaded pearls
of the Queen of the Night,

I leave behind the booming oceans
to walk beneath
the bending boughs of oboes

and the clarinet pipings of the thrush,
gathering the careless scattered notes,
red and gold, of finches a final bird salvo,

before the day fades
into the blue misted violins
of the setting sun.

Short story in Ekphrastic Review

The painting prompt for the Ekphrastic Review challenge was a blue horse painting by Franz Marc. Anyone who knows my admiration for Marc won’t be surprised that I was duly prompted. Lorette asked for short fiction, which is what I wrote. You can read Horse Dreams here as well as all the other entries.




Mist and night-cold cling and cloud,
Dripping grasses damp the ground,
And in the morning silence loud,
The crack of shot and bay of hound.

I wonder at the dark of mind
That finds its pleasure in the death
Of bird and hare and timid hind,
That steals wild beauty’s final breath,

If in the dark where hunters stalk,
Does shame, compassion ever break
Upon the bloody path they walk?
Is mine the only heart to ache?