Inspired by the random words of the previous post.


The destruction of Sennacherib has been told,
and the wolf falling down on the fold we know well,
and the silver tongues urging the uplifted spears
of the cohorts all gleaming in purple and gold.

Will you come to the seashore and sift through the tides,
for the booty of war that’s washed up on the rocks?
Will you lend half an ear to the guiltless who cry,
to the mothers who weep, to the mothers who die?

There is nowhere to hide from the sickness we spew,
no earth magic saves from the death we have forged,
for we worship the power of bright shiny steel,
and sacrifice women to religious zeal.



Show me what you mean,
not that mad glitter that deflects the questions.
Can’t you see? I keep it all
and wear it, diamonds, in my hair.

The morning is full of sun
and the songs of careless birds,
but my skin is the colour of wax
and there are shadows beneath the bed.

Do not ask the man in the grey suit,
what is life, nor who and how.
He knows only how to count his profits
reads only share prices and the holy book.

Stop, you say, as if my will is malleable,
and if I run, it will never be away.
Have you never watched reeds in the wind?
They bend, but they never break.

Time on this bare hill is red,
geranium petals soaked in water.
I paint my face and sing,
because this is my dream, and it is blue.

Songs after the storm

Songs after the storm

The woman storm shrieks about the hills,
though the lost child in nowhere in their folds,
no lightning light will show the way to the truth.

Cymbal-crash in the clouds
with the military brashness of destruction,
the pink of dawn a memory,
birdsong of first light a warning,

but I listen for the music of the trees,
the leaf-rustle in a cool breeze,
the murmured song of the stream,
for the anger and grief to pass.

In the lull, the trough of the waves,
I listen for the bright trills,
the flutes and strings of the birdfolk
to sooth the pain, sing tomorrow.


Poem inspired by the random words posted by Merril Smith here.
Painting The Story of Creation II by Franz Marc.


We tread with no shame
on the bones of our ancestors,
close our ears to the revolt of the earth,
the anger boiling in its entrails.

We run to the sea,
see blue and blue and blue,
our dreams slip through plastic mesh,
tasteless, invisible, deadly,

it doesn’t stop the parade
or the poverty of the water;
we have the simulacra in concrete cages,
wild-grace humiliated.

This soil, loam, clay, holds worlds and histories,
more wisdom than we will ever wield,
we who tread without shame,
wearing our ignorance with pride.

Even though

Even though

Here is blue and gold and green
deer in red summer plumage
and blackbirds sing and sing and sing.

Though all roots go deep and dark
even in the green and gold the red flash of deer
the poisons we sow seep.

Rock in fusion boils despite the oceans of tears
and a lone deer leaps one last stream
before the long night falls.

Some find no shelter

For the earthweal prompt. Shelter is in short supply these days.
Painting by Franz Marc.

Some find no shelter

They flock, the birds by hundreds, thousands,
they herd, the deer and antelope,
the packs stick close in formation,
the prides, colonies and sounders,
sheltering from danger, among their own kind.

I watch the mingled flocks of finches,
the way crows and thrushes fight off the hawk,
their strength in trust, cooperation, selflessness.

We live behind walls in distrust,
and when some hold out their hands,
they face a hail of abuse.

Our barriers are poison and betrayal,
nests of razor wire where children hang,
the ultimate of ultimates,
the solution only a god would contrive,
annihilation, dwindling into the last syllable—
take no prisoners.

Shelter is a concept that changes
from mouth to mouth, day to day,
place to place, slippery as an oil slick,
weaponized, a temporary respite.

Birds flock, hare, rabbit, fox,
huddle together to shelter from winter’s bite,
but where do we shelter from our own kind?

Vixen sniffs the wind

For the earthweal prompt.
Painting by Franz Marc.

Vixen sniffs the wind

The days are growing tender green,
leaf green, shadow green.

Dark is softer, wind wilder, moon dances.

Urge is stronger, wilder, yearning
like green plants,
stretching upwards to the sky.

A fearful smell is carried on this wind,
blowing from where the sun is born,
behind the wild, warm scent of kin,
the smoking fire stink of man.

Kin, leaves, moon, I dance,
because it’s time.

Skin shivers.
And then?


I might not have time to consult the Oracle tomorrow so I’ve visited today. Inevitably, it’s not a happy message.


Please, he asks as the storm rips the sky apart
and flips the lake over like a pancake,
can you take your anger elsewhere
to break upon someone else’s home?

The wind puts its finger on his lips
and whispers through clenched teeth,
This is the only music you will hear,
shot and shell, drunk on death.

She trudges through muddy snow,
a sleeping baby in her arms,
and all the screaming of the world
cannot slow her steps.

Even the sun aches,
and there are no petals in this rain,
only soot smears, black oil on the skin,
and fire sears the night dark.

What we want is ugly, twisted,
like the tongues that cannot speak a truth.
The moon hides a desolate landscape.
Perhaps summer will not come this year.

On days of wind

For the dverse prompt, an ekphrastic poem based on the painting by Franz Marc, killed at Verdun in 1916.

On days of wind

On days of wind, the washing blows
and billows in the shirts and sheets
flailing empty cotton arms.

So many lines across the land
with washing blowing in the wind,
the white and pink and palest blues,

a network of domestic peace.
I wonder who will bring it in,
when this day’s done, wind died away.

I wonder will the last night fall
on cotton arms and billowed sheets,
that blow unheeded in the wind.