this path is straight

has no turnings

it leads to the mountain of words

and unopened books

and it has no end


the hedges are dark

at either hand

though white cups of roses

float here are there

and birds flutter


the path is a stream

between stony banks

its course relentless

carrying its debris of fellow travellers

to the sea


where drowning in disappointment

awaits those with empty hands

and the worries

that ran alongside

like tireless hounds


swim now with jaunty fins

still here

they roll their silver-glitter eyes

reminding us of wild roses

in a forgotten hedgerow

Something lost

Another through the window poem for dverse and a particularly strange cloud formation.


Days begin

sun-faced and dew-bright

beneath the swaying flowers

but night shadows remain

knotted in deep roots and matted stalks



a sounding board bounces echoes

the silent spread glitter of stars

sun on water

watches but doesn’t listen


only the clouds brood

bringing rain or dragons

and the proof that time passes

drifting from horizon to horizon

dawn to dusk


dropping scales

gnat swarms


on ships that pass in the night

upturned faces


while we

who see the immutable sky beyond

hear the silence that meets the shouted questions

search among the knotted roots

for something we never knew we had

gogyohka for summer pause

bright chicory and cats ears

such a feeling of completion

when the meadow returns

in a froth of white lace

above yellows and purple pinks

blues and tender greens


scars of haymaking washed away

in the flowing tide of vegetation

hay bales slump

rooted by climbing tendrils

of more growth


spring is not yet done

with the furious pumping of the life force

slower but still potent

the meadow rises

to meet the sunfall


heat pulses and bakes

dries the coaxed grasses

kindles fireflowers

an oriole refuses to sing

but squawks in complaint


and summer twilight fading

the imperceptible transformation

of the distant whooping of children

to the fluttering hooting

of the first owls

Gogyohka for heat and birdsong

For Frank Tassone’s haikai challenge.


sun melts and drips

yellow as an oriole’s feathers

into the hush

with the sweet golden fluting

of his song


among the leaves

limp with sun

where wood pigeons croon lullabies

shade dapples flash with spread wings

and the heat sings


molten beams spread


a rising tide

until the evening is awash

with liquid sun


and still the singing

no audience

no applause

only the heckling of woodpeckers

shadows lengthening


and perhaps at the end

before the night

when sleep calls

the satisfaction

of a job well done

Gogyohka for summer morning


sun ripples

through flesh and bone

chasing memories of cold and damp

and the darkness

of a night of no moon


cool grass glistens


and a chiff chaff

chiff-chaffs quietly

in the sleepy morning hedge



where the boundaries are green and leafy

and the stream runs lower as heat rises

we stand on the edge

of vertiginous summer

Undecided gogyohka


hard to start a day

that seems to have already decided

it has ended

and the sky refusing

to put off night-grey


A day of dull light

cool wind

decisions hanging in the air

and the only voices

in my head


like an end of autumn

with wind skirmish

bemused birds silenced

listening for their cue

from the rain


silence fills the spaces

beneath the trees

and in the exposed homes

in the bare meadow



evening spreads red skirts

melancholy dances

in the lengthening shadows

where only the thrush

still sings

Gogyohka for a midsummer pause

west raked

Hay lies waiting

beneath the sun beating

and an oriole is fluting

his endless questions

that have no answer


bees swarm loud

in the hot silence

heavy as honey

sweet as syrup

and the brazen blue throbs


with a brazen beat

cicada hiss sssss

among limp leaves

while water runs slower

dying and drying as its bed shrinks


spring is life in movement

floods and rising green shoots

now we hold hot breath

thinking of the crisping of leaves

and the first cold shadows.

Five X Five lines


The world turns blue and grey

and night falls dark

yet the grass grows beneath the rain

and the birds sing as sweet

as if the sun were shining.


Only we stumble

and miss our steps in the dance

fail to see the fledgling flutter

the leveret in the morning flowers

and wish to live forever.


How would it be

if instead of thinking to paint the past

in the colours of the slogans of today

we looked to the future

and made it a home for our newfound humanity?


Stars hares deer and fox

join in a web of life

spangled dewy bright

if only we could learn

not to tangle the flowering shoots.


Life is strung with tiny joys

a cat recovering her voice

a leveret chasing through the rain-drenched meadow

a child smiling because

and I hold all their singing colours in my hands.


Gogyohka sequence for morning songs

looking south and west

on the telephone wire

the kestrel’s perch

a blackbird sings

suspended above hedge and nest

oblivious to property rights


morning music swells

the oriole section in the poplars

thrush and blackbird centre oaks

and on the right

woodpigeon percussion


waking to sunlight

pale as moonlight

silver in the grass where gold waits

strung with jewelled drops

of birdsong