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

Gogyohka for a deluge

fire salamander

dim grey-green light

through water-grey blur

and the crooning of blackbirds

soothing the tedious drip

of broken guttering


by the pool of rainwater

murky brown with mud

a fire salamander gleams

exotic rainforest sprite

sharing the deluge with toads


awash the grass

the lane aflood

and hares race

oblivious to the downpour

the water veil of fading light

Afternoon gogyohka


rustle and russet flash

through sun-slanting green

beyond the stream

a glimpse

two deer watching


heat clings to the skin

even in the shadows

and the nightingale’s song fills the air with syrup

a taste of honey

before the storm


dull the sky

and thick the air with butterfly wings

fritillaries flutter orangely

their silence uncanny

perhaps if I listen harder


Simply the sky


there is sky all day

though clouds come and go



and we walk with downcast eyes


there is sky behind the dark lines of dusk

when the sun drops out of sight

and the light in the puddles is quenched

reflecting the ocean

of unreflecting cloud


there is sky all night

though the blue has gone

star-pricked or dark cloud-dappled

and we sleep

dreaming of rainbows and butterflies


there is sky at waking

as moonlight fades

silver into pale gold

suffusing grey with pink then blue

overarching mother

gogyohka for a full moon

For Frank Tassone’s weekly haikai challenge


last night

the lane was stretched across with worm cords

glistening in moonlight

slow-moving traffic



rain patters on the lane

pale ribbon in moonglow

tempting the long lombrics

pinkly wetly

out of the sodden earth


no moon shines

on these damp fields

waiting for more rain

but the earthworms still pursue

their sacred route