Shades of grey

Shades of grey

Rain washes the light,
rinses the shadows,
dilutes all hues,

leaving the eye only greys,
the ear, tinny scratchings
on cold glass panes,

and the heart, the weight of lead,
stones, swollen rivers,
and the concrete echoes of loss.



The morning is mitigated,
part cloud, part mild sun,
the silence of windsong
rattled by Sunday gung-ho gun shots,
sky scattered with birds then scoured by rain,

but the stolid, rocky monolith of grey,
the block unchanged by wind, rain or sun,
indifferent to birds and bullets,
the unmitigated dreariness,
is the absence of you.



Grey thoughts, like the low sky,

heavy with rain that doesn’t fall,

echo empty where joy should be

and anguish twists guts I shouldn’t feel.

Where is the summer sky?

And would it change one iota

this sullen, bone-gnawing vide?

Grass browns where the pavilions stood

and feet trod

and people laughed.

There is more to come, of this organised pleasure,

more tents and drinks and unnecessary eating.

As if the human spirit cannot entertain itself.

From the outside, I watch and despise,

but joy sleeps for me,

somewhere in the grey cloud depths.

If only the rain would fall

and fill the gutters with laughter.



Beneath dull skies, scraps of cloud glide, silenced by the falling rain. Gulls, grey as daylight, swing low and skim brown waves. Drizzle spits and blows, and even cherry blossom fades into the monochrome. Where did it go the hope in the spring, the surge, hot and green from every new shoot? Already the wind tears the blossom and drops it in the mud of the last rain.

The same gestures repeated over and over, blossoming, dying, waiting for the winter, the same dread of the envelope on the mat, the monotony of not having. The only change is age. Each day adds a few more grams of weight; sky, clouds hang lower, feet drag. I can make silence in my head and let it crowd with memories, but no dreams flow into tomorrow, leaving bright streamers in their wake for me to follow, and memories fade, their time done.

The salt smell of iodine fills the air, heavy and rich and I can feel the ocean rolling beyond the river’s curve. Clouds break, little by little. Perhaps we will see the sun.


Wind in cold branches,

ephemeral blossom falls,

sky full of fragments.


Microfiction: South

For the Daily Post prompt


They sat in the café watching the small river in the gutter roaring past in search of a drain. Music from the radio on the bar and the light patter of voices, the whoosh of the coffee machine and the chinking of spoons could not cover the sound of the rain. The pavement was slick, dark grey, the slate roofs washed violet beneath the deluge. He pulled up the collar of his jacket and shivered. She took his hand across the table and smiled.

“When we graduate, you know where we’re going?”

He nodded, returning her smile. “South.”


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NaPoWriMo #10: The long night ends

Painting by Constable (Lionel).


The long night ends here,

In a grey dawn where no birds sing,

New leaves curled bitter tight,

And midnight cats slinking silent homeward.

The long last night is over,

And though I pull the curtains closed,

Daylight creeps, insidious as flood water,

And you stir, creep,

Silent as the floods of grey, insidious daylight,

Out of the door.

Spring sowing


The wind has stilled, the rain falls soft,
Soaking into the deep black loam,
Painting each leaf with silver light
And pooling pewter where the earth dips
In gentle curves to catch the fallen drops.
The sky rolls, an ocean of heaving cloud,
A multitude of shades from slate to dove,
Shredding to opal mists where the river runs.
But when the day breaks slow,
The light creeping thick and bleak
Through veils of water yet again,
My heart aches to feel a warmer touch
And for the sharp spring sowing to be done
For the roses all are fallen
And I long for a sight of the sun.


Dull, dim light
Seeps through lowering cloud
The bright colours of yesterday
Faded to a universal grey.
The roses hang forlorn
Their perfume lost in the oily air.
Rain falls, pounding petals
With pitiless indifference.
How hard now to recall
The soft touch of the sun
On skin that tingles with the sting of steely shafts
And the brave spring song of the birds,
A mournful piping beneath the eaves.
How easy to fall from that quiet happiness
As we sat beneath the bird-singing trees,
The touch of your hand
Fainter now than the sound of raindrops,
Elusive as the scent of roses.
How easy to sink among the scattered petals
Into the clinging, sucking mud.