NaPoWriMo: I hold the fallen petals

Yesterday I came across this poetry form on Christine Cochrane’s blog and liked the idea, and the way Christine handled it, very much. This is my attempt at a san san.


I hold the fallen petals in my palm,

White as gulls that hang upon the breeze,

The far horizon makes me think of home.

Crushed and fading yet they make a balm,

The blossom fallen from the cherry trees,

To soothe the homesick longing of my heart.

White gulls soar beneath the sky’s blue dome,

Fallen petals blown too far to chart.

Another poem of longing and yearning

Inspired by the song ‘Carrickfergus’, sung here by Van Morrison, a more sentimental, ballad-style poem about the longing for home.

I hear the gulls cry in my dreaming,

As they soar on their ghost white wings,

And I hear the wind in the gorse bush,

On the heath where the sweet lark sings.

I smell the salt of the ocean,

The roses that grew by the door,

And they haunt me the tears and the laughter,

Of a place I will never see more.

If I had a boat I would sail there,

Though the waves rose towering high,

If I was a gull I would fly there,

Though storms split the thundering sky.

But all that I have are my memories,

A patchwork of dark and the light,

They will sing in my blood while the day lasts,

Till my eyes close in death’s endless night.

1280px-Герасим_Семенович_Головков_-_Рыбацкие_лодки_в_гаваниPainting by Gerasim Semyonovich Golovkov.

Hiraeth: a longing for home

Sacha Black’s latest writing prompt is Hiraeth, which I think is a Welsh expression for a very deep longing, a yearning for home. This is the theme of the poem of mine, She longs for what she has lost, that was published last month in The Ogham Stone, Limerick University’s literary journal, so I’ll reproduce it here.

Painting of Howth by William Orpen.


Often at the turning of the year,

When the grass is bright and damp with autumn rain,

And last buds open with the failing sun,

I listen to the windsong in the trees.

When white-winged gulls blow in from stormy seas,

And the tang of salt hangs heavy in the air,

I hear the waves break on a lonely strand,

And taste the smoke and ash in long-dead hearths.

When only starlight guides the homing geese,

Their booming voices singing sailors’ songs,

I hear the echo from the vaulted sky,

And feel the northlands in their beating wings.

But when the blackbird sings his end of summer song,

And the white gull skims the restless ocean foam,

The whispering comes from deep in blood and bone,

The wind, the stars, the heart’s pulse call me home.

Thoughts on Saint Patrick’s Day

Painting by Anchise Picchi


They have broad wings, the geese
And their travellers’ song
To carry them northward
Where they belong.
Though the sun’s in the south
And the wind’s in the west,
The north draws them homewrd,
Their bones know no rest.
They leave the soft south
For the wild northern sky,
And had I their strong wings,
So too would I.


Drawn to the old cleaner in the Underground

clear blue eyes and bright smile

should have been minding his garden

on the back of a green hill

not sweeping dog ends in a foreign hole.

Our eyes meet in mutual recognition

I want to take his arm and go for a cup of tea

to hear his soft voice talk of the ones he left behind.

He says are you going home, so? and the eyes shine brighter.

I nod and feel his longing, the yawning gulf

between life lived and life dreamt

And it reaches into my bones

and the bones of all my forbears.