Hope in question

Posting this one to earthweal.


Cold comes in the answer
and snow in the wind,
furrows fill with white, while
growling incandescence consumes
branch and twig
in our invocation of the sun we have lost
in the dark night of winter.

In the morning,
the embers cold and pitted with deer tracks,
ash streams, the wind still bitter.

Ice cracks in the north
with a dark voice full of teeth,
and in the wood
a thrush is singing.

Illusion as hope

When the air is golden warm
with insect swarm red wing-flutter
and the walls askitter with lizards,

when sound is silence rippled
with conversational finch chatter
stream water running bright

between cyclamen banks
a pheasant’s persistent cough
and in the distance tractor rumble

I can almost believe the kilter rebalanced
the needle reset and the great swell of the world tide
as steady as a skein of geese heading home.

Platypus Phoenix

Breast-beating is what we’re good at,
fiddling while Rome burns,
shooting at shadows with the sun in our eyes,
screaming in foreign tongues
and any number of other platitudes.

Yet though our feet of clay are held fast in mud,
and honey is only for coating tongues (our own),
though I write of mist men and darkness,
the bitter blood we make over illusions
and storms that wreck, winds that moan

still the great bird will soar,
the sun rise, rose and gold,
in a sky a million millions of years old
like a new-fledged chick
from a dinosaur egg.

Blue is gone


Blue is gone

swept up by bird wings

and sky-glitter drips only

in the bright trickle of bird call

sun yellow lapped up by buttercups.


Wind blows from the north

cold is coming

red as ice

cutting bone and marrow

and what will poor robin do then?

Hands flutter scattering food

we watch fear pass along the lane

holding breath


listening to the ocean roar among cloud billows

seeping rain


a a a

dream cries from the depths

run please the black is coming

breath belching where the tractor rumbles

over the wild hill.


Sleep whispers from her blue yellow boat

(waves heaving rain streaming)

the storm is close

but but but

there are cracks in the sky

and beyond

we can see the stars.

Old ways, new world

For the dverse prompt. I haven’t taken a particular political standpoint, but Utopia isn’t going to drop out of nowhere without some kind of philosophy to guide it.


We can’t say we love those we never have to meet,

and we never have to live with those who are not like us.


(It’s easy to love those who are just like us, who keep their

cars clean like we do, have good dental work and don’t raise hell).


We can’t say we care if we take more than we need, because

the treadmills keep turning to give us what we throw away.


We can’t say we respect life when we sanction poverty

to keep us rich, misery to keep us overfed and sleek.


Learn how to love, care, respect, and do, be, act, give not take,

find joy in sunsets and sunrises and the singing of birds,


turn off the reality show, dig the earth, plant, create, not sit

open-mouthed before the pap that falls in sugary drifts from heaven.

I’ll believe perhaps


I’ll believe life is good

when you can show me

the faces of Syrian children,


I’ll believe life is good

when you can show me

the empty stalls

of the last veal calves

closed forever.

I’ll believe in life

when the trees tell me

they can breathe again,

when no man wields a gun

and death

with the impunity of a god.

Show me justice, compassion, respect,

then I’ll believe,

not before.

Rain and fire


When rain falls a (grey) veil

from a sombre sky

where no (light) strikes sparks

of fire from poppy (and) rose

(I sink) to the level of mud and sodden grass

poke fingers (in) the loosening clay

to feel life (writhing) beneath

and deeper still

the fiery (veins of) the earth’s (blood)


Cold seeds salamander-coddled

need (no hope) in tomorrow

to burst (in) green sappy stalks

leaf and flower-furled.

(Stars) wheel

fire calls to fire and the tides shift moon-struck.

Between fire and (falling) rain I wait

with the patience of a seed

for the wheel to turn to sunburst.

Three Line Tales: Dreamworld

This story is for Sonya’s Three Line Tales photo prompt.

photo by Emily Morter via Unsplash


Through the bars of the window she looked across at the dreary skyline, the turrets and towers of the public buildings shadowing the squalor she knew lay beneath, silent and desperate.

The dream had come back, stronger and more vivid than ever; the soft colours of the strange landscape still clung to her retinas, and she seemed to sense the gentle breeze on her skin and the smell of perfumes, exotic and mysterious.

Dawn broke in a blaze of pink light and, catching her breath in awe at the unheard of sight, she let tears of joy fall unchecked when she recognized, behind the veils of morning cloud, the glorious landscape of her dreams.

My dreams for you

The subject of the Redon pastel drawing is Pandora, but what she seems to have released is beauty.


I dance among the debris of my dreams,

Scattered in a cloud about your head.

They fall as soft as feathers, shine as bright,

Though you may never see or taste their light.

My arms are full of moonbeams, roses sweet,

And robin’s song fills every heart but yours.

Listen, to the truth his music brings—

There is room for you and all your fears

In these silver arms, where moon-sweet beauty sings.