Kerfe isn’t back yet, but her owl is.

owl close up 2

The air’s aflutter with feathered wings,

And up on the hill a blackbird sings;

The birds are busy with other things


Than dull grey skies,

Anxious eyes,

Time that flies.


Green is greening the rain away,

While night and dusk give way to day,

And in the grass some bright drops stay.


When we must leave, will you recall

The magic of the night owl’s call?

So much to love, I’d keep it all.


A parting


Hard to think today

when the house is different, less,

and a far away city is a little more.

Hard to think of happiness

when the sky shakes with gun shots,

graceful deer bound across the meadow in fear,

and pigeons rustle uneasily high in the maples.

Hard to think of tomorrow and why.

Another step on the journey,

another fork in the road,

a parting of the ways,

and will tomorrow be any easier?

Haibun for a departure


On the telephone lines, the swallows gather, preparing their things for the departure, meeting old friends perhaps, rounding up children, chattering quietly of this and that and the nature of water. In their midst, a single turtle dove perches, enthralled by their stories of the great rolling sea, the rolling sky and the rolling clouds, the desert rolling bleached and bare and beyond, a place where the winter months of cold would be a cruel memory.

Is she tempted, the gentle bird, or is it he? Does he dare to imagine winter warmth and no guns? Probably not, the wild grey sea and the parched desert, shadowy images behind her anxious eyes, as she scans the meadow for fallen seeds.

an ending

an ocean of anguish

the call of home

drawing in the threads

another turn of the wheel

Ce soir de nuages


Ce soir de nuages,

qui cachent des seaux

d’eaux et de grêlons,

et cette lune a moitié mangée,

rongée par l’espace,

je te cherche dans les ombres mouvants,

argentés et sombres,

et j’écoute le vent,

trie les sons sauvages

pour un note de flute argenté,

qui serait ton dernier mot,

que le flot emporte,

la houle de nuit encre,

le sifflet du dernier train.


This night of cloud

that hides pails of rain

buckets of hail

and a half-eaten moon

balloon nibbled by space,

I look for you in the moving shadows

silvery sallows,

and I listen to the wind,

unwind the wild sounds

for a silvery flute note—

your final word floats

snatched by the tide,

the flood of night-ink,

that drinks up

the whistle of the last train.


We are going from here into the mists of the future, and the present is already slippery as a pond full of frogs. Past is past and swallowed by great dark fish with no hope of redemption. River runs, ever and always, and we will follow its sinuous thread back along the valley, away from the ocean, into green hills. Waves roll up the strand and leave piles of kelp for idle fortune tellers to speculate on what might have been. For we will be long gone, dust on the road, and a fading puzzlement in a big dog’s fuzzy brain that his friend doesn’t comes to play any more.

Seabird folds white wings,

wave path undulates, glass green—

he waits for the wind.

The more our road meanders,

the longer the journey seems.


photo©Andrew Dunn


It’s done, the decision taken, the papers signed. The house, our house, the house where our children grew and threw their first adolescent tantrums, cried their first love-sick tears, crept in at dawn, were carried in by friends at dawn, is sold. The buyers love it, as we did, at first sight, but they are older than we are now, have no young brood to place in its warren of rooms. They will keep what we did of the old house, the original windows and doors, the floors and the moulded ceilings. They will keep the garden with its roses and wisteria, the summer flame of Jericho trumpets, the spring purple haze of wisteria, the overarching vine that is as old as the house. For that I am grateful.

But the parting will be difficult and scattered with regrets, as fierce as the fallen fiery trumpet flowers brought down in yesterday’s storm.


Storm batters the vines

cold steel through pliant green leaf—

sun shines on spent blooms.

Things that go into the dark


The things that go into the dark,

Take a piece of the sun in their eyes,

Leave us with a fading twilight.


They pad in and out of our lives,

In their wake ripples music so bright,

The things that go into the dark.


Soft moments of calm in their warmth,

They leave a place cold as the moon,

Take a piece of the sun in their eyes.


Garlands of stars light their way, they

Cross rainbows that bridge here and there,

Leave us with a fading twilight.