What do they hear in the storm
the birds in the swaying trees?
What tongue speaks to them from the clouds,
who watches, predator-patient in the light-flicker?
And what metaphor suggests itself to souls
that have never known a faulty fuse?

We watch the lashing boughs
bending and trembling, wind-whipped,
and worry about cables, damage, insurance,
the work of weeks among the plants wrecked.

House-boat creaks, timbers crack, rain seeps,
cats hide where the fearsome dark won’t find them,
but the child sleeps in her mother’s arms,

chicks too perhaps in their storm-tossed nests,
while soft-padded hunters prowl the rain shafts,
indifferent to the growling of the beast.


Haiku challenge: Lightning & Rain

A trilogy of haiku for Ronovan’s challenge


Storm winds, clouds banking,

lightning flickers, thunder cracks

blissful rain cascades.


Like lightning the words

flash and are gone, striking sparks,

like rain fall the tears.


Face to the cold rain

pouring like cloud tears brimming

waiting for lightning.

Poetry challenge #25: Cinquain

Before I get into this week’s challenge, I want to post links to the two poems that arrived too late to be included in the Cleave Poetry roundup.

this one from Phylor via Bastet

Jimi’s b’day – Phylor’s Blog

And the Elusive Trope. Playing hard to get, or just writing a masterpiece, I’ll let you judge.

Two-Dimensional | Elusive Trope


This week’s challenge is a form we used a while ago and I’m trotting it out again because

1) I haven’t had time to winkle out another new form that doesn’t have a complex rhyming scheme.

2) I saw that it was used as a prompt for NaPoWriMo yesterday so it’s been on my mind.

The rules for the cinquain are here in case you’ve forgotten. As an extra prop/challenge/torture, however you choose to look at it, I’d also like you to include at least one of the following assortment of words:

Fly, lightning, verdant, unfurl, softly.

Here are a couple of cinquains to illustrate the different methods.



Black cloud anger,

Silvers the hushed darkness.

We wait with bated breath for the




Unchained, furious

Illuminating the darkness,

Spear-bright, chasing sacred shadows,



Please try out the cinquain again and post your links in the comments. Deadline next Monday night my time. I live at the centre of the universe, of course, so you’ll have to work out for yourselves where you are.

Fear of the unknown

Last night we had a storm. Storms don’t frighten me, never have. I have always loved watching the lightning and listening to thunder growling. Jumping at a crash right overhead is the nearest I ever get to enjoying the thrill of fear. My dad was like that too, though my mother was terrified of storms and if ever we were out when one broke she would insist that we hide somewhere until it was over. Only now, forty years later, can I begin to understand her terror when our flight home from a childhood holiday in Rome was delayed because of a terrific electric storm.

The storm last night was a pretty feeble affair, and no doubt wouldn’t have even stirred me from my deep four in the morning sleep. What did wake me though was a very large, very frightened dog bursting into our bedroom looking for reassurance and somewhere to hide.
My husband started humming ‘My favourite things’ from The Sound of Music and joked about the possibility of the children appearing one after the other in the doorway. No chance. An earthquake wouldn’t wake any of them. Dog though was terrified and had to be hugged very tight for the duration. During a storm the cats disappear into their hiding places, as cats do, but Finbar needs physical contact to reassure him that the world isn’t coming to an end.

PENTAX Digital Camera
As I lay awake playing mother to a trembling hound, I thought about the relationship of early people with the power of nature, and whether what was going on in Finbar’s head was in any way similar: with the proviso that human fear was modified by reverence and awe, which I don’t think play much of a part in Finbar’s psyche.
In my current WIP veneration of the forces of nature, especially the destructive ones, is central to the antagonists’ mindset. The Scyldings are based on early northern European people; they don’t have our scientific knowledge, or our modern scepticism. Most of their reactions are pretty basic and brutal, but they fear what they don’t understand and seek guidance, albeit grudgingly, from an adept of the occult.

Sometimes an intelligent animal’s reaction to a phenomenon can be taken as an indication that early people may have interpreted it the same way. The need to hole up somewhere at night, the relief when the light comes back in the morning, the reluctance to go out in the cold or great heat, the fear of thunder, hail and torrential rain, heaving seas and strong winds, all of these seem credible reactions for my Scyldings as well as my fearful dog.
The ancient Celts, if the Romans are to be believed, feared only one thing: the sky falling on their heads. Is that what Finbar fears too? And don’t even we, modern, sophisticated sceptics, feel something similar when we hear about asteroids, or another rogue state installing nuclear missiles?