Obstinate clouds

The Oracle is always spot-on with her message, but I do wonder about the sausage. It’s a clue to something, like the key to translating a dead language.

Obstinate clouds

She says we need the rain,
but the waning moon shepherds the cloud
back into the sea, and the earth bleats
like thirsty kids, trying to lap the sky.

Smooth as eggs, the pebbles rise
to the surface, dust-dry and parched,
sediment of times past when rivers flowed,
and sedge rattled in the wind.

So many storms have broken
on this house, we listen to its timbers
creak in the black wind, blink
in the electric flashing of whitewashed walls.

Spring will carve new courses
through this broken earth,
fill it with water-laughter, and perhaps
the birds will bring their music back.

She gives me blue honey in the dream,
luscious as silvery mackerel.
Even in sleep, we hope in renewal,
that these marks on the skin were not set by death.


The Oracle reminded me of an incident on a walk a week or so ago. She never forgets.

Painting by Willard Metcalf


I watch
but not her
not the woman with the tiny dog
yapping in her arms

fussing because leaves
damp dirt other dogs

I watch the beauty
fall slow from the trees
listen as the leaves whisper forgiveness
to the summer
for the relentless heat

I taste the tang of rain
in their soft browning
foetal shapes

while Dog sniffs the change
revels in its richness.

End of summer painting

I thought the Oracle was going to give me a cadralor. What I have isn’t quite a cadralor, more a string of bright images to remember this summer by.

End of summer painting

If only I could make music,
make the note-words
that would drive away the sadness,
pigeons against a blue sky.
But water runs, the moon rises,
and still all I hear is silence.

How do you get under the skin of a rock?
The red of sunset clings like a stain,
though the sea washes over and over.
The colour fades in the moonlight
and sunlight, but the smell lingers
beneath the salt crust.

Summer through,
birds tongue symphonies.
I let my feet wander where they will
among the dry stuff and seeds
of spring flowering, listening to the wind
rattling leaves instead of rain.

Mist in the city
is never this diaphanous thing
that veils green and softens spikes and thorns,
coalesces into droplets that contain worlds.
It is creeping damp,
greasy shoddy stretched thin.

Beauty swims in this ocean of tepid air,
drifts on feathered wings, golden chaff.
Sunset tastes of honey
and the purple bells of heather.
It rings like the stars and the soft breathing
of sleeping companions.

Not yet

The Oracle gave me a cadralor this morning, but I’m posting this short poem instead, a sort of condensation, to use the dreaded ‘s’ word she always shoves at me, although it’s a pretty elliptical allusion.

Not yet

There are buds on the roses still to open
and birds still singing songs to hopeful nests.
The year squirms like a fat worm
among the leaf litter,
and a million hearts still beat
high as summer.

Earth music

The Oracle gave me this one from the first page of words. I have a feeling there will be more if I load the next page. There’s a sadness in the air this morning.

Earth music

This is all about her,
this music that never fades,
this sea-billowed white ship
that never sails out of sight,
the leaves, blossoms, branches,
blowing beneath a changing sky.

This mother would stop the madness,
dip the world in sweetness again,
but we close our ears with grubby hands
and race our bare dirt track,
senses soaked in illusions
and the smell of asphodel.

Remembering the wild

An odd coincidence, yesterday a friend and I were exchanging linguistic references, words to describe places and features derived from Old Norse. Ings is one of them, meaning a damp marshy place or low-lying field. The suffix ‘ing’ appeared twice on the first line of words today.
Just for the record, ‘sausage’ was on the third page. I suspect the Oracle is just winding me up.

Remembering the wild

The ings were marshy once,
water meadows and full of life,
mist, blue and green and singing.
I’ve watched them dry, drained and paved.
Cars park there now in their cold, dead space.

From my bed, I can watch the moon,
listen to her night music,
swooping low over silvered fields.
Moonlight like sunlight has its own smell,
the waxing and waning of the year.

More rain drills the dust
and plucks petals from the tired roses.
This dog end of summer hangs its head
accepting the beating of the wind,
lying down beneath the deluge.

When you were small, we walked in the forest
beneath trees taller than you had ever seen.
You clung to my hand, listening
to the wild rustlings, staring
into shadows where primal fears lurked.

Gulls scream, feet raking the foam,
raucous, rowdy, relishing the sinking pinks and reds of the day.
I spread my arms, the last sun gilds
skin unfledged in the feather-wind;
all birds in this dusk light.

I had a dream

Because my first Oracle-inspired poem was such an odd one, and because Kerfe’s poem was also a strange one in the same way, I went back, using the new word set this time. She gave me a cadralor, less enigmatic, and one of her favourite paintings (by Odilon Redon) to illustrate it.

I had a dream

I had a dream
blue lake violin music
drifting like mist
and in a pool your face smiling.

Salt clings to the skin
a memory of childhood oceans
sea caves echo
with a fading song.

Death waits
beneath every stone in the road
each step takes us closer.
Owls croon uncaring.

Spring shadows
were cool as moon eggs
summer hedges are red
with the flutter of departing chicks.

If I had a thousand lives
I would keep from each one
a single petal
and make one glorious flower.


I used the old magnets by mistake and got this from the first set of words. Not sure about it. I’ll try and consult the new set later today. And I got ‘sausage’ again. That’s never a good sign.


This day could be brilliant
as a diamond on a ring finger
languid as satin gowns
musk-heavy as roses

or it could be rain-shadow
the sour smell of rottenness
black as reefs in heavy seas.

You twist the bauble on your finger
as the first drops fall.


Once again, the Oracle shows that she sees and understands.


Heat lies still,
a basking dragon,
where dew once watered roots,
and claws scratch runnels
where rivers ran.

Heat sings
a dragon song,
brass and bronze,
as an ugly dream,

beneath a throbbing sky,
where blue
is an intangible shade
of steel,
sweating drifting feathers.