A departure

A departure

Across the meadows,
bright with duty and waving flags,
between supple soldier stalks,
bee-wreathed and busy,
spring departs.

From the town,
the solemn sound
of the church bell tolling rolls
ebbing or flowing or both at once,
through the sky-chant,

ingenuous paean
to the moment now,
of a hundred meistersinging blackbirds.


Ariadne refuses Dionysus

I had another look at the Oracle this evening. I thought she had something else to say.

Ariadne refuses Dionysus

He plucked his music from the wind and waves
and sang with the blackbird’s voice,

on a rock lapped by the sea. He played
as night fell and spelled a sleep for all but she,

never doubting he would take her up
like an osprey leashed and belled,

but as the stars pricked in the sky,
her eyes were turned to home.

She saw his waiting women in the sea mists
rising, his hair that floated dark as kelp,

and on the silver golden sand she stood
and sang her own enchanted song

to Moon, the mother of the sky,
who laid a path across the waves

and gave her feet light foaming wings,
until she reached the homeward shore.



Still, be still, amid the spring folly
of sprouting sun, mirrored moon
and the sweet song of running water,
bird-ripple in dappled trees.

Let darkness prowl the night-clinging woods,
where stars blink in deep-sea meres,
and banished winter flicks its catfish tail,

sinks into gullet-dark mud, all trace lost
in the summer blizzard dance
of may, damsel and dragon.

On the lake

On the lake

The woman in the lake, on the island in the lake,
among the trees, unseen,
a gentle movement like wings,
calls across the water,

to the man by the lake,
who stares at the island in the lake
with narrowed eyes, imagines
a winged woman, trailing veils of gauze.

She calls with the voice of birds,
the low guttural caress of furred things,
the murmur of leaves and water,

and he hears the song of birds,
the bark of a hind, the lapping of lake water,
the wind in the leaves,
but not what they say,

because the moon is rising and will set in the west,
the stars point their bright fingers towards the place,

and the trees shake their hair in the wind
that ruffles the water of the lake,
roosting blackbirds cluck uneasily, ruffle-feathered.

Go back, says the woman on the island in the lake,
to your bloodied halls, the clash or arms,
the coarse laughter of your men.
By your side is no place for me.

The man by the lake, wades deeper
through the reeds, through the rising wind
and the night birds’ cries, and he shouts
at the night, at the woman’s moon,

his bitter words of women’s faithlessness,
his empty threats, while the moon rises,
the waves rise, and push him homeward
in the laughter of the wind.


This is what came from the first set of words this morning. I think it is anyway. It’s not like the Oracle’s usual style and I don’t even remember writing it. Brain is very blurry with this thing I’ve got.


Petals open beneath the rain,
flowing into cupped flower bowls,
running over, seeping, sinking,
among root systems we never see,
too intent on the sky, the clouds, a day ruined.

Nothing seeks entertainment the way we do,
infinite technological possibilities,
and we worship only the sun,
unimaginative as potatoes, the stones in the road.

In the drip-drip of drops from glistening leaves,
bending grass stalks and the swaying heads of buttercups,
birds sing.

Come hell or fescue-high water,
birds sing, filling tree-sails,
rocking on the ocean swell of damp meadows.

Birds skim, food-questing, chick-feeding,
abseiling the slanting shafts of rain, hawk-like,
when mice scurry.

Life lives, broad and wild,
while we sit, glum, despondent,
picking through the bright insect-rapid fluttering
on a tiny screen.


The first words the Oracle gave me (please, sausage, death) I have disposed of here:
Please, sausage, just die!


Life flows from these deep green depths
where the slow fish rise and sink
in tidal synchronisation,

and the evenings are purple
through the low branches, sweet
with blackbirds and spring nightingales.

Here all speak the same tongue,
all listen for the song of the rain
to soften summer’s harsh edge.

Water, day and night

Water, day and night

Obverse of night,
the medal turns, shines gold,
and silver where water runs

from frozen summits in leaping cascades
or slow, green, blue a broad ribbon of sky,
rushy banks hiding herons.

There are no shadows
on the skin of this summer river,
barely a ripple between sandbanks,

and the sun reaches through
the shallows to where fish hover,
fins fluttering like fans,

dreaming of the ocean,
swell thick as black oil, a night of water,
the rise and fall of a titan’s chest,

where the light is slick and pewter pale,
some nights, others,
the black is dense as evil intent,

robbing the sky of stars,
the day of sunlight,
the sweetness of the roses.



They drift away, the words,
caught by a lazy breeze,
carried too far to find again
among the red and rose clouds
along the horizon.

Tongue, language, weasely and imprecise,
almost all we have to define ourselves,

so we will be silent,
touch and taste,
lie in soft shadows;
out of the harsh sun-glare,
and trust in that look,
deep then, to be always.

Spring treads here

The wind is blowing hard now, bringing handfuls of rain, and the blue sky alternates with black cloud.

Spring treads here

Sap is rising fast, driven by earthwinds
and the roaring from the ocean.
I can taste it on my tongue, salty and green.

Prune the vines now and they weep crystal tears
that grow and grow, until the whole world is inside,
then they drop into golden dandelion faces.

Every stalk is bud-bursting, flowering,
and her fingers brush them as she passes,
her touch gentle as daybreak and waking birds.