She wore a red dress

The Oracle gave me a story today. Not sure what it means, perhaps nothing at all. After days of migraines, worries and storms, perhaps it’s just a story.

Painting by Ruth Davidson Abrams, found in my gallery. The title is Woman with Shells, La Mer and La Mère. Couldn’t be more appropriate.

She wore a red dress

She wore a red dress,
hoping the men would look
as she waited on the quay
in the pale morning mist.

Three masts rose indistinct,
pennants hanging limp and grey,
but she heard the slap of the water
and believed it was there.

She would swim, if she had to,
as far as the rocks, and wait
for the storm to crack open the sky,
and for the mother herd to come.

Her shadow would fall, black as sorrow,
on the waves, her tears scatter
like sea foam, the tinkle of tossed diamonds,
and they would hear.

In her dream, she boards the ship,
swims to the rocks, and the sea is full
of the crying of gulls, waves,
and those who live beneath.

A thousand voices sing in greeting
in welcome, and she leaps, a salmon-leap,
into the water of living silver. The sun rises,
the mists dissolve, and she is home.

The morning after

This was the second poem the Oracle gave me yesterday. I didn’t get around to posting it, but having read the poems of my sister witches, I will. Once again, Odilon Redon provides an appropriate accompaniment.

The morning after

The air thrills
with a thousand million whispers
drifting from a shining sky,
and all the blood
is swept away in their singing.

Strings play, and tongues follow
the weft of the notes.
Forest leaves murmur
and drip their morning dew
of moon-memories night-scented.

Roses nod their faces
cupped to hold the light,
and the roar and the heat
of man’s barbarity
sinks into the sepulchre
of the holy vengeful earth.

In the land of zombies the brain-dead is king

I saw the breathtakingly disgusting performance at the NRA convention of the mountain of ignorant gloop that many millions wish was the leader of their country. I turned to the Oracle for some sanity. This came from the first page of word tiles. I’ll go back later, hoping for something less furious.

You live a lie of bleeding purple hearts,
the message said,
and arm your lazy summer dreams,
drunk on peaches and mirrors.

Is this the picture you see,
the bald justice for the beauty lost?
Why is your coarse cackle still heard,
when their voices are silent?

Dreams of animals

Painting by Paul Sérusier.

No wind in my hair
the heat still as death
shimmering blue as damselfly wings
as blackbirds’ eggs.

Sitting by the lake
I listen to the woods
and their thousand sounds
a language I will never speak.

This spring light is sweet as roses
soft as peach skin
shining on these hills
and distant plains where murder is done.

We drive through frantic traffic
beneath a brazen sky
guided by the tiny sound
of two beating hearts.

Perhaps there will be no storm tonight
no moon
and we will see white Bóinne
scatter her milky stars across the sky.

Fierce and tender

The Oracle’s poem more than a message. A cadralor.

Sky is blue as a bird’s egg
but the lake is black.
Time blows across its surface
filling its depths with wreckage.

The garden wears a smock
of stalks and last years leaves
keeping the green growth bright
cradling the budding flowers.

These roads and city streets teem
clashing rocks and whirlpools of brash clamour.
My eyes and ears full of purple sunset
blackbirds singing.

Temple-churches full of blood
and the worship of death
suffocating with cut lilies
and the sound of weeping.

Wind-whispers weave stories
from storms and a transfigured sky
red and purple seep earthwards
the scent of roses.

Sea song

I had to write and post this to be able to read Merril’s and Kerfe’s messages from the Oracle. Oddly, the Redon image I’ve already used today fits it well.

Sea song

She sings on a rock in the mists of the bay
untouched by storm-lashed spray
and the gathering gloom.

Her song lights the darkness
shining like sunlight honey-sweet
though I taste bitter salt.

Salt spray like diamonds
wreaths her head
bay leaves of fish scale-silver.

I hold out my hands
like a mother beckoning
through the unchained waves,

gulls soar pleading
but she turns eyes deep as dry wells
face wet with running tears

to the empty sea
where lies a broken ship
a man of blood and roses

and there are no words left
in this world of chaos
except the words of her song.

Silver linings

Finally getting round to posting Saturday’s message from the Oracle which turned out to be a proper Cadralor.
The painting is by Marc Chagall.

Silver linings

It’s live, she said,
I know I’ll speak too fast,
my tongue stumble on the words.

But the cat in her lap
stole the show.

They lean together like reeds
at the water’s edge, to chant,
worship, but the wind blows away
the quavering song,
leaving the dead in peace.

The wedding party was a mingling
of joy and grief, men and women
with their separate ideas.
Only the red-haired fiddler
was lost in the tune.

Will this rain never stop? you cry.
The sea tosses spray in your face,
the wind tosses petals
torn from early roses,
and suddenly, you laugh.

In this cool spring light,
a storm is a thing of beauty,
steel shafts of rain echo the tall sedge stalks.
I watch summer budding
in lightning flashes.


The first word I saw was Merril’s, but as it was the first, I felt the Oracle wanted me to borrow it. And she ended with Kerfe’s boat, itself symbolic.


Through the ruins and the morning silence,
a violin plays, an air picked up,
repeated in all the desolate places,
a lament that never ends.

Mysteries, reduced to chocolate indulgences,
a symphony of moving jaws.
Wings settle, enfold. Birds know,
an egg is life, a miniature world.

The sunset dissolves in rain,
the purple washed into the grass,
swallowed up, leaving only a sigh,
wind in sedge, that sounds like the sea.

We ended the day in anger.
I lay awake, watching the red cloud
gather over your head. By dawn,
it had enveloped the whole house.

There is music in rose petals,
a ship on a scented sea.
Standing in the shallows dappled with light,
watch the prow turn shorewards.

Things that might have been

Things that might have been

I take a handful of random words,
rearrange them to make some kind of beauty:
twilight purple and pink on a lonely lake.

I watch the morning sing and the jays raise
the sun above the trees on their joyous wings,
the chick dead in the night forgotten.

I said some harsh things in the heat
of the moment, the heat of the night,
and the harsh light of day has set them hard.

I wish these flying, soaring things that toss
storm waves from their backs and surf the wind
could speak the gentle tongue of dogs.

Knit up the ravelled sleeve, gather pebbles
shiny with dew, catch the last sunset rays,
before wish becomes regret, and the night falls.

The bitter and the sweet

The bitter and the sweet

There is no language with the words
to embellish this spring gown

no ship that skims the water
with a swan’s unconscious grace

no music machine to rival
the lark ascending into summer blue.

Grief is grey as ash
the same pall for all those
with tongues to cry

and when the gale howls
even the rose bows its head
and lets its petals fall.