Waiting for the bus

This rainy windy night I remember stars
and waiting at the bus stop on the dark lane
where nothing would pass except the bus
and no one would walk the cracked pavement
that led up the hill and across the moor.

The sky was always bright those nights
and the rare streetlamps ghostly white.
I was a child then and the monsters in the shadows
were ones I no longer recognise,
the trees wailed a different story,
and the lane and the bus ran down to a town
that has changed like a facelift changes and tightens
familiar loose features, obliterates the past
that peered from the creases.

This cloud and this rain that pelts the windows now
remind me of those nights, frost-bright and clear,
silent as countryside is silent,
and the child that I was then,
waiting for the bus that ran and ran
and never came back.


No darkness ever


Only on mornings like this

beneath skies like this

when the soft air surrounds me

in a velvet embrace

can I think of you without weeping,

no cool-scented night ever recapture


~the time we had~


was red and raw as bird music,

as sunlight in forest gloom,

rain-shine shimmering on lake skin.

Here and now on my tongue,

the words of never letting go

still mock the silence


~in this lonely place ~


peace falls

like water over stones, climbing,

a river of roses to the light,

no darkness can ever dim

the beauty of our world

that was.



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The Daily Inkling prompt Slice of Life reminded me of a travelling girl I haven’t seen in ages.


The tent’s gone

it’s tourist season time

and those who walk beneath the bridge

cannot abide tents and dogs

and God knows what all else inside

so the police move them on.

She had six grown dogs and a batch of nine pups,

a cat with kittens and a pair of ferrets.

The boyfriend came and went but mostly went.

She had dogs and no front teeth

but enough rings you could hang curtains from her lips.

The pups, black, grey-spotted and lusty

were all spoken for. They always are, street punk dogs.

The mother was a standard street punk brown dog

with short bandy legs

but she spun a yarn the father was a wolf dog.

With grey spots.

She lent me a baby buggy once, for my dog,

to push him to the vet’s

after her pack had half-ripped the lights out of him, playing.

Offered to push him herself,

but I worried someone would steal the pups or the kittens or let the ferrets loose.

So I pushed a greyhound with blood pouring from a tear in his flank

in a baby buggy halfway across town,

and when I brought the buggy back, she’d gone.


For her Twittering Tales prompt, Kat Myrman posted this photo.


I’ll try and come back to it and get a story out of it, but first, I’ll post the haibun that it inspired, with apologies to Kat for hijacking her photo.

Like footsteps in water is the trail we leave, that no one sees or remembers once the ripples have reached the shore. For years we walk and talk, shake hands, kiss cheeks, laugh and cry, share, we think, moments that will last forever. But when the time comes to walk away, the trail goes cold. Who remembers moments when there have been so many? The city is full of them, a firework display of sensations, shared and shouted, photographed and spread like butter across a million screens, before the avid or bored eyes of a multitude. Who will call after parting steps and ask to be remembered, to catch a line thrown out before the boat passes forever out of reach? I wonder sometimes, a little, but knowing the answer, I pat the head of a friendly dog, and tell myself, this is enough. Footsteps that lead away are too sad to remember anyway.


Rain fills the potholes

in the path. Later, birds bathe—

nothing is wasted.


Still, they lie

Today is a day for remembering what we have no memories of, except in our collective memory as human beings. The image is too awful to linger on, but horror like this should never be forgotten.

A quadrille for dverse.


Still, they lie,

in the speckled light of dust motes,

memories heavy with grief.

Still, they lie,

faded faces,

with eyes full of sorrow,

because the terror came later

or before.

We will never know them,

but that does not mean

we should forget.

Silence is all

Photo ©John Haslam


Silence is all that greets this blue morning,

No words can soften the chill in the air,

The dead have no voices, their tears are all dry.


Quiet these fields, the last of the roses,

Flowering in earth once harrowed with hell,

Silence is all that greets the blue morning.


A scattering of crosses, white wood, grey stone,

The whisper of voices from so long ago,

No words can soften the chill in the air.


Bells toll the seconds, last lives extinguished,

The blood in the fields now flowering red,

The dead have no voices, their tears are all dry.

I don’t remember


I don’t remember the house where I was born

nor the first words that I spoke,

first steps, first smile.

I don’t remember the day I started school

nor the first time I saw the sea.

The first ride on a train,

a plane, forgotten with familiarity.

I don’t remember the last time I saw my dad

or the last living look of my mother

nor my grandmother’s words before I left home.

I don’t remember why we broke up,

the words that were said or the colour of the sky.

If only, I say, I had known,

all these last times, these first times

I would have stored away,

hidden in a box beneath the bed

to take out and polish,

hone like a hunting knife

and let the memories dig, gouge, bite,

for the pain at least would remind me

that I once spoke and loved and lost

in that distant world full of yesterdays,

drifting away into the mists of oblivion.

Birth Day


Birth day

The last time

No sky that day just fog dense and damp

And the bite of coming winter in the air.

Shaking out the children’s winter coats

My waters breaking

And you, my little salmon, beating back upstream

Not yet ready, clinging to your due of paradise.

Two days they urged you to leave and you would not.

In the end they gave you little choice.

With no roar of rage, a sigh of regret only

You left your dark watery cave

And salmon leapt into my arms

Your face as bright as any sun.

All things pass

©Michael J. Bennett
©Michael J. Bennett

All things pass and turn into the dark
Green leaves shrink and sink into the loam
Howling cliffs are beaten by the ocean swell
Into grains of sand beneath the lacy foam.

All things turn their faces from the light
Beyond the blue, cold darkness fills each corner of the sky.
Following the cosmic dance until the end
The fire of the brightest star will die.

I gather them up, my myriad shining thoughts
Though they have no weight in the infinity of space.
The planets turn and wheel about my head
And stars pick out the contours of your face.

All things pass as I will into endless night
Leaving perhaps a trail of fire in the dark
For you to follow when your light begins to wane,
Kept glowing in your heart, a bright eternal spark.

My one desire while the daylight lasts
To learn the beginning and the end of what you are
And be content when my world turns into the dark
To cool and fade like any humble star.

I remember

I remember as a child
gazing in wonder from the circling plane
at the green, field-tilting earth rising to meet it.
Clouds hung grey and rain-swollen,
light dim and moist
but the fields were the colour of dreams.
A fragment, a seed, a memory
fell from the heart’s molten core
into the heavenly green
and tied me with subtle strings
to that first sight of home.
And when the strings pull tight and draw me back
it is not to mountains or lakes or the bellowing cliffs,
but to a field and a wall of grey stone,
that first sight of the green hills of home.