Behind the eyes, the migraine flicker,
grainy film, silent, rapid, disjointed.
Night, eyes wide, the film reels on.

Window-framed, lightning flashes,
silent storm, a whole sky white hot,
starless, eaten by fire.

Dawn drenches without turning off the light.

On waking with another migraine

On waking with another migraine

Day too bright to see the wavering trees,
the stink of unseen things too strong,
the pounding of hammers behind the eyes too loud,
to feel the touch of gentler heat on the skin.

I listen in the darkened room,
in the penumbra of shutters almost closed,
to a warbler singing quietly in the distant shade,
quietly and slowly, one note at a time,
falling at the phrase’s end, as if uncertain,
is the song complete, or is it not?

A pause, and he picks up the thread,
continues, with or without my opinion.

the hammers stilled,
the bird is singing still.

Sick lights


Some mornings, when the light
is full of the furred and flashing
pounding of shells, shrapnel bright
and biting, bitter bile rises
like cockcrow from beyond the trees,
stirring the shards, pecking
and scratching with spurred feet.

Some mornings I close my eyes,
try to stop the dizzying, disjointed
fireworks dance, the techno beating
silence and, fumbling with trembling
fingers, hang above the roaring flood
that pours over the edge of the night.

Head aches


In the heat the head swells and throbs

cricket-like with pain and dancing lights

in the stomach that rise with sea-swell twittering.


Blue batters the eyelids with syrup

cloying sickening

and there is too much gold in the air.


The words come slow and thick gluey

as honey-dew loud as the din of the crows

barking at the bilious sky.

Head in the rain


Listening to the drip drip of rain on the migraine

and feeling the earth soak beneath boots, sinking


unstable and the air full of shimmering, I walk

beneath dripping trees, where birds watch for worms,


and the background noise shrinks to the song of

nightingales, tirelessly ignoring storm and downpour.


I walk a path between grasses shoulder high, bowed

by lead crystal drops, and the clamour soothes,


cooling the blood with rain drip dripping

from the pigeon-grey eaves of the sky.



Stones in my mouth

and in the gap behind the eyes

and on my tongue

the taste of rotten fruit.

Light on the grass


with the jabber of snake tongues.

Only bile rises

no wing-lifting sweetness

riddled with perfect notes.

Cold fills every pore

and pain hammers

with the dull distant persistence

of hellish anvils.


is the stippling of pinpricks on tin

and the ocean heaves acid.

Nothing forms in the dark swill

but nonsense

and the laughter of woodpeckers.


Tomorrow is there,

lurking in the darkest hours of today,

waiting with its claws and its thorns that tear the flesh

and etch fatigue into every joint.

The bright dreams of once

hang like framed pictures high on a bleak wall,

not quite out of the reach of vandals.

Spray-painted worries splatter the colours with black,

and attercops spin their sticky webs

that catch not flies but silver fishes,

flick-flitting through the calm waters of what might have been.

Might yet be, who knows?

Who can see through the murky veil?

Between then and now there is no more night,

no gentle buffer zone,

just a choppy sea full of whirlpools,

the harsh cry of gulls,

and the same words, chitter-chattering round and round.

Peace and silence sail beyond the reach of mortal hand

and the sails are black.

Somewhere, far away, a sparrow chirrups.

I toss a handful of crumbs to clear the rags from the air

that fills with soft feathers and beating hearts,

and I remember the golden cube of stone,

old and sturdy, set in clay and lush meadow,

the well of quiet, that waits at the end of the night.



Silence slumbers

The Daily Post prompt is: silence. Appropriate for a migrainy day.


Silence slumbers on the far reaches,

Sand slips between clawing fingers,

And the pounding roar of the surf

Fills every hollow inside the skull.

Where does the darkness hide

When the night is full of light?

And the streetlights throb like open wounds,

Their gaudy lament jingle-jangling

On the hard glitter of the streets?

Silent sleep evades, furtive as cat shadows,

And the clanging of the night train,

Rollocking through the last tunnel,

Draws nearer and louder,

But though I wait with anguished withheld breath,

It never arrives.


The Daily Post prompt suits my mood today.


So hard to bear the jangling noise

That beats the drum inside the head

And takes away balance and poise.

So hard to bear the jangling noise,

That jumbles thoughts like babies’ toys

And meshes them like tangled thread.

So hard to bear the jangling noise,

The flashing lights, the taste of dread,

The chaos in sweet order’s stead.