Earth is dark

Because Merril used the nature set of magnets, I thought I ought to have a go too. Maybe get a more hopeful message. I used the same pattern, a line or two from each page of words. The result is is not too depressing.


Earth is dark.

Rain murmurs in the wild wind,

and winter listens to the wet-boughed world.

Frost falls at dawn light and glitters at dusk light,

water stilled in its cycle.

Night blooms like stone flowers;

no bird rustles to disturb the moon’s flight.

Deep in the shifting carpet of fallen leaves,

where rock hides and splits in the cold,

the spirits of seeds sing lullabies to dead things

and twist the debris of the year into tendrils of life.


Haibun for an autumn Sunday

It’s September, it’s hunting season and a typical Sunday of keeping away from the hedges and the trees.


I wanted a garden, got a meadow instead, and the flowers are wild. Not a garden but home to a voiceless population. A home encircled by men with guns, nature lovers, protectors of the environment, killers. I have become a sentinel.

Who loves nature

does not carry

a gun.

Haibun for nature’s magic

Well, I couldn’t resist. Another haibun for the dverse magical nature prompt. The five line verse is a gogyohka.

Meadow high

Life is heavy these days. Worries settle like indigestion in the silence of the night, rattling chains like Marley’s ghost and chasing sleep. The remedy, come morning, is to walk around the land, along the north path where the vines face south, down the west side where dog roses perfume the air, beneath the plum trees and the fig, to follow the stream east in the shade of poplar and oak, to listen to all that rustles and sings, barks and chatters, and let the peaceful words of running water sooth the night away.

stream babble-music plays

birds among the leaves trill unseen

a tangle of scents

furtive scuttle-rustle

grass stalks bend—wild secrets


I’ve been working on this poem for a few days. Seems like a good moment to post it. For the NaPoWriMo pastoral prompt.


We walk in the dark of the wind-rushy trees,

listening to their wind-rushy voices,

solemn and wise and old as the earth,

silencing birdsong and furtive rustlings

from woods, hedges, field edges

and sleeping gardens.

Hands touch, but can they hold it back,

the something, pale blue and shimmering,

that seemed to fade in the dusk?

Wind rushes, rolling the perfume of lilac along the lane,

playing the woodwind of rose and oriole,

bowling garlic flower notes against the dark.

Wind ruffles flowerheads with gentle hand,

my face, sharper, imperious—listen, feel—

then suddenly the stream,

banked in heavy scents of wet earth,

edged in elm and elder,

alder and willow boughs sweeping low,

calls in the pure ringing voice

of spring water running

and the notes, a seamless weave,

leave no space for sadness.

Hare in the grass

Today is haibun Monday at dVerse. The theme is the best meal you ever had, if you want to join in. I had already written a haibun on Saturday which doesn’t fit the theme at all so I’ll probably sit this one out, but it’s what I was thinking over this weekend so I’ll post it here anyway.

And since I’m not following the prompt, I may as well not follow the rules of a haibun either. I wrote two haiku to follow the prose. Choose whichever you prefer.

Photo©John Fielding

I want so much to belong to this place, to absorb every petal of every flower, the opening buds, the birds that fill the trees. I listen and I watch, where water rills and winged shapes flit among the tracery of the branches. But listening and watching, the wheels turn, the gears shift and emotion becomes knowledge. It gives names and habits, category and genus, dry as dust not green and sappy or hot as blood.

Do egrets know they are egrets, that their pure white beauty stops the heart? Does my wonder break into their indifference? And what pleasure do I retain from the sight of a leveret, speckled and fragile, in the long grass, when my clumsy tread wrung a heart-rending cry of pain and terror from such a baby?

We trample the long grasses and nodding flowers, break branches, muddy waters, and go our way like a hurricane, leaving devastation in our wake, nests disturbed, young dispersed, a whole generation lost. We live on the edge of wilderness, never a part of it, merely onlookers, treading flat-footed and careless on all that we cannot understand, even the miracle of beauty that is a wild hare.


A cry in the grass

speckled struggling then stillness—

may night sooth the pain.


Grass, a frail nest, hides

speckled hare in dappled sun—

night has fox’s teeth.


This poem is written in response to the pic & a word challenge: Lessons.

I have taken the theme but chosen a different image.



The stars were always meant to glitter,

Death and loss ever be bitter,

Birds to sing and raise their young,


Every river made to flow,

Wild winds never cease to blow,

Songs be sung and sung and sung.


Earth was always meant to turn,

Fire was made to heat and burn,

And dewdrops, on a fine web, strung.


Tales were written to be told,

Winter storms to bring the cold,

In our eyes the snowflakes flung.


And we were meant to live in love

With all in the earth and sky above,

But we chose the hawk and not the dove.

Microfiction: Gardening

Today’s word from the Daily Post is ‘diverse’. Diverse is a term that’s getting a lot of air time lately. I’ll leave the more weighty definitions to other people and play with the more frivolous.



Irene was a gardener. Not like Fred Sutcliff next door who thought a garden was a square of green grass with a border of tea roses round it, and not like Enid Butler who thought a garden was what you had to get rid of if you wanted to keep cars. Irene had green fingers. She dug and mulched and composted. She took cuttings, split and grafted. She made raised beds, rockeries, herb squares and sunken water gardens. Every square inch was planted with something. She knew exactly where each plant would do best, and when it proved to be a stubborn bugger that didn’t conform to type, she moved it until it was satisfied.

Irene’s George had been more like Fred Sutcliff, but he had learned to leave her to the gardening and had stuck to his wood carving instead. Now George had passed on, but the garden was going from strength to strength. It became Irene’s private world.

Irene had a grand daughter, Julie. She had several grand daughters but Julie was the one who liked to have her own bit of garden to dig in. Irene encouraged her, giving her bits of geranium to plant, the odd packet of seeds. She explained which colours went best together, how to plant borders with the tall flowers at the back. Julie listened, and she dug, fed worms to the robin, caught slugs and tipped them over the hedge into Fred Sutcliff’s garden when he was out, and she watched the flowers grow.

Julie’s mother thought it was a funny sort of occupation for a little girl, but she was indulgent, and for Julie’s sixth birthday she gave her a miniature set of gardener’s tools, plant pots and a great armful of packets of seeds. The flowers in the pictures were dazzling, every possible colour imaginable. Julie was entranced.

“You’re lucky, being an April baby.” Irene beamed at her. “We’ll be able to plant out your seeds straight away. We’ll see what your mum’s chosen, and I’ll have a think about where they look best.”

Irene helped Julie clear her corner of the garden, pointed out which seeds should be planted where, which ones weren’t really suitable, and left her to it. It was June before she realised that Julie had gone beyond her remit. Julie’s flowers weren’t obvious at first, growing randomly among the carefully chosen borders and arrangements. But as they gained in size and confidence, and especially as they came into flower, Irene realised the enormity of what her grand daughter had done. Pale pink sweet peas clambered among the bright orange of monbretia, red poppies danced through purple phlox, bold flames of nasturtiums swallowed the delicate blue geraniums. Everywhere colours clashed. The discordant tones of creepers crawled among the delicate spires of lilies, through the rose trees, rambled down the rockeries.

“Look,” Julie said, pointing to the nasturtiums that climbed to her head height along the thorny stems of a pink rose. “Aren’t they pretty?”

“It’s a mess!” Irene said. “They’re all in the wrong places. You can’t mix colours together like that. And you can’t let them climb where they want either.”

“Why not?”

“Because…it doesn’t look right, all those different heights and colours growing next to one another.”

“They do in the field.”

“Exactly! A field is wild. This is a garden.”

Julie gave her grandmother a disappointed look. “I like wild best.”

A bee buzzed past. On its way to the rose, it sampled a sweet pea.

“See,” Julie said. “So do the bees.”



Once I bowed my head with all the rest

Breathed in the scent of incense by the candles’ flickering flame

Fearing death almost as much as I feared life.

Now I raise my face to the rising and the setting sun

And wonder at the silver light of the moon

And how it soothes the ugliness out of every scar.

Instead of tuneless soulless words

Chanted beneath a sky purged of mystery and the deep unknown

I let my soul soar on the wings of the blackbird’s song

Into the morning where every hue of feather and petal and leaf is born.

And when it is time for night to fall

I will fade into the soft darkness between the stars

With the song of the blackbird rippling in my ears.

More very small poems


Still surface
mirror smooth
the river runs
to the sea

The quest

Dog runs through morning meadow
nosing tufts of dewy grass
delicately industrious
searching for the perfect blade


Deep night
No moon
Star bright

World in a tree

Poplar leaves flicker
a shoal of silver fish
in the ocean of the wind


Aircraft grinds through the clouds
engines roaring, poison-tailed.
Light as autumn leaves
swifts swoop and dive

Mulberry tree

The unnamed tree is umbrella-shaped
That’s all.
Call it Mulberry, I look again, curious,
and a tree becomes a story.


Sunlight turns wave tips to quicksilver.
The kite circles,
watching only the scurrying
in the brown river mud.


Liquid eyes
Calm and dog brown
Look into mine
And see the whole world.