Le jour se lève

Didn’t have time to take a new photo this morning, but the scene was the same, glorious sunshine through the mist. Warm too, 21°C (70°F) this afternoon. Lovely baby-walking weather!.

Le jour se lève, se lève en or
et fils d’argent parmi les tiges
du pré ; ce jour, le jour quand tout
commence et recommence, beauté
de lumière, soleil levant.
Et dans les vernes, si noirs, si frêles,
une grive, son chant le seul qui vaille.

The morning breaks in gold and threads
of silver, glinting in the stalks
of dewy grass; this day, the day
when all begins, begins again,
in beauty with the rising sun.
And in the alders dark and frail
a thrush sings songs worth more than wealth.

Chuck out the old, drag in the new

It’s the last day of the year, and since it’s pouring with rain outside, not fit to put a dog out, I have decided it’s time to take stock of the year gone by. Really, I want to remember some of the good things because there have been quite a few not so good things.

I clocked up about a trillion novel rejections BUT I self-published two small collections of poems.

The boiler gave up the ghost BUT, miracle of miracles, we got a plumber to put in a new one within four days (they had one out the back).

We found that the prehistoric stone sink in the kitchen situated at roughly mid-thigh height on a normal person can’t be removed. It’s set in a sort of sarcophagus of solid stone and cement and ripping it out would probably bring the wall down. BUT husband has built a proper sink on top of it which looks pretty smart.

We couldn’t have everybody here for Christmas BUT we did get a new oven so I’ll be able to cook properly when we do have a family gathering.

The Covid made contact of any kind well nigh impossible BUT it meant that husband didn’t have any more one-hour train journeys into Bordeaux to teach but could zoom his lessons from home.

The house is freezing cold in winter BUT while everybody else is dying during the inevitable summer heat waves, we don’t feel it more than pleasantly warm.

Trixie destroyed a kilim by vomiting bird seed all over it BUT it seems to have cured her of stealing the birds’ food.

Finbar has gone stone deaf and can’t hear when we yell at him to stop doing something BUT nor does he hear the things that go bump in the night so he doesn’t come into our room at three in the morning needing a cuddle.

Best news of all, although we’ve seen hardly anything of family this year, next year there will be even more of them to see. Our eldest is expecting her first baby in the spring!

All in all, as we say over here, le bilan est globalement positive!



An ending of a story as winter

folds frosted wings and flies;

a story ended another one begun

is what we hope, clutching for

that narrow slender bridge and

the start-again as vital as before,

not running down, an old clock

with failing mechanism.

Final dot, the page runs white

frost cake-icing the first delight

in snow. No looking back, cross

the bridge and scatter birdsfeet

prints of black and tell another

story as spring unfolds feathered

noisy water wings and runs.

Grey days



This first day of the year

is as like to the last of the old

as two blackbirds in a hedge.


Cold is grey

as the water in the ditch

when no sun shines,


grey is wet

as the colourless grass

and dripping bare boughs,


days trudge

with mud-heavy feet

when I would fly winged and light,


and it is too cold

to stand beneath the sky

listening for the thrush’s song.


Leap in the dark

The year has started with hiccups of one kind or another, but hurricane Carmen seems to have blown herself out with only minor damage here, a few branches down, one tree, and several sprung leaks around windows. Internet is restored, family gone home, and I see there is a new prompt from dverse—a quadrille using the word, leap.

Here is a serpent’s tail quadrille.


A leap in the dark—

hark, the sounds,

hounds of night.

Light from the stars

bars the field,

shield against night fears.

Tears will fall,

recall the sadness of the past,

last year’s grieving.

Thieving time’s fierce hounds bay—

a leap in the dark.

After the party

Quiet the cold streets after the fête,

paper and packaging stir in the breeze,

and pigeons sift rubbish and pieces of glass,

firework shreds, a million dog ends,

for scraps in the debris that waits to be cleared.


The noises still echo of sick, drunken tears,

hysterics and heartaches and gutters of wine,

another year over, a new one begun,

and the same headaches thunder,

the same old wounds smart,

that buckets of champagne will not wash away

nor foie gras and caviar make easier to bear.


Silent the garden, except for the birds

as they swoop for the crumbs thrown out on the ground,

garnering sparks to keep their flame warm.

I fuel the engine of lush, green life

and sweep up the shards of the broken and maimed,

though the pale sun is hidden behind the cloud.


Rain patters lightly, as cold as steel,

on the dull, grey streets that mesh the world,

and we who are caught want to fall though the coils.

Through meanders of darkness perhaps there’s a light,

carried on wings with a cargo of song,

the music of waves and the dance of the trees,

where bird spring, the true spring waits to be born.


I went out walking when the night

was drawing in its coal black horns,

and grey as pale as winter cloud

was colouring the eastern sky.


I went out walking in the cold,

because the night had grown too old,

and birds were stirring, why not I?


I walked to where the river runs

beneath the bridge of golden stone,

and waited for the sun to rise

and broider lights of petal rose

among my thoughts gun metal dull.


I touched the wind, its biting breath

and tasted salt in every word,

I sang a song so silently

that only early sea gulls heard,

and they had little time for me.


At this ending of the year,

I catch the tail of falling stars

of leaves and plumes, fox flash of red,

and with a paintbrush wand I spread

the rainbow hues of light and life

and turn my back on all that’s dead.