This poem is very loosely inspired by Migratory birds by Desanka Maksimovic. (sorry, can’t get the accent). For the dverse prompt.


Geese fly south when the cold bites

and makes them cry for fledglings

lost to fox and hawk,

to the death of hunger-weakness or guns.


Geese fly, and their cry echoes in the winter sky,

the cry of ice-bound reaches that I will never see.

The geese fly south to winter warmth because they must,

and the hunger-weak fall behind.


Although I am not a goose,

and my winter place is my summer place,

and my chicks never died of fox or hunger-weakness,

still their cries tear a reply from my heart


for all that is left behind

and all that will never return.





Microfiction #Friday Fictioneers: Remembrance

This 99 word story is for Rochelle’s Wisoff-Fields’ Friday Fictioneers prompt.

Photo courtesy © Janet Webb


My grandmother’s house was full of pretty and mysterious things, coloured glass, silver and brass, lace and slightly faded watercolours. There was never a speck of dust, and each pretty object sat in the same place, catching light in the same way every day. I envied that she was able to surround herself with such carefully chosen beauty with no clumsy, disrespectful brothers and sisters to disturb it. It was only later, after her death, that I recalled the way she would stare into the garden, seeing nothing of her pretty objects. All she had ever wanted was Granddad.


In the palm of memory’s hand

I saw this new haiku/haibun challenge on Janice’s (On the land) blog, and couldn’t resist the theme—journey. Thank you, Suzanne 🙂 My road started somewhere close to Malin Head, the subject of this painting.


We have walked this road for so long, from the fields full of rocks, the green mountains undulating in the silver mists of rain, to the ocean that never forgets. Though the sun has shone soft on my face and the wind has been at my back, the road has always rolled beneath my feet. We have stopped for a while in the shelter of stone walls and the clutter of familiar objects, in the growl of cities and the bird-swooping peace of gardens, but the heart is never still.

I wonder, as I pack the boxes full again and fold the good memories with the old and worn, whether there is ever any peace for such as us, castaways from a place inked on retinas in the vibrant hues of sunset and sunrise. And yet I know the answer—to stop is to die. Death is the endless repetition of the same gestures, the spouting of the same platitudes. It is walking the same streets and seeing the same holes in the path and caring less with each passing day.
I pack the cups and the silver that have been companions of generations now, add a few newer souvenirs, and prepare to take to the road again, the sinuous silver sea serpent that slips forever onward to some hypothetical home.


In the light you stand,

ghosts about a green rath, seen

through a veil of rain.



Jam jar summers

This poem is in response to the Real Toads prompt, a place evoked as a person or vice versa. I suppose fish count as people.

I found this picture on Wikimedia Commons (©Bill Henderson), taken in August 2007, of Batley park lake where I used to fish on Saturday afternoons. In August, when I was a kid, it would have been teeming with hundreds of us, and not an adult in sight. This is uncanny. Times change and children now have other, safer things to do.



Warm, never hot,

those jam jar summers,

the busy town park,

cool, green, water-weeded lake,

and dark rhododendrons in dusty exotic glory.

Minnows were tiddlers,

rainbows the most prized,

twisted and curled,

bright ephemera in their prison—

summer sun,

trapped in a jar, fish-full.

Park lake noise

of boys

scrambling up the cascades of the fountain

to the ice cream stand.

Finding the places where the tiddlers hid

in the shadows we titans threw,

the nets plunged, chased.

Fish eyes glinted and tails swished,

green water rippling where the swans passed by.

Turning and twisting,

silver-scaled summer drifted,

park lawn-smooth and unruffled,

and the jam jars always ready

with green twine for handles.

We carried them home,

slop-full of silver treasure,

that faded and died, slowly,

like the thick smell of privet

and the ice cream van jingles

into a past,

blazing with water glitter

seen through a fisheye lens.

Moving on

A nostalgic cascade poem, poem on the cusp, for the dverse open link night.


Our journey moves on, no deep roots have grown,

The earth that clings is not the soil of home,

Broad leaves that shade will fall with winter frost,

We follow tides, besprayed with ocean foam.


For generations feet have trod the paths

Of many lands and found some brief respite,

In restless shadow of familiar hills,

Our journey moves on, no deep roots have grown.


The houses borrowed cheek by jowl with kin,

Do little more than gather ghosts and tears,

A hollow shell that echoes with old songs,

The earth that clings is not the earth of home.


The pang of memories will linger long,

In heartache when the summer roses bloom,

The trees that blossom, black and bare will be,

And leaves that shade will fall with winter frost.


Bright sunlight slanting though the rowan trees,

The scent of gorse that’s carried on the breeze—

To find that peace and hold it in the heart,

We follow tides, besprayed with ocean foam.

Ciao, Pig!

Photo©Harald Hansen Ours was beige (or pig pink) and the spare wheel was on the bonnet to stop the back door falling off.

This is a musical nostalgia trip for the dverse haibun prompt.


No radio in the only vehicle we ever had—no speakers had been invented that could compete with the rumble and roar of a thirty year-old Land Rover. Her name was Pig because, although the ad said beige, the children, country kids in those high and far-off days, said she was pig-pink colour. In our vintage 1973, Series III Station Wagon, we rocked and rolled along country roads, baby roped precariously onto the front ‘seat’, four children behind, strapped into the dubious safety of two seat belts, and I, no seat belt, hanging on with two hands, rode the bucking roads in the back. We sang instead the songs they taught them at school, strange songs about red deer and rabbits and hunters, Father Christmas, Bella Ciao and other partisan favourites. I hear those songs still, belted out against a background of rattling Pig engine and the protest of potholes. May Day jaunts through fallen northern blossom—a lifetime away.

Songs pour in the rain

brisk March winds blow lush May leaves—

flood of yesterdays.

Child talk

The Secret Keeper’s writing prompt included these words. The triolet was almost effortless. Imagine what I’m preoccupied with these days?



Child talk echoes, on playroom wall

Chattering, light, bewitching, fay.

When did you all grow up so tall?

Child talk echoes on playroom wall,

Every bedtime around nightfall,

This home is emptier today.

Child talk echoes on playroom wall,

Chattering light, bewitching, fay.

West wind

The Day Eighteen NaPoWriMo prompt appeals to the sentimental/nostalgic/melancholic in me. Words from home.


Standing on this river bank,

While the wind’s in the west

And the yellow gorse in flower,

Thoughts turn to home.

Sit yourself down, the kettle’s on.

Words only left,

Tattered, the gentle past flying

Grand drying weather

The low murmur of old ladies’ voices,

Men singing softly, glass in hand

The harp that once

So far now those moments,

Thunder has passed too often

Jesus, Mary and Joseph!

To much water, too many faces known,

Too many tongues have spoken.

Yet the sedge whispers the same sad songs,

The blackbird sings as sweetly,

She sang like a skylark

Some things the blood cannot forget,

Flowing through so many lives,

Beating the rhythm of so many ages past

Champion. And how’s yourself?

And the heart’s pulse remembers,

When the wind’s in the west

And the yellow gorse in flower.

NaPoWriMo: Premeditated nostalgia



I shall miss


The damp spring smell,

Heavy salt swell,

Of the ebb tide,

Where white gulls ride

Their dead wood rafts to the sea.

Though I shall be,

By and by,

Far from this broad sky,

Black-flecked with cormorants’ wings,

And the poplars where the robin sings.

Still I will keep,

In waking and in sleep,

The image of this, my river flowing,

In the foreign place where I am going.