Silence broken

As I sit on this glorious autumn morning of warm sun, I can hear, all around me the sound of gunfire. I defy anyone who is not a completely insensitive brute to listen to the sound of senseless killing and not be angered and sickened by it. A cleave poem for OctPoWriMo’s silence prompt.

A cleave poem is three in one: left side says one thing, right side says its opposite. Read together they make a third poem.



Early morning gold / the shadows lie

thick beneath the trees/ cool and deep­—

autumn settles / with a stealthy rustle,

when the only sound is birdsong/ hunters creep

beneath the wing-fluttered hedge/ deer startle into flight

I hold my breath/ as silence breaks with sharp retorts

and russet flashes, gone / shattered the fragile peace

where wild things go / snapped the thread of life

I watch the silence /as death falls on fallen grace

filling the space of beauty lost/ for some warped and dark delight.


All I ever wanted

A second poem for OctPoWriMo on the theme of touch.


All I ever wanted,

all I ever asked of you

was that you touch,

with words as gentle as the poet’s Innisfree,

brush strokes bright as some eternal evening scene,

pluck with soprano chords, the strings of my heart.

Such a little thing

yet you could only scrape,

with fingernail on blackboard screech,

the brittle, broken sound of goodbye.


For the OctPoWriMo prompt which is sort of about touch, here is my first ever sort of Clarity Pyramid. I’ll try anything once. Like most of these very particular forms, I found it hard to keep both the prompt and the form in mind at the same time. I’m not sure I got either right. Maybe I’ll get better at juggling them.




sung lament


This wind strips and rips,

keening through brambles, shreds

with winter taloned fingers.


“claw back, do not go gentle, fight.”


Just got Internet back (again). The OctPoWriMo prompt, about ways of looking at things just about works for the triolet I wrote yesterday.


This sky is heavy with grey-leafed cloud

And rests on tree tops, dusty blue,

Waiting to pour its river loud.

The sky is heavy with grey-leafed cloud,

Branching, spreading over ploughed

And empty fields where barley grew.

This sky is heavy, and grey-leafed cloud

Rests on treetops misty blue.

Night walking

Day eight of OctPoWriMo. I might try a sonnet form later. For now, it’s a sequence of three gogyohka on the theme of scent. Our lane at night is beautiful.


walking at night

on a moonless path

with only the scent

of windfalls to guide

my feet


passing the empty house

night breeze

wild and rich

brings an unknown perfume

from the dark garden


fox in the dry leaves

pigeon in the branches

an owl glides in silence

the night perfume


Dreaming blue

Day six of OctPoWriMo and the theme is blue. Predictably, there will be blue horses.



Planet earth,

the endless summer sky,

a sun-spread chicory flower,

a secret blackbird’s egg,

a southern sea seen from white clifftop,

my mother’s eyes,

the pearly haze early morning when the sun comes up,

bright jay feathers,

the colour that enrobes the calmest dreams

and gallops them across green fields.

All this blue,

and like blue water it trickles through our careless fingers,

because there is nothing we will do to keep it

from seeping into desert sand.

The door of the house

The OctPoWriMo theme today is doors. This poem came out as a sort of unmetred sonnet.


This house is bounded by stone walls,

sheltered by the roof, and more,

all the life within, without

is guarded by a door.

Feet first she went, among the mourners

following, darkening the sill.

Head first the baby entered,

banishing the dark, the weeping fallen still.

She always said that, my grandmother,

when one goes out another takes their place,

leaving or arriving, the balance kept

with open arms to vibrant life or death’s sad face.

Whichever way we pass, on joyful feet or head bowed to the floor,

It will always be beneath the scent of roses round the door.

The gift child

Looking at the OctPoWriMo prompts that I missed, I saw that day two’s theme was ‘changeling’ and the poetry form, the minute poem. I haven’t written on of those for a long time, so here goes…


They came when all the world was dark

Before the lark

Had risen high

To sing the sky.


They took my child who was so fair

With golden hair

And left instead

A dusky head.


I think I see in his brown gaze

When music plays

A fairy joy—

I’ll keep this boy.


I’d forgotten all about October being poetry writing month. A few days late, but here’s day four’s poem for OctPoWriMo.


there are cages

beneath the broad sky

where we put the things we envy

like birds and thoughts

and children


there are birds

that fly the broad sky

and thoughts that change the world

and children

who put us all to shame.

Endless hope

The last OctPoWriMo prompt takes ‘endless’ as its theme, and the suggested form is one of our own invention. The Serpent’s Tail form seems perfect for this subject, a form that snakes from one line to the next in a link of rhymes, with the last word catching the first in its mouth.


Where does it start,

heart’s ache instead of joy, now?

How did it slip,

trip over tongue,

slung upon the back of wild horses?

Remorse is a bitter pill.

Still, the waters now, unlike

pike-filled ponds,

fronds of strangling weed,

seeded in our eyes of our days.

Haze fills the pool of the past,

last ghosts drown,

frowning perhaps as you often did,

hidden now from sight.

Bright, the morning dawns, the future clears,

fears dissolve in the hopeful light,

bright as pearls—

Furls the banner of despair.