For the dverse prompt.


High, beyond tree branches,
blue-bedded, cloud-cradled,
the day-star rocks the world
from side to side,
chariot of fire.

Light swarming in silver streams
from moon-fullness,
I stand in the ebbing tide,
foam lapping bare ankles,
phosphor-flamed, dreaming.

Sunken sun highlighted
with fire silhouette, crowns this hill
of the omphalos. Listen to the earth voice
in the crackling flames. Dance until


On the cusp

On the cusp


My diamond child calls,
unarmed against fortune,
the uncertain shapes in the shadows.
I tell her that spring will soon be here.
Things will change.


Leaves lie in deep drifts
beneath the oaks, their quick russet shades
passed to uniform brown,
the antechamber of loam.
I hear them whispering impatiently.


There is sadness
in the rise and fall of the swell,
like a heaving chest full of sobbing
and no sweetness in the troughs
just a gathering before another wave.


Ship in a storm
only in films now,
photogenic three-masters,
but the boiling seas of emotions are the same,
the beats make the same song.


Suddenly the sky is suffused with pink,
and you scream, the work of god,
a sign, an omen, but I smell a familiar scent
and know that the pink sky is part of a beloved memory.
You believe what you want.


Inspired by the random word Oracle.


Looking for signs in the cold grass
ant-clamber through stalks
and roots hoof-scuffed and scraped

looking for bees
in unopened flowers
bats in frosty air

and the secret scented
air pockets of summer trees
beneath these black boughs.

Hope flies among the heavy clouds
grey as bombers limping home
over the dead horizon

swims the swathes of rippling branches
buds tight but longing to burst
in shoals of blossom.

It seems absurd to sleep
when the world is stirring
deep-earthed and restive

searching for a light so long
in piercing the wintry gloom
that makes a wild ocean of the sky

for pearls and sea glass glowing
with the memory of past summers
golden days silver nights.

Sea songs

The Oracle gave me a disjointed poem so I loaded more words, carried on and decided they were separate poems. When the fifth poem brought me back to the beginning again, I stopped. She always knows.

Sea songs


I soar into beauty
leave behind those
who have less than this
the heaving waves
that swallow those in the troughs.


It is a lie
the ache will not stop
music fill air cool with summer winds
blow the pain
into the great grinding wastes
out of sight.


The singing leaves a sticky taste
the too pink dress
glittering with too many diamonds.

Her mother should have stopped her
they say
as if she would have been satisfied
with bird-feathered evenings
the honey-sun dripping into the purple horizon
her hair blowing in the soft wind.


The swimmer
colour of peaches and evening skies
becomes the red woman of my dreams
the one who watches for those
who fall among the trees
bare and hungry with winter
gathering their misery.


I am still me
though mists confuse the boundaries
and I must shout to be heard

my cry rings out
strong as the black rock
beaten by the swell spray
the heaving waves of the

Oracle 1. 2. and 3.

Today, I stuck with the words the Oracle gave me, more or less in the order they appeared. The first poem was strange, and I know what I think it means, and it’s not something I’d be comfortable putting my name to. So I asked for another, also strange, and the third one is so sad I gave up. She’s in one of those moods today.

Oracle 1

Those are not women,
this not their honey-garden.
Their screams rise like bubbles
into the elusive pink
of an unattainable sky.

Sleep, she says, and dream,
rolling back the mistaken paths,
find the origin, unadorned,
not an idol to worship,
no entrapment, but the true light of day.

Listen to the singing,
the songs that have always been,
immutable as the bed of the sky,
the silent stars,
the stuff of our making.

Oracle 2

Sun like wind roars red
we have one skin
yours is black
a man-smell
I watch it rust
in the frantic blowing.

Could it be
we are only dreaming
of this cool forest
its dark gentle depths?

Oracle 3

Who put out the lie
that spring was coming fast
and I would be with you?

From this rock
all I can see is water
neither you nor diamonds
and the men taking you away.

Lost horizons

For the dverse prompt. Apologies in advance to those whose comments WP won’t let me reply to.

Lost horizons

We cast our nets with longing
into the distant childish past,
of golden clouds of glory, trailing

from the land of Counterpane,
the wardrobe door that opened
onto magic snow, those lands

where carpets fly and unicorns,
of Pegasus and Lamassu,
the burning dunes of Samarkand.

We wander the deep dark forest paths
In search of our child’s garden of verse,
innocence and Paradise lost.

Not lost for me,
for I was never there,
or perhaps I simply never left.

Turning leaves

Turning leaves

Storm cloud points a finger,
and the wind screams. The sky
streaks with petal-pink as the sun
rises, and eaves drip diamonds.

This last day of the calendar year
is just a day, full of light and shadow.
No god will be offended, turn his face
either backwards or forwards.

The sun is a distraction; there
should be frost. We should strain
into icy fog where our dreams
of spring are cocoon-curled.

They are there across the red water
of another sunset, swimming in tepid
pools, curled inside sunburst eggs, the
stirring roots of the garden-in-waiting.

The slide will be gentle; the green
is already here, bird music already
playing spring chords. There will be
no sadness turning over new leaves.

A painted day dream

I’m very late visiting the Oracle. I tried yesterday and ran out of time. Tried to pick up where I left off, but she gave me this instead.

A painted day dream

It was a painting of sun on water,
white sand, a paradise, so far from
the grey, the ordinary things.
I imagined walking the woods
of a tiny tongue of land, misted
by distance, its low hills
lapping the sea, a green largo
in a concerto for blue and gold.

By the mere

The Oracle gave me a story poem. I’ve just come back from wandering in the woods by the stream and found a large pond, long and meandering, among the trees.

By the mere

I heard her first, her quiet sobbing
by the mere among the trees,
there was no wind.

My feet among the dead leaves sounding
loud as horses hooves, I waited,
standing still.

Her gown I glimpsed was russet red,
a hind, she was, so hard to see
among the trees,

until she shook her dark hair, raised
her face so pale, so fair, and stood
upon the bank.

The woods sobbed with despair and sorrow,
as soundless as a bird she dived,
red salmon-leap.

Too late, I cried out, wait, not yet!
The bramble brake barred still my way
the path too long.

The mere was smooth and not a ripple
marked the place where she had gone.
The water dark

as winter nights without the stars
was undisturbed, no pale face raised,
to see the sky for one last time,
was to be seen.

The woman-peach says

Been too busy to compute for the last few days. I grabbed a short ‘hello’ from the Oracle and will get back to reading catching up later this afternoon.

The woman-peach says

this garden is full of life-juice,
though the wind howls,
the days swell with winter cloud,
and our hearts ache
for the careless days of summer warm.

Though hoarfrost coats dark branches
thick as rust on wrought iron,
the ship is there, riding soft billows,
laden with roses.