Sea song

I had to write and post this to be able to read Merril’s and Kerfe’s messages from the Oracle. Oddly, the Redon image I’ve already used today fits it well.

Sea song

She sings on a rock in the mists of the bay
untouched by storm-lashed spray
and the gathering gloom.

Her song lights the darkness
shining like sunlight honey-sweet
though I taste bitter salt.

Salt spray like diamonds
wreaths her head
bay leaves of fish scale-silver.

I hold out my hands
like a mother beckoning
through the unchained waves,

gulls soar pleading
but she turns eyes deep as dry wells
face wet with running tears

to the empty sea
where lies a broken ship
a man of blood and roses

and there are no words left
in this world of chaos
except the words of her song.


I didn’t want to not do the last NaPoWriMo prompt, even if a cento isn’t my kind of thing. This poem is entirely written by William Shakespeare.

Dreams of a dead lover

I dreamt there was an emperor,
His legs bestrid the ocean,
His face
A sun and moon.

Night hangs upon mine eyes, my bones would rest
Beneath the visiting moon.

A sea change
into something rich and strange—
Those are pearls that were his eyes,
A walking shadow.
Our lamp is spent.

As boundless as the sea, my love,
I owe more tears
To this dead man than you shall see me pay.
Here is my space.
Kingdoms are clay.

Sleep that knits up the ravell’d sleeve of care,
Sleep, that I might see but such another man.

Le printemps est venu

Le printemps est venu

Le printemps est venu,
emballé de nuages,
ficelé du vol de pinsons,
et embaumé du chant du merle

Ces arbres murmurent
dans leur langue de feuilles nouveau-nées,

et moi, j’écoute avec espoir,
l’insaisissable, cheval ailé,
bleu comme les brins de ciel,
qui remplissent à ras bord
un nid de rouge gorge.

Spring came

Spring came,
wrapped in cloud,
tied up in chaffinch flight,
perfumed with the blackbird’s song.

These trees of mine murmur
in their tongue of new born leaves,

and I listen with hope,
elusive as the winged horse,
blue as the brimming scraps of sky
in the robin’s nest.

The bitter and the sweet

The bitter and the sweet

There is no language with the words
to embellish this spring gown

no ship that skims the water
with a swan’s unconscious grace

no music machine to rival
the lark ascending into summer blue.

Grief is grey as ash
the same pall for all those
with tongues to cry

and when the gale howls
even the rose bows its head
and lets its petals fall.

The end of the world

Painting by Odilon Redon

The end of the world

Dark is the bright light of day
and shadows beneath the hedges
the quiet is a fearful hush

as the world holds its breath
and we wait for news
that brings only anguish.

Dark in the light and fracas
in the silent listening.
Only the birds soldier on

and I wonder if on the world’s last day
there will still be blackbirds
to sing its passing.

The red rose beneath the skin

The red rose beneath the skin

Beneath the skin, blood beats,
sometimes bitter, sometimes black.
Let it lie. The red always returns,
like the rose after the rain.

There’s a picture in the sky, ship in a storm,
white sails torn to shreds
by this brisk wind from the sea.
Cloud wisps scatter like petals.

Soon there’ll be nests in the hedge,
and among the honeysuckle flowers
the blue of a robin’s eggs. Spring marches,
an unstoppable force.

As are all, the goddess says
in her antique voice running with honey.
As are all mists and men, ephemeral
as sleep, as the song of the first thrush.

They say it comes from the north pole,
this cold full of gnashing wolf-teeth,
nights black as the pits of hell, but I know,
it is only the shadow of the rising sun.

Ship of beauty

The first words that appeared. I knew which image the Oracle had in mind.

Ship of beauty

I ask what does it mean,
the image in the darkness.
Is it the distorting prism of the rain?

I hear her whisper,
The mother goddess,
the rose at the centre of the garden,
fills the soaring sky with birds,
your eyes with dreams.

You sleep in shadows, she says,
rocked in the aching arms of the wind,
beneath a pink and purple sky that never grows blue.
The storm is only under your skin,
the moon buffeted only by clouds.
Can you not hear her sing?

I turn my eyes inwards to the filling sails,
listening to the music violined across the waves,
the moon’s summer cradle-song.

Like the rose, the dream opens,
the storm dies and the sea is smooth as oil.
I hear the fading echo of the lullaby of the moon,
and through a rain of diamonds,
the rising sun, light soft as petals,
I see my ship, still waiting.

No music, only dreams

The Oracle gave me an enigmatic message today, but I think the ending leaves room for a bit of hope. Redon’s Orpheus painting seems appropriate.

No music, only dreams

Whispers on my tongue, but nothing to say.
No music drifts from the moon,
the red of the end of the day,

or the purple of garden shadows,
from morning watch even until night,
and she who walks in beauty
fills the sails of dusk with her blue breath.

No one can talk away the rain,
nor the sadness that hides behind summer’s gleam,
in the honey that masks bitter words.

What hatches from the black egg but storms?

Yet the rose is still as sweet,
and in sleep we dream of light and love,
and the times before,
beyond the water.

The ship bearing flowers

The Oracle gave me a wayra sequence today, five stanzas as usual.

The ship bearing flowers

Take my breath away,
dance the day armed with flowers,
laugh with the lingering light,
lie on the ocean’s bed
beneath the sky, its rippling tide.

Darkness is only
the breeze among winter boughs,
the hole in the heart, ice-fringed,
its secrets, spring-revealed.
I watch for that returning sail.

Showers, baby-blue,
explode, cork-popping with joy,
the sad pavement grey forgot
in the upsurge of light.
See the truth; this is what you are.

In the evening hush,
by the fire, dog lies dreaming
of a long life still to run,
but the watching stars say,
Wake, now and run with the wild ones.

We are almost there,
you and I, the same colours
fading like pale evening clouds,
though, the glass, not empty,
reflects so much more still to come.

The ways of the world

I’m not certain this is what the earthweal prompt was all about, but it’s where it led me. So thanks, Brendan and sorry if it misses the mark.

The painting is by Odilon Redon.

The ways of the world

Simple is the way of the world,
the way of its greening, the way of its loss,
but we lose our way in meanders
of our own making.

Simple are loves and tendings,
the bursting of buds and feathers fledging,
the sky higher than the softest cloud,
higher than the great hawks soaring.

Simple is the letting go,
the grief that spills in torrents,
for grief like happiness is a simple affair,
both spring from the same source,

the heart that aches, swells and breaks,
is given and taken and given again.
The flower unfurls endlessly in glory,
day breaks and stars wheel.

Simple is the heart
full of both grief and happiness
that accepts without understanding
the why or the how,

whole is the life unbounded,
that lets the tides turn, sand through fingers slip,
with face turned to the sun,
hands held out to catch falling stars.