Sick lights


Some mornings, when the light
is full of the furred and flashing
pounding of shells, shrapnel bright
and biting, bitter bile rises
like cockcrow from beyond the trees,
stirring the shards, pecking
and scratching with spurred feet.

Some mornings I close my eyes,
try to stop the dizzying, disjointed
fireworks dance, the techno beating
silence and, fumbling with trembling
fingers, hang above the roaring flood
that pours over the edge of the night.


To the rose in the night


The rose came in the night and sang

of blackbirds and a bloody dawn

and waves that rose and drowned the sun

that swallowed sky and rained upon

a land of sadness full of tears.

Thousands more, too many times

the tides have ebbed and flowed again,

and still they come and still they die;

how many more before we’re done?

Through the mist a song is sung;

a thrush weeps where the rose is hung.


Poem inspired by a night of pain again, the Yeats poem, To the rose upon the rood of time, and the words to this song:

This is our time

After the seventh night of virtually no sleep and constant pain, the Oracle knows how I feel.

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Here the air is perfumed by concrete,

life-fire, desire long gone.

I remember wild red skies

velvet stars broken in the ocean.

No more breath, my voice fails.

Out, brief candles;

when we wake, you will be

a brilliant blue cloud, colour of peace,

(look, joy is kissed on your lips)

fish-dancing, flying into eternity with me.

This is our time,

the night does not need morning.

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Beneath the never sky

the sea sings so sweetly,

a blue water symphony to love perhaps

or death.

These days, the ache and the wanting

are fierce as moonlight and wind-whispers,

not driven away with the sun.

Yet we still trudge together, you and I,

no milk and honey for us,

into the shadow of the roses,

their petals crushed by the rain.

Treading water


Treading the mint of the buttercupped path

between foxtails and slender threads of flax,

pieces of fallen sky,

through a symphony of birdmusic,

I say I will not let the pains, divers et varies,

parasite the gold and the singing.

But there is a change in the wind,

magpie chatter and the shadow of the buzzard

turn the bright orioles’ song to apprehension.

My step falters

and the pieces of sky are still fallen.

Treading bones

The Daily Inkling prompt is side effects, a supernatural meaning for a sharp pain.


Walking the meadow

dry clay

cracked from side to side

making islands of yellow flowers and pink,

and from the cracks

the scuffle of tiny rodent

claws and paws

curling in comfort one against the other.

Beneath the trees

where branches cover green and pale

in leaf

not quite enough

to hide new nests

and flitting coloured birds

the sound of springsong.

Why this jabbing pain

the ribs the soles of feet the head?

Each footstep treads

a death

the end of some brief spell

among the flowers

of the insect-creeping earth.

Creaking backs

spines ache when mowers strip

the cover

seeded heavy with food.

They fade

the coloured songsters

the vole and rabbit

quick brown fox.

Fewer nests eggs young fledglings


meagre fare.

Dearth fades

not the swift fall of the axe.

Pain pinches the heart

of those who see the failed nests

and regret there are so few swallows

this year.

Letting go

This was inspired by Jilly’s Jim Harrison quote:

“The river can’t heal everything”  ~ Jim Harrison

The painting, by August Macke is of the Rhine at Hersel.


Into the water it goes,

the weight of the past a round stone,

and the ripples it shivers so bright,

silver flickers, still I stand alone.


Into the river, brown trout

swish shadows where currents run deep,

tressed water of anger and love,

drawn down to the ocean to sleep.


If you’d once whispered soft words at dawn

when the harsh morning dragged me awake,

but the rose petals left me the thorn,

and the shame of the day was to break.


Into the water I send

the petals and thorns and the dreams,

to sail in a barque with white sails,

where silver and golden light streams.


Into the river we go,

swept in dark arms of the flow,

perhaps at the end will come peace,

when your face fades to moonlight—release.

Light-flicker, mirror-shine

Poem written as a migraine starts to take hold.


Light flickers through windy leaves,

Heavy with the weight of gold and silver,

Glitter where the river streams,

Turbulent its course, ending never.

Spring briskness twists the new green,

Shooting through hard winter crust,

Deep earth and water shed their icy sheen,

Shifts the season, bellows with every thrust.

Mirror-shine too bright to look upon,

Water rolls too loud to hearken on,

Even the fussing blackbird’s still,

Frozen in the golden, silver chill.

Poetry challenge #49: Painful silence

Yesterday was a migraine day. It hasn’t gone entirely so screen work is still slow and difficult. Pain in the head makes it hard to think straight and it distorts thought and vision. The poems that form when we are in a state of tension or pain are different to those that spring from a more placid, stable frame of mind.

The Daily Post prompt for yesterday was silence, a very tempting one when the inside of your head is a mass of jangling nerves, but also one that seems impossibly elusive. The poem below is the first ‘silence’ poem I jotted down. I don’t suppose this is an original form and there’s probably a name for it, but is seemed like enough of a challenge to me yesterday. You can try one out if you like. I think you need at least three stanzas of three lines each using the rhyme scheme:

abb acc add aee

This week’s challenge is to write a poem about pain, physical and emotional. We’ve all suffered pain of one sort or another and it could be a productive exercise to channel the emotions generated by pain into a poem and create something beautiful from it.

Same rules, post the link to your poem in the comments box before next Tuesday, and please don’t let the theme get you down 🙂

Suggested words to think about, not necessarily use

Silence, raucous, pulse, haven, lethargic, silver

The image is entitled ‘Deep dream, white noise’.



No silence in the city,

No soft pools of darkness between the lights,

No infinite velvet in the nights.


No compassion and no pity,

Where cold shadows fill with ragged lives,

And the night wind is sharp as knives.


Close your eyes, the dark’s duplicity

Winks with ceaseless, flashing pain,

Mocking laughter in the rain.


To dream of life’s simplicity,

Of gentle swell on oceans deep,

Is all a lie when there is no sleep.

Drive away the summer heat

The Daily Post prompt is: Drive


Drive away the summer heat,

Wind that blows from out the west,

Carry storm clouds from the sea,

To break upon far distant hills.


Cover up autumn remains,

Winter cold from northern seas,

The crisped and straggling paper leaves

With fur of frost and falling snow.


Snuff out the mocking candle light,

Darkest night, the sunlight bright

That lights with baleful clarity

The empty space now you are gone.