Still was the night

Another pantoum. Image is by Kerfe.

Still was the night

Still was the night
in the warm south breeze,
and the flickering light
of the stars in the trees.

In the warm south breeze,
came an owl’s fluting call,
of the stars in the trees,
he could catch none at all.

Came an owl’s fluting call,
held their breath birds that heard;
he could catch none at all,
only leaf-shadow stirred

Held their breath birds that heard,
when owl called and fox crept,
only leaf-shadow stirred,
to betray where they slept.

When owl called and fox crept,
shone no flickering light,
to betray where birds slept,
in the still of the night.

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Pantoum and witchcraft

Paul Brookes has posted the contributions to two of his challenges today. Last week’s form was the pantoum. You can read them all here.

This is mine. More moss hedgehogs.

Cleaning the moss from the roof tiles

When you scraped the roof,
small mossy heaps
of dry grey ghosts
lay scattered around the house

Small mossy heaps,
once green hedgehogs, roof-rootling,
lay scattered around the house
amid more drought debris.

Once green hedgehogs, roof-rootling
Beneath a brazen sky,
amid more drought debris,
await the cooling of the year.

Beneath a brazen sky,
we gather up cool shadows,
await the cooling of the year,
greening with the touch of autumn.

We gather up cool shadows
of dry grey ghosts,
greening with the touch of autumn,
from when you scraped the roof.

Today is also Day 3 of his Folktober challenge, and the inspiration was this illustration of Baba Yaga

Forest women

Forest women lived in witch light,
drank the blood of children,
flew the night on crow-back.

Hags, unloved, lived alone
with their magic, grudgingly useful,

until the lean times and sick times
offered them up, wizened fruit
on unconsecrated branches.

This morning

A hind runs under the window
In the pale grey light of morning
In the cold light rain of morning
Russet leaping against the green.

In the pale grey light of morning
Beneath the dripping trees
Russet leaping against the green
A hind runs through the meadow.

Beneath the dripping trees
In easy muscled movement
A hind runs through the meadow
To the thicket by the stream.

In easy muscled movement
Hooves light among the leaf-fall
To the thicket by the stream
She bounds and halts to listen.

In the cold light rain of morning
A hind runs under the window
Driven to race through leaf-fall
Pausing only in flight to listen.

The light is fading with the day

 

The light is fading with the day,

and blackbird sings though others sleep,

deep in the hedge amid the May,

in leafy hedge where roses weep.

 

And blackbird sings though others sleep

in half sleep, hear the dog fox pass,

in leafy hedge where roses weep,

his furtive padding through the grass.

 

In half sleep, hear the dog fox pass,

light sleepers, in the moon’s pale light,

his furtive padding through the grass,

a ghostly hunter in the night.

 

Light sleepers in the moon’s pale light,

we watch the first stars as they wake.

A ghostly hunter in the night,

fox scents the hare hid in the brake.

 

We watch the first stars as they wake,

deep silence falls on field and tree,

fox scents the hare hid in the brake;

we hold out breath he will not see.

 

Deep silence falls on field and tree,

fox in the hedge amid the May;

we hold out breath he will not see,

for light is fading with the day.

The air was soft with sun today

I don’t know if this is answering the prompt, but it’s a pantoum about tranquility, which is my way of shutting out the awfulness.

looking south and west

The air was soft with sun today,

Wood pigeons cooed their tender songs,

And tragedy seemed far away,

The world seemed purged of all its wrongs.

 

Wood pigeons cooed their tender songs,

In shade of boughs that hung so green.

The world seemed purged of all its wrongs

As if sadness had never been.

 

In shade of boughs that hung so green,

Peace fell, its touch like trembling wings,

As if sadness had never been

And touched this place where blackbird sings.

 

Peace fell, its touch like trembling wings,

Blue horse dreams banished fear of night.

And touched this place where blackbird sings

Of beauty, flying to the light.

 

Blue horse dreams banished fear of night,

And tragedy seemed far away;

Wild beauty flew into the light—

The air was soft with sun today.

 

 

No sunburst

I had a go at writing a pantoum with no rhyme and no rhythm. It’s certainly a lot easier to write than a classic pantoum, and I think it shows. For the dverse open link night.

 

The thrush pours out his ceaseless song,

Spring rain falls from dull, grey skies,

No sunburst helps us to forget,

Winter is hiding in the hedge.

 

Spring rain falls from dull, grey skies.

While violence grows rank weeds in the streets,

Winter is hiding in the hedge,

With frost to nip the gold of daffodils.

 

While violence grows, rank weeds, in the streets,

Indifference creeps like oil from a slick,

With frost to nip the gold of daffodils—

The poor weep over their harrowed fields.

 

Indifference creeps like oil from a slick,

Rain, cloud and cold winds all collude;

The poor weep over their harrowed fields,

Beneath sodden clouds and averted faces.

 

Rain, cloud and cold winds all collude,

No golden sunburst helps us forget

These weeping clouds and averted faces,

Yet thrush still weaves pure beauty in his song.

The dark falls quickly

A pantoum for the dverse prompt. This one turned out rather ghostly.

 

The dark falls quickly at this time of year,

When winter clings beneath the leafless trees,

Where in the twilight flit like ghosts the deer,

And dead leaves rustle in the spring-sharp breeze.

 

When winter clings beneath the leafless trees,

I listen for the sound of cracking ice

And dead leaves’ rustle. In the spring-sharp breeze

I think I hear a sound, still imprecise—

 

I listen for the sound of cracking ice.

Though nothing stirs yet in the night-clear air,

I think I hear the sound still imprecise

Of laughter, our voices free of care.

 

Though nothing stirs yet in the night-clear air,

I feel your presence wrapping me in waves

Of laughter, our voices free of care.

A sea of grief rolls now, and fields of graves

 

I feel your presence, wrapping me in waves

Of twilight, where like ghosts they flit, the deer,

And grief, a sea rolls over fields of graves.

The dark falls quickly at this time of year.

Spring sowing

A pantoum for the dverse prompt about time, not really sticking very closely to Ecclesiastes.

 

This is the time of sowing now that spring,

The gentle season coaxes cold be gone

Though nights are crisp. The geese are on the wing,

While thrush and robin rival songs at dawn.

 

The gentle season coaxes cold be gone,

Nest-builders squabble for the sheltered places,

While thrush and robin rival songs at dawn;

We watch the stars fade mirrored in our faces.

 

Nest-builders squabble for the sheltered places,

Hare child crouches in the grass alone,

We watch the stars fade, mirrored in our faces,

The sadness that our own nestlings have flown.

 

 

Hare child crouches in the grass alone

Though nights are crisp. We watch geese on the wing

With sadness that our own nestlings have flown;

This is their time for sowing now, this spring.

 

Of tides and blackbirds

I couldn’t resist it. Here’s a new pantoum for the dverse prompt, because I like writing them.

 

I wonder will the tides roll just the same;

Will song of blackbird sound so summer sweet?

The tangled wilderness feels dull and tame

With you not here. Is this life still complete?

 

Will song of blackbird sound so summer sweet

With none to listen now you’ve gone away?

With you not here, is this life still complete?

The stars are mute, the answer they won’t say.

 

With none to listen now you’ve go away,

The questions in stream babble go unheard,

The stars are mute, the answer they won’t say,

And I care less for life than any bird.

 

The questions in stream babble go unheard

The tangled wilderness feels dull and tame.

If I care less for life than any bird,

Will earth’s great tides still ebb and flow the same?

The leaves are falling

This is a pantoum I wrote a couple of years ago. For the dverse prompt.

 

The leaves are falling, scattered far;

In red and gold they dance and fly,

Wake, the rising evening star,

Though shadows grey sleep, crisp and dry.

 

In red and gold they dance and fly;

The flames of autumn fires sing,

Though shadows grey sleep, crisp and dry,

Beneath the trees, where pale owls wing.

 

The flames of autumn fires sing

The songs that haunt the chilly night,

Beneath the trees where pale owls wing—

Lean the moon, and thin the light.

 

The songs that haunt the chilly night,

Wake the rising evening star—

Lean the moon and thin the light,

The leaves are falling, scattered far.