Kerfe’s Day

From now on, April 31st will be known as Kerfe’s Day. This absolutely last prompt from the April challenge is Kerfe Roig’s collage Full of children. Thank you, Paul for extending April, and Kerfe for providing the excuse. Please visit Paul’s site to read all of the poems.

Song for the children

They spring from the heart,
those bright smiling faces,
from blood and bone and the watered earth,
and they grow in the grass
and the rain and the sunlight,
hummingbird-winged, colour of dawn.

They spring from the core
of the earth, stone-spun cradle,
nurtured by moonlight and light of the sun.
Let them reach for the stars
in the silence of night time,
for tree branch and moon at the top of the hill,

let them grow like the birds fly,
pups curled in the deep earth,
let their talents unfurl, petals cupping the light,
but poverty pays, and there’s money in wars,
so we weep phoney tears,
let their bright sunlight die.

April poetry challenge day 30

Last day of the challenge (though there’s a bonus day 31 tomorrow) and it has been such a productive one! Many thanks to Paul Brookes for putting it all together, and to the artists, Jane Cornwell, John Law and Kerfe Roig for their inspirational work.
For this final (almost) poem I have used all three artworks.

Earth creeps with tiny things

we tread tiny things unthinking,
our eyes on some unattainable glitter,
or some attainable trash.

Rarely the stars.

Aloof, they won’t be unstuck,
fall into our grasp,
and what cannot be had, counted, traded,
is worthless.

I look at the tiny trembling things
that can’t be grasped and see
a scrap of the universal matter,

a fragment of a star,
light still falling,
millions of years
after its darkening.

April poetry challenge day 29

For this penultimate day of Paul Brookes’ challenge, I used all three paintings for inspiration. You can see them here, along with all the poems.


Listen to the pulse of the world,
beating with bird wings,
the heart of friends so soon gone.

Nothing lingers.
Time hangs by the slenderest of threads,
gossamer, moonlight, the touch of a hand,

listen to the soft whispering
of leaves falling.

Listen to the wisdom in tongues
we cannot speak, listen
to the language of eyes
and the dance of feathers.

Nothing is wasted, nothing frivolous,
no coloured crest, no striped, spotted,
dappled coat,
no gaudy flash of scales or feathers.

Beauty in its infinite variety
is at the heart,
listen to it speak.

April poetry challenge day 28

Today’s poem is inspired by John Law’s Tawny owl at Coach and Horses and Kerfe Roig’s The sky is filled with voices. All the images and the poems they have inspired are on Paul Brookes’ blog here.

Owl silence

No silence
not even in the night silence
when there is only sky and stars

and the earth fades into silver mist.

No silence
for every leaf has a voice a tongue
played by the wind
the rain
and water runs
with constant chatter

crickets strum stalk legs
through our sleep

paws speak
with dead leaf-rustle

and embracing all
this silent world of sound
the glorious questioning call
of the tawny owl
ripples through branch
and starlight

falling in a cascade
of feather-flutter
to the silver misted earth.

April poetry challenge day 26

Today’s poem is inspired by Jane Cornwell’s drawing, which brought back memories of another baby from another birth. You can see the images and read the poems for Paul Brookes’ challenge here.

When you were

You don’t remember how you were
when she was too tiny to play
big-boy games, and you would be rough
and muddy from outside games,
breathless and red, with gentle hands,

and she would smile her baby smile,
front teeth already grey from falls
trying to follow you around.

You called her Ballisto
and played rockets with her
and rolling on the floor,
noise games with anything
that rang shrilled bleeped.

You were puppies from the same litter
and now both grown
she has started a litter of her own.

I wonder, will those rockets
and stars and silly noisy songs
fall from their orbit of memory
into your wondering smile?

April poetry challenge day 24

Today’s poem for Paul Brookes’ challenge is inspired by Snipe by John Law and Wishes by Kerfe Roig.

Swift and sweet-sharp

There are butterflies,
soft as rose petals, bright as dawn,
and birdwings swift and scissor-sharp,
shrilling-tongued to fill the sky.

Beak, wings, the long, uncoiled
proboscis spring that delves deep
into sweet flowered tubes,
all tasting life sharp and sweet,

but there is always death
that comes, swift and sharp
as the cracking of eggshells,
the tearing of birth sacks.

Life runs in rivers, tides,
and flutters ephemeral as butterfly wings
in a white blizzard of poplar seeds.

April poetry challenge day 23

Another apposite prompt. The painting is Shopping with Nan by John Law. All the prompt images and contributions are on Paul Brookes’ site here.


When I am Nan, I will be great and grand,
Not the pinnied, cupboards-full-of-sweeties kind,
And when we cross the road they’ll take my hand.
When I am Nan, I will be great and grand,
And if I teach one thing, they’ll understand
All life, from fish to child, is intertwined.
I will be Nan, the wise, the great and grand,
Not rosy, pinnied, but, I hope, the kind.

April poetry challenge day 22

For today’s poem, I used all three artworks for inspiration. You can see them all here, and read all the contributions.

Salad days

Salad days, green and full of sap,
and all the summer stretches
through green boughs to a mellow field
of buttercup sun at sunset
and again at morning.

Colours fade and loves;
we wilt in the heat, and the frost bites.

No ruse can stop the slide into the dark,
but if we keep tight hold of the best of days
and the heart of things,
we can slide together
with grace
and just a hint of regret.

April poetry challenge day 21

A timely prompt. Poem written yesterday for the birth of our first grandchild. The image is by Jane Cornwell. You can read all the contributions here.

To a new child

Once there was a ball of gas, a cooling rock
swamped with growing, creeping things,
a star that lent its light to green and blue
and buttercups in the grass,

and from these fragments stone and scale,
fronds and feathers, the ever-growing crowd
marching down the days in their joys and sorrows,
you have come,

a fragment of a star,
a ripple of that first bird’s song,
a petal of the first rose
on the rood of time.

April poetry challenge day 20

The image for tomorrow should really have been for today, but it’s pretty close.
This poem for Paul’s challenge used all three artworks that you can see here.

Looking behind the image

There are worlds behind what we see,
two magpies in a tree
is sappy scent of new leaves,
the ordered chaos of sticking twigs,
moss and lichen-covered, into basket shape,
clack of bills, iridescence of feathers,
heat, companionship, eggs to cherish
in beating strong-winged determination.

Grass, the night,
damp and dark, and toad waiting for a ride,
pond, silver-black beneath the moon,
colder than primal times,
imperatives the same.

the stars are shedding flakes bright as snow
where nightingales sing,
catch them in open beaks and tongue them into song,

where mist makes giants of brocards, grazing
among moon flowers
pooled in the long grasses.

eyes that never leave your face,
in their depths
a world that never changes,
of simple devotion.