New Year snow

For the dverse prompt. Rarely have I wrangled a more difficult form.

New Year snow

The green of winter fields has gone,
no gleams, no sun-bright beams
in muddy puddles, pewter wan,
this new year seems

Only ice-breath from this sky
freezes trees below
Beneath the flakes, I wonder why
the purity of snow’s so
ghastly dark.


18. (seven lines)

The photo is of the stream. I haven’t been over to the pool since the weather has been bad, too cold, dark and quiet.


No stars shine in the cold mirror,
no bright scintillating sky
is reflected in this dark pool.

I hear the stealthy movement
through the sedge and wait,
immobile, breath withheld,
for the wild thing to pass by.

The stones in the path

For dverse. I hope this counts as a poem.

The stones in the path

We would watch for the bus going past on the lane, know it would stop outside Mitchell’s barn, run out the back gate up the farm track.
The pavement of stone flags outside the houses was cracked sunken, unused.
The ruts were deep, full of coloured stones, green and blue, not river-smooth, not pebbles, bright and sharp as flints.
We’d run and she’d be there, turning into the track ,with her shopping basket and handbag, wearing her white suit with dark blue spot-and-shadow markings, like the breast feathers of a great solitary bird. An osprey maybe
Her shoes were dark blue, with laces and tiny holes in the leather. Her hair was a white bob, cheeks apple-round with smiling.
I’d get there first, hang onto the shopping bag, peep inside, the deep blue-purple of chocolate bars, and I would smile back,
turn my step to hers, walking, still hanging onto the bag, chattering, though that world is silent now.
That world is silent, but I remember every green stone, every throb of the starlings’ babbling on the telephone wires, every pulse of that warm, haunted heart.

even in the puddles
those days.

Dark times

This one was inspired by the random words Merril posted yesterday. It was freezing and dark yesterday; it’s freezing and dark today.

Dark times

No bird-voices ring out,
only the drum beat of the wind,
the fretful voice from the sea
and its uttermost depths.

It wakes the coiled cold
from its hold on root
and tentative rosette,

draws down the hawks and crows,
entices the fox, and explains
the sudden absence of mice in the house.

The world is hungry,
sheep huddle in the barn,
and the rain slices thin slivers of air
that cut like broken glass.

We prowl, voiceless and sleepless,
empty fields, looking for a sign
that these dark times are relenting.


This was the form Paul Brookes chose last week. The structure of the trimeric is simple, three of the four lines of the first stanza repeated in a cascade, heading each successive stanza. Trimeric poems tend to be short and imagist (as in my first poem), but there’s no reason why they can’t be denser (second poem). I enjoyed this form and will probably use it again.

January, early morning

Night is over,
light frozen at grey dawn,
a stopped clock,
its mechanism rusted.

Light frozen at grey dawn
hangs in mist wreaths
over frozen puddles,

a stopped clock
in a silent room, where
ash fills the hearth.

Its mechanism rusted,
this year grinds on,
drenched in fog.

Turn of the year

The world grinds on its hinges
with the rusty creak of rainswept trees,
black and dripping with winter,
and birds sing to ward against the cold.

With the rusty creak of windswept trees,
rain-light ruffles feathers,
ships tossed on stormy seas,

black and dripping with winter.
Horizons close, veiled in water,
endless tracts of grey,

and birds sing to ward against the cold,
to spell spring’s return and
ease the earth’s rumbling course.