Haiku sequence

south field

in the may sun

the hedge is singing

where did sorrow go?


sun streams

slantwise beneath the clouds

field of red gold


suddenly the dark

gold softens to grey singing

with nightingales



birds still singing as if the

stars were not enough


Dearth of Humanity

This was my entry for the Ekphastic Review challenge inspired by this painting by Fidelio Ponce de Leon. It wasn’t chosen to be published but here it is anyway.


Dearth of humanity



There are some places in this world

Where ghosts walk daylit streets, the trackless

Famine fields and cotton fields,

Between sugar canes and potato stalks.

Human misery in shrouded white

Of rotting once-was-food now putrid blight,

Stalks the dark and comfortless night

Children’s hollow eyes the only light.

Bought and sold or simply left to rot,

Unwanted weeds in a neat suburban plot,

They haunt us still, or should if we have hearts.

The legacy of blind profit, abundant paunch

For some and padded cushioned ease until the grave,

For others bone-white lassitude and shrivelled hope,

Weary of waiting for the end,

Of dragging rattling skin from dawn to dusk.

Humanity is passion-fire not graveworm, maggot-bland,

Yet our children, grown from tender seed to budding flower,

Shrink into wind-blown dust, ground into desert sand

From this dark cup

Last night coming home from our walk, Finbar moved on the alert to the front of the house instead of coming inside. He stopped to watch a hare and her two young ones beneath the veranda window. He made no move to disturb them and they seemed indifferent to our presence altogether.

This morning, the sun is shining but the Oracle’s shining message is tinged with darkness.

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From this dark cup I sip,

my voice lost in the universal throb.

They said we would live forever,

always young and green as trees,

as fish in the ocean.

This heart of glass is not ice;

it needs perfumed mornings,

soft dancing clouds to breathe.

Our time is waking;

two stars with a life of fire,

for a day.

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No lake water will run away with us

through forests to the sea,

no wind raw and cold as diamonds

drive a storm of rose petals

red and sweet as soaring music.

This bitter dream is shot heavy with rain

falling from a black sky

a night of no moon.


Rain and fire


When rain falls a (grey) veil

from a sombre sky

where no (light) strikes sparks

of fire from poppy (and) rose

(I sink) to the level of mud and sodden grass

poke fingers (in) the loosening clay

to feel life (writhing) beneath

and deeper still

the fiery (veins of) the earth’s (blood)


Cold seeds salamander-coddled

need (no hope) in tomorrow

to burst (in) green sappy stalks

leaf and flower-furled.

(Stars) wheel

fire calls to fire and the tides shift moon-struck.

Between fire and (falling) rain I wait

with the patience of a seed

for the wheel to turn to sunburst.

In midnight skies

It’s a long time since I wrote a ghazal. Now I remember why. For the dverse prompt.


Glory spills in streams in midnight skies,

When moonlight through cloud breaks in midnight skies.


I watch you as you sleep and kiss your brow,

Your smile like sunshine wakes in midnight skies.


Though thunder rolls and lightning lights the room,

The night is dark, love aches in midnight skies.


Take me where the fierce stars never sleep,

Nor boredom passion slakes in midnight skies.


In dawn’s pale light when all the night has gone,

Stars fall like snowy flakes in midnight skies.


I would write our joy among the stars,

Efface all our mistakes in midnight skies.