I gave you all I had to give

Jilly has posted a line of Jim Harrison’s

“I’m unsure if all of me returned.”

and asks us to post the poem the line inspires.

Painting ©Igor Novikov


I gave you all I had to give,

A heart that beat, a rose, a dream,

I gave you what I thought would please,

A silver trout in limpid stream.


You took the rose, it’s petals plucked,

My golden dream, to you was clay,

The silver trout slipped through your hands,

My beating heart you tossed away.


The boundless night sky’s full of stars,

And rose trees hum the bees’ refrain,

The silver trout has found its pool,

But will my heart be mine again?

City beauty

A sequence of short poems inspired by Claudia McGill’s reflections on geraniums at windows.


There is joy and beauty

beneath the city grime,

and the blackbird’s song

is just the same

beneath this sky.


There is beauty in the stone that glints

with the colours of the changing light,

and in the chaotic fluttering of sparrows’ wings.

There is kindness in the dirty blanket

laid beneath an old dog’s head,

and happiness when a greeting is returned,

a stranger’s uncalculating smile.


The earth is deep and dark in the garden plot

where snails creep,

elegant and unhurried,

among the stalks.

The earth is deep and full of life

that shoots and climbs higgledy-piggledy,

without order or patience,

riotous and lush,

because the sun and rain fall here as anywhere.

The earth is,

deep and eternal,

beneath my tread,

and over my head,

the sky.


And on a lighter note


How grey the sky and damp the air

and loud the screech of tyres complaining.

Beyond the cloud and heavy mist

somewhere there’s sun and it’s not raining.

Mist creeps

For this evening’s dverse prompt, Kim has asked to write a poem with verbs as the dynamic. Here is a haibun, even if I’m not sure I’ve got it right…

Evening mist1

We stand high on the hill beneath the sky, watching the valley fall away into darkness. Night climbs from the darkling east, ravelling up the turquoise to seep into the path of the dying sun. Trees, hedgehog-spiked, hide the quiet life uncurling with the dusk, gathering their shadowy skirts swirling about with river mist rising.

We move closer, battered by the silence, and in the hush, the voices of night things pipe-skirl and call their hollow cries from beyond the world we daytime creatures know. Mist creeps, a pale ghost, from the unseen river, rampant, a prehistoric force. Stars point and flicker uncertainly in the vastness above and bats whistle whish after insects. We hurry, pebbles crunching beneath our feet, to make sure the house, squat and indomitable, still crouches on the shore of the milky lake, feet lapped by river breath, but holding firm to the land, the memory of sun on grass and rabbits white-scut racing through the dew.


Night voices whisper,

fox-throaty or owl yodel,

silent stars look down.



A haibun for the dverse prompt.


At the bottom of the meadow runs the stream, backed by poplars, giants standing side by side, defying the wind. On our side of the stream, long ago some farmer planted willows to counter the erosive action of the water and keep the stream in its bed. Eight are left of the long alley of silver-leafed guardians. Bowed with age and the weight of their branches the others have gradually sunk into the moist earth with the purple clandestine that grows around their trunks. Bowed and split, they lay, tangled with wild vines, and cow parsley high as my shoulders, until we chopped them down, the trees that would never raise their heads again, and trimmed the dead weight from those that would. Eight willows sprout anew, silver wands reaching skyward. The clandestine is hidden now, sunk back among the tree roots, waiting for spring. In its bed, beneath bramble-hung banks, Le Caillou babbles, chattering to the silent deer and the nimble fox.


Roots delve deep, stream runs,

delves deep banks among tree roots,

water-tangled feet.

There is no easy path

This cascade poem is for the Secret Keeper’s weekly writing prompt. Sorry it’s a miserable one.



There is no easy path through this cold world,

No stream that never floods or bursts its banks,

The fear of what’s behind us drives us on.


I used to think that, at the tunnel’s end,

Everything would bask in golden light,

There is no easy path through this cold world.


No life that will not end in lonely death,

For us, no vast sky ever calm and blue,

No stream that never floods or bursts its banks.


That light receding faster than dawn grows,

Draws shadows round, and only looking back,

The fear of what’s behind us drives us on.