The cat is not old but deaf.
She roars, perhaps she still hears
vibrations, warrior calls
from fierce days, moon nights of prowling without fears,

exhilaration of dark
blood shed, fur and cracking bones,
iron tang on tongue, last cry
caught in sharp teeth. Silence stalks now, cold as stones.


Where I would be

A poem for dverse before I fall asleep.

Where I would be

Above a blue sea, glitter-struck
and pine-scented, heat trilling with cicada wings,
thyme and history trod beneath our feet,

or above a green sea, among endless hills
of unreal green and purple at sunset,
always the tang of rain in the wind,

in a city street, cafés, indifference
of passers-by and monuments,
roofs slate-grey as pigeons,

or here, in this stove-ticking, dog-dreaming
silence, windows shuttered against rain
and wind, spring flowers-in-waiting.

Here or there, then as now, the place
is in the heart, the hand, the warmth
of sleeping breath, wherever you are.



A spread shadow
winged silence

glides slow
low across
the meadow

and the wind tugs
at distractions paper and glue
tasselled sky-high.

I reach up
to the trailing flutter
rose blue and hawk-red

fingers curling
around a handful
of feathers.


Poem inspired by Kerfe’s random words. The painting is by Harry Clarke.


Bray Head, dull in the rain,
the waves rising, falling, hypnotic.
Colours not steel, iron-grey
and the green tinge of copper.

But some days, in some lights,
rays of striped sun strike fire
from the green, the magic ignites,
and the earth rolls back to the beginning of time,

when winds blew from the sea
in silence, hawks hung hunting,
and only hills marched along the horizon,
beneath forests I have never seen.

Maths poetry

Paul Brookes’ chosen form last week was maths poetry in its different manifestations. Using a straightforward sequence of 1, 1, 2, 5, 8, 13 etc words or syllables doesn’t appeal to me much, but I had already been impressed with Marian Christie’s poem that merged the ideas behind Fibonacci sequence poetry and the trimeric, in particular the tide-like back and forth of the lines, overstitching, until the words ebb away completely. It gives a purpose to the diminishing (or increasing) length of the lines, an effect you don’t get with forms like the nonet that simply count syllables. I have written quite a few poems using this idea, and find it almost hypnotic.

The hares are running

The hares are running in the meadow again,
boxing for joy, for spring,
among new daffodils,
bending in

boxing for joy, for spring
is stirring blood,
wild and

Among new daffodils,
long ears

bending in


The tritina is a form I’ve used before and hadn’t considered it as mathematical in any way, but that probably just reflects my ignorance of maths. The repeated end words, I found, risk creating a rather forced effect, particularly as the last word of one stanza is repeated in the first line of the following one. Also, the use of all three end words in the last line is hard to manage without it sounding like an afterthought or a make-weight. I’m certain it’s possible to write a good poem using this form. It’s a challenge, but that’s what we’re here for.

These winter days

These winter days are never silent
never still with flocks of homing birds
and trees that rustle handfuls of dead leaves.

These winter nights enrobe the rustling leaves
with hoar frost crisp as ice and silent
as the unseen swooping wings of night birds.

I hear them calling in the dark, the birds
that hunt the night fields. Filtered through the leaves,
moonlight streams, silver as the sea and silent,

but no birds stir the leaves in this silent moonlight.

This evening

This evening

This evening, the frogs are singing
beneath a strange sky, indigo and rose,
and the air is balmy.

Sea-rolling to frog shanties and balmy
winds, evening falls to almost night, singing
low, blowing the dark blue scents of rose.

Here there be frog and rose
in indigo gardens, attar and musk, on balmy
nights when the heat is singing,

and the balmy sky bends down, sweet rose-singing.