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?

In the palm of memory’s hand

I saw this new haiku/haibun challenge on Janice’s (On the land) blog, and couldn’t resist the theme—journey. Thank you, Suzanne 🙂 My road started somewhere close to Malin Head, the subject of this painting.


We have walked this road for so long, from the fields full of rocks, the green mountains undulating in the silver mists of rain, to the ocean that never forgets. Though the sun has shone soft on my face and the wind has been at my back, the road has always rolled beneath my feet. We have stopped for a while in the shelter of stone walls and the clutter of familiar objects, in the growl of cities and the bird-swooping peace of gardens, but the heart is never still.

I wonder, as I pack the boxes full again and fold the good memories with the old and worn, whether there is ever any peace for such as us, castaways from a place inked on retinas in the vibrant hues of sunset and sunrise. And yet I know the answer—to stop is to die. Death is the endless repetition of the same gestures, the spouting of the same platitudes. It is walking the same streets and seeing the same holes in the path and caring less with each passing day.
I pack the cups and the silver that have been companions of generations now, add a few newer souvenirs, and prepare to take to the road again, the sinuous silver sea serpent that slips forever onward to some hypothetical home.


In the light you stand,

ghosts about a green rath, seen

through a veil of rain.



Words on a paper

This is for the Secret Keeper’s writing prompt. I might write a second poem. I like these words.



The final act,

your letter falls on the mat,

no ringing bells or madly blaring sirens,

just a dull swish,

like the dangling rope cut,

swinging in the wind.

Hands tremble too much to open neatly,

white envelope paper ripped across,

the inked, deadly precise letters, a massacre.

I skim the words,

as if the lightness of the glance gives them less weight,

no time to stick their full import on reluctant retinas.

I skim, slide, eyes glide,

avoid the harsh black-on-white truth.

I skim,

the words shout though I close my eyes.

Skim, I say—

the stone bounces,

once, twice, thrice,

and hope drops,

sinks out of sight,

into the darkness,

where fall and fade,

all lovers’ broken hearts.

Haiku challenge: Twist & Shout

For Ronovan’s weekly challenge. This was a hard one. I wrote a haiku and a tanka and just about managed to get the words in.

Photo©Kate Jewell


River twists between

yellow banks washed by spring tides—

gulls scream in the wind.



Petals twist and spin

caught in the hand of the breeze

their perfume scattered.

Spring tears winter’s rags—I rail

against its ferocity.