Leap in the dark

The dverse quadrille theme word is extinction. A quadrille is a poem of exactly 44 words.


She hurried her child through bone-dead streets

where shadows played giants on crumbling walls

to the chasm where millions wept and leapt

into the dark and the roar of flames.


The child peered down and troubled asked,

‘What place is this?’

‘Extinction,’ she said.

Furl unfurl

Playing with a twitter prompt word—’unfurl’.


Unfurl the night sky spangled with stars,

swirl it a cloak about your shoulders,

wear hurled starlight upon your face,

listen to the skirl

of hunting owls—talons

uncurl rose petals,

scatter their heavy scent,

and fill their cupped bowls

with the light of a dark pearl moon

Unfurl sheets,

white in the wind,

and turn for home,

speed over curling waves,

green as new leaves,

pearled with spring rain,

watch the clifftop,

watch where gulls swirl.

That’s where I’ll be.


Banners of birds unfurl

flags of new-fledged wings,

furled fists of spring buds

burst. Beneath last year’s leaves,

curled in deep loam,

the scuttlers and nibblers stir,

and in shallow pools, pebbles

smoothed by time and current

glow moon-pale

as river pearls.

The din of the birds

Jilly is running a month of Jim Harrison prompts again, so that’s my daily treat sorted.

“Spring day, too loud for talk
when bones tire of their flesh
and want something better.”



 The din of the birds


Some days, my ears tire of the din of the birds,

When the long-winged hawk hangs in the still air,

And about my feet, the bent grasses where hides the hare

Call me, with the moist voice of the rain-bubbling earth.

Haibun: Long spring day

This extreme haibun (55 words) is for the dverse prompt, long spring day.

Sun, hothouse orange, lowering to the tree line, shines directly into the west windows, shines through the open inner doors, floods the kitchen and beyond. We sit at the window, lapped by golden meadow and eat supper with soft spring sun in our plates.


Light stretches the length

of a tender-budded branch

spring fire ignited.

Winter music

I tried to get all the Secret Keeper’s prompt words


into a single triolet and didn’t manage it. Had to make it a duo. The photo is beautiful, DOGA.



Film of ice over winter lake,

Bare trees list when the wind blows cold,

Songbirds their sad music make.

Film of ice over winter lake,

Snow is falling flake by flake,

Softly. Forms before the night is old,

Film of ice. Over winter lake,

Bare trees list when the wind blows cold.


Huddled in the thorny hedge,

Beneath a sky where cold stars stare,

The small birds perch on heaven’s edge.

Huddled in the thorny hedge,

When nothing rhymes or feathers fledge,

In nests like poplar trees, so bare,

Huddled in the thorny hedge,

Beneath a sky where cold stars stare.


The owl house

A haibun for the dverse ‘owl’ prompt.


This is the owl house. It rocks itself to sleep in the feathery ripple of the owls’ call. They used to live in the attic, but it’s too cold to leave it open to the sky, so we mended the windows. Now they roost in the roof of the porch and eat their midnight meal by the front door, dropping their pellets and shredding the bird scarers of aluminium foil that the old lady who lived here before us hung from the beams. We stand beneath the stars and listen to their voices filling the trees. The night listens too, and answers with the gekkering of foxes and the slight rustle of deer in the low trees. I stand here until a tree shakes its dry leaves, something scuttles through the brambles reminding me that I am a foreigner. My place is not here, eavesdropping on the conversation of the owls, the hunters that fly on invisible wings through the woodland of the night.

No snow this winter,

no white shadow in the night,

red berries shine bright.

River runs where the kingcups grow

For the dverse R’river’prompt, a villanelle.


River runs where the kingcups grow,

Their yellow faces catch the light,

At evening when the sun is low.


Through the fields making poppies blow,

Wind sweeps dark as the watchful kite,

River runs where the kingcups grow.


Mist is rising from the river slow,

Pearl grey the dusk sinking into night,

At evening when the sun is low.


Past muddy banks when the night folk go

To drink the wild stream’s ripples bright,

River runs where the kingcups grow.


Fox and deer glide through dusk’s pink glow,

Ever wary and poised for flight,

At evening when the sun is low.


Had I the words to tell them so,

They’d know I mean no harm nor fright,

But always where the kingcups grow,

They slip away when the sun is low.


The Unappeasable Host

Sangbad pointed me in the direction of this prompt from Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie to write a haibun inspired by a favourite poem.

This is the poem I have chosen, Yeat’s The Unappeasable Host. It isn’t my favourite, but it’s one I love very much, and it feels almost like sacrilege even using it as inspiration.

THE Danaan children laugh, in cradles of wrought gold,
And clap their hands together, and half close their eyes,
For they will ride the North when the ger-eagle flies,
With heavy whitening wings, and a heart fallen cold:
I kiss my wailing child and press it to my breast,
And hear the narrow graves calling my child and me.
Desolate winds that cry over the wandering sea;
Desolate winds that hover in the flaming West;
Desolate winds that beat the doors of Heaven, and beat
The doors of Hell and blow there many a whimpering ghost;
O heart the winds have shaken, the unappeasable host
Is comelier than candles at Mother Mary’s feet.


My haibun

The wind that howls and rattles doors and window frames, the hail that strums wild music on the roof, the clouds that boil in yellow anger in the stormy sky, remind the one who watches of the truth. Beneath the concrete and the glitter-glass, the smooth straight roads and shops that promise pleasures never dreamed, is the cold deep earth where all our past is hid. The old ones and the ones before, the ones who left the earth in peace, one with the stones and the broad-winged birds, the celandine creeping on the bank, they whisper in this rising wind, their stories we must not forget.

And though I hold my children tight, when thunder rocks the house, and lightning dazzles with its pure white fire, I will not hide from them the savage beauty of the night, nor stop their ears against the anger of the storm.


Hold tight the warm hand,

watch in awe your earth shudder,

birthright, blood and bones.