To the rose in the night


The rose came in the night and sang

of blackbirds and a bloody dawn

and waves that rose and drowned the sun

that swallowed sky and rained upon

a land of sadness full of tears.

Thousands more, too many times

the tides have ebbed and flowed again,

and still they come and still they die;

how many more before we’re done?

Through the mist a song is sung;

a thrush weeps where the rose is hung.


Poem inspired by a night of pain again, the Yeats poem, To the rose upon the rood of time, and the words to this song:

Rose water

Photo ©Hamed Tahamtan


How did the heat shrink

and blow away in green torrents

of sea-wash, cloud-borne

on thrashing horse winds?

Fissures in the cracked skin

of the earth riffle with downy

bristles, the shrivelled flowers

of summer, filled now, running

with dry dust after the soaking rain.

Earth sighs and sings beneath

the plucked chords of rain strings

yet the music runs through open

fingers, soaking into gaping heat-wounds,

water in a desert of weeping

roses d’Ispahan.

Flash fiction: Casting off

Flash fiction for the Daily Inkling’s prompt—sink or swim.

With thanks to Paul Militaru for the photographic inspiration. This one’s for you, Paul

Screen Shot 2019-02-03 at 20.15.15

They had often stood on this bridge, out in the middle of the river where the current appeared to rush fiercest, though it seemed to her a lifetime since she had watched the rushing water with excitement. Once, she had felt carried along on the back of some great animal or bird, to places she had never seen, to be someone she had not yet met. She felt like the river, rolling and racing to the sea, longing to throw herself helter-skelter into its huge embrace. The world was vast then and there was no horizon.

He stands next to her in silence. Once, she would have known what he was thinking. Once she would have cared. Doesn’t she? She has to ask herself. There’s a twinge of pain, because the answer is, yes, she does care. She twiddles the stem of a red rose in her fingers. He has always bought her a rose when the Gypsies come around the restaurant tables. She used to think it was romantic. Now she sees that he simply doesn’t want to look like a cheapskate.

She twiddles the rose and looks along the river to the horizon, because there is a horizon now, and she knows that whatever is beyond it will stay hidden, out of reach. What you get is what you see. He shuffles, and she thinks she hears a sigh. She moves closer. Their hands touch and he doesn’t move away. They are on the edge, of the bridge, the horizon, the rushing water, the unseen ocean. One way is back to the bland indifference until they wake up one morning and find that somehow, the other is no longer there. The other way is onward, to watch the coiling water and follow where it leads. How to know which way to fall?

She lets the rose drop from her fingers. They both watch as it falls, head first, red and unopened. They watch as it is caught by the current and dragged out of sight. The water squirms, dark green and rapid. She realises she is holding her breath. Then she sees it, the red splash bobbing, twirling in a little whirlpool before shooting off after the rest of the river. To the sea. She turns and he is looking at her, an idiotic grin on his face. Reflected in his eyes, her face smiles back.

Last roses


Photo of a creamy gold/pink rose.


Roses bloom, listening to the sun and the mild air,

a last burst of beauty before the winter chill.

We sit, faces raised to catch the warmth,

listening to the crisp rustle of drifting leaves.

On the empty boughs, buds, new leaves wait,

new life waits.

Ours too.



This is for Sacha Black’s 52 word story challenge. The theme this week is “choke”.

The photo ©Danielclauzier was taken in Agen, the nearest big town to where we’re going to live. Is that coincidence? I don’t think so.


There was a rose once,

beside the door,

a rose of welcome, they said,

pink and fragrant.

When you left

I watched the bindweed creep

over all we had planted.

White and virginal and so tough

it crept and climbed and tangled

through the rose,

so pink and fragrant,

and choked it.