Last light morning

Beautiful misty morning and a Samhain message from the Oracle. Don’t even mention zombies, broomsticks or ghosts with chainsaws to me, please.

halloween dawn misty

Sing life in the morning on waking,
the sleep dream lingering,
draped in dawn-dapples and the mist of imaginings.

Sing, with bird chatter
keeping the rhythm,
the chug-chug-chugging of insect and seed-search,

and at the end, when night falls,
sing the death song,
sail out the last ship onto dark seas,

swell rolling, oiled satin,
let the last sound
be one of sweet sorrow.

The dark of the year


This night is when I think of you,

all together, not one missed place

at table or ache in my heart.

We are what we come from, the blood


and the white bones beneath the earth,

the wind wailing ’cross the mountain.

We are the river running to

the ocean, the waves on the strand,


the quick flick of the hare’s white scut,

the blackbird’s song in the rowans.

I try to explain the hunger,

the land left behind in grieving,


the hope in children not yet born,

but the past is a foreign land.

I listen for your voices still,

in this owl-soft night, and I weep.

Listening to the dark


Listening to the flames,

outside the owl,

calling gently while the stars glitter,

this night closes around.

Darkness grows,

presses against the window,

the silence broken only by the fluttering call.

I listen to the flames, the owl,

and there are no voices of the dead,

none come to the candlelight.

If they are there, they are silent,

quieter than the flames, the owls,

and tomorrow the dark time begins.

November Yeats challenge: Day One

November is the month when those of us who write are encouraged (or goaded) to finish or start that manuscript, to take that brilliant idea and give it life. It’s a challenge I’ve accepted on previous years and have written, if not the full 50,000 words of the challenge, a goodly chunk.

This finishing off of great ideas though inevitably poses the question of what next. For writers, the answer is always, to get it published. That, dear reader, is easier to rattle off than to do, and there is nothing more depressing than having a beautiful story that nobody wants to read.

So, this year, instead of continuing my alternate history/parallel universe story—a lonely boy discovers how to get his nose out of his navel and let himself be rescued by an Iron Age girl with attitude, who also happens to be the girl in his class who is missing and feared murdered by her violent step-father—I’m going to write poetry instead.

I like my story and have enjoyed plotting it out, but I dread finishing it and having to put it on the pile with my other unsung masterpieces. There are no expectations with poetry. It’s a personal effort, written for personal reasons, and I certainly don’t feel compelled to see my  efforts in print.

For each day of this month of frenzied novel scribbling, I am going to post a quote, a handfull of words from a poem by Yeats, and let his magic inspire a poem. Limiting the prompt to just a line of poetry has been hard, as Yeats often spins a single image across half a poem, and I might have been a bit cack-handed with the cut-off point.

Anyone who cares to join me is very welcome. Just leave a link to your poem in the comments or do a pingback so I can read it. May all the saints and all the old gods inspire you 🙂

“they will ride the North when the ger-eagle flies,

With heavy whitening wings, and a heart fallen cold:” —W. B. Yeats


This is my first Yeats-inspired poem.

The dark half of the year


The dark half of the year’s upon us

Galloping with the sound of the wind

That pours from the north, cold as hunger.

The dark half of the year’s upon us

And the moon has horns of silver light

That mask the starry host from sight.

The dark half of the year comes swift

But draws on slow as a hag’s shambling

On the rocky cliff road.

In the darker part of the year I creep

Beneath the bare oak with the hare

And wait for the sharp bright sun of spring.





No fear of the dark

Today is the first of Colleen Chesebro’s November prompts. The words to use are Night and Fright—or rather their synonyms, not the words themselves. Since today is also Samhain, or Halloween if you prefer, I’ve written a seasonal haibun, and dedicated the first haiku to Colleen.

Today marks the turning of the year into the dark, the beginning of winter, hunger and cold. We build our fires high to symbolise the sun, and send the flames high into the night as a token of our faith that light and warmth will return. Tonight, the walls grow thin between this world and the other, and we listen, avidly, for the voices of those who have already gone through the door, hoping to entice them back among us for this one night of the year.

No fear of the dark

except for the trembling mouse,

waiting for fox pounce.

Do not listen to the words of the priests who took away this day from our lost loved ones and gave it to their worthy saints. Ignore the candles they light to chase the fearful shadows in their gloomy churches. Tonight is Samhain, when the dead reach out a hand to the living and say, live, love, and remember.

Owls will hunt tonight,

silent-winged, keen-eyed, with souls

gathered in their wings.

Poetry challenge #3 :the entries


The third challenge on the theme of Samhain attracted another beautiful crop of poems. Darkness, death and the otherworld/afterlife obviously have great appeal.
Here are your sept poems, in order of appearance.

Peter Bouchier was first (again!)

then Jim, who I’m pleased to say has left a twitter link this time—thanks Jim 🙂

fest we leave
gifts to Aos Śi
to protect
our foods

@the _release_101

Ben Naga created a whole sequence. Spectacular!


Samhain’s come
The Dark Season
Breathes a chill

And yet
Has no warmth
I’m shivering
What’s that sound?
A door

T’is the sidhe*
The Otherworld

Oh my
May I dare?
Go find her there
My heart’s love
Passed on


*pron. shee.

Kat Myrman’s contribution

Kris the Bard. His blog link is here.

You play
Lost in time
While I await
My love’s

This one is from Deuxiemepeaux

Of the
Flame, find them,
Raise them, once more
To life, lust,
Thirst for

Sky darkens
While flames flicker,
Hearts flutter,

You can visit Damien’s blog here for more poems.

Jennifer Knoblock’s entry is here

Next Elusive Trope:

Mound of Hostages

of fog
shape of man
passage denied
this one night

A trickortreater from rivrvlogr
rings your bell
on Halloween
he’s there for
bars from

Ali Isaac contributed two septs, very originally titled 1. and 2. 🙂

leap high.
As sun slips,
darkness hovers
with the ghosts
and lost

rode the
sky, laughing.
Queen of the night.
But no more.
Now she

Another classic Halloween entry from vhosking for whom I can’t find a link 😦
And I now have a link!

Pumpkin carved
Shapes create

A scary duo from Janice

bass strumming
warns danger lurks,
Rain lashed strings

figure lurks,
Eerie chimes bend,
bell rings

Finally, The Secret Keeper sent this one in

Thank you all for the fun and the beautiful poems. The next challenge will be posted tomorrow. See you then.

So many fluttering souls

One last poem for the ending of the year.


So many fluttering souls now,
So many hands that touch but cannot hold.
The nights are cold,
Wind blows the guttering stars,
Dead leaves roll, heavy with the rain.
No light but one shines, for all you wanderers.
Whose home will you choose,
Now the fire is dead and we dispersed?
Blow wind, but leave the candle flame,
Rising spear-straight and bright as a sun.
Drift, leaves, that mark the ending of the year,
Hark the plaintive robin’s song.
Gone, you may be, from this waking world,
Where pavements grey are stalked by pain and sorrow,
Wait awhile, hold open the enchanted door,
And I will follow.