Not much has changed,
a few hours turned on the wheel,
the fallen leaves a little drier,
brown as the crumbling clay
where no green shows.

Sun rose behind grey clouds,
and the wind blew irritably through the trees.
Not much has changed,
but the heat is failing,
chaff blowing and fragments of ancient leaves.

We prune and clear
and pick the ripe fruit,
while a small bird whistles a mournful tune,
and in the attic,
the mice settle like dust.


Peeling back the layers


Peeling back the layers of silence,

the silence of songbirds, grass-whispers,

and the rushy quiet of the poplars,

there is still silence.

Peeling back the layers of movement,

lizard dart, bird flash,

boughs swaying in time to the slow flap flap of the heron,

and the earth still turns.

I wonder, do I love this solitude,

the ever-changing scene beyond the window,

the summer-long crunch of dry grass beneath my feet,

the berried and bedecked autumn trees?

Walking, we start a hare.

I watch it lope away, unhurried,

while dog still snuffs the empty briar patch.

Sun washes the last haystacks,

and in the dappling of the dancing leaves,

I see the hare hop merrily across the stream.

Perhaps this is all that matters.

And that you will be home this evening

to watch the shadows creep across the meadow.

Into the dark, the robin sings

Photo©Brian Robert Marshall


Into the dark, the robin sings,

Notes fall sweet as summer-ripe fruit,

Crystal clear, a cascade of song.


Autumn gathers like storm grey cloud,

Days grow shorter; the wind blows cold,

Into the dark, the robin sings.


Muttered voices call in the gale,

Waves pound on the distant strand, yet

Notes fall sweet as summer-ripe fruit.


The world is turning; the night begins,

Still robin pours from tiny throat,

Crystal clear, a cascade of song.

Poetry challenge #48: Circles and cycles

This is a poem that came to me a couple of days ago, walking by the river in unseasonal heat. It’s a while since I wrote a circular poem and thought it was worth trotting it out again. It’s a poem that bites its own tail, goes round in a circle and ends up where it started. The lines don’t have to be any particular length or number though it is possible to write a circular poem in a strict meter. The essential is that the last word of the line gives the rhyme to the first word of the following line, and that the first line of the poem is also the last.

The theme is circles and cycles, seasons, life, planetary, whatever you like. The image is of August windfall apples. You can’t see the wasps but I bet there are plenty of them.

You have until next Monday to post your poem in the comments box below. Have fun!

Photo ©Pauline Eccles


Wind is rising,

prizing the first dry leaves,


slipping into autumn.

Plum and apple, ripe full,

gull hangs, against cloud-brushed sky pinned:

wind is rising.

Poetry challenge: Seasons. The entries

Poetry challenge #4 was on the theme of seasons and once again, I received a harvest of beautiful short poems. Here they are, in order of arrival.

Ben Naga was first this week with an autumn tanka.


Another Autumn
The mushrooms work their magic
Appearing, fruiting, dying
A year older certainly
A little wiser? Let’s see

then a year’s worth of seasons in a haiku


Nature Springs to life
Summersaults, leaves with Autumn
Winter drawers on now.

and just to show that he can, a sept.


Can’t wait
Valentine’s Day
As the first
Day of

Then we get the cherry on the cake.


Everyone praises Spring
Summer and Autumn while
Winter gets a bad rap
Ego got in the way

Thanks Ben, the rest of us can go home now 🙂

Peter Bouchier sent this musical haiku:

and as a reward for producing a new poem, I’m linking to three of his older poems too.

Veronica Hosking sent in a couplet of septs—a nudge and a wink to Douglas Adams fans.

Hitchhike across

Omniscient year

Having complained bitterly about being forced to try something new, Ali Isaac produced a whole string of little gems.

Autumn Sept

fall, red
as blood, gold
sun-drops from stiff
barren twigs,

Winter Haiku

Soft snow stifles sound
ice sparkles, crackles under
foot. Dark winter rules.

Spring Tanka

Ewes milk flows, lambs bleat,
her foot-steps green jaded land.
The Fiery One brings
tender warmth. Earth responds with
joy, season’s cycle renewed.

Summer Sept

Blue sky
Sand and sea
Endless sunshine
on bare skin

Kat Myrman also produced a delightful set of poems—a first for Kat too!

Someone else trying out a sept for the first time. Thanks Annie, I love it 🙂

All three forms in a beautifully coloured poem. Thanks Ken (I hope it’s Ken, easier to pronounce than rivrvlogr anyway :)).

Vibrant in Passing

autumn’s fashion show
displayed across Ozark bluffs
umber lacing green

once green
framed in blue
slowly falling
from the sky

vibrant in passing
leaves dancing, grasping the air
the days of autumn
prelude to winter’s slumber
conjured by a simple frost

A haiku and a sept from Janice. There’s obviously a story behind that sept.

As day yields to night,
summer surrenders to fall,
winds spread her bounty.

mist rises,
days shorten,
hearts stumble, ’til
golden brown

And of course somebody had to remind us that there is a winter among the milder seasons. Beautifully done.


sinks in cold
and rises in cold
frostbit blue

Thank you all for participating, and particularly for experimenting with new forms. I hope you’ll be contributing to the coming week’s challenge—theme posted tomorrow.

Poetry challenge #4: Seasons

The challenge this week is a broad one. You can write a sept, haiku, or tanka, and I want you to include the name of a season. Any season—all four if you’d like to write a sequence. Try to keep to the traditional forms i.e.
Sept: seven lines of 1-2-3-4-3-2-1 syllables
Haiku: three lines of 5-7-5 syllables
Tanka: five lines of 5-7-5-7-7 syllables.
Don’t worry about the hinge word thingy for the haiku—I don’t understand it either.
Not too difficult? I won’t include a picture this week because the theme is too broad, but feel free to add your own illustrations.

Here are my poems, a haiku, tanka, and a sept.

Autumn wind snatches
flame leaves stripped falling drifting
bonfire of dead souls.

Howling winter wind
wolves at the door famine-brave
moonlight on hoar frost
on claws scratching, splintering
wooden defences ceding.

green shooting
dark earth piercing
snow melting

NaPoWriMo #11: Year on year

Painting by Askel Waldemar Johannessen


Year on year,

Seasons follow in the same rhythm

Spring buds burgeon, blossom, blow in the wind,

Fruit swells and falls,

Leaves unfurl tender green,

Curl dry and red.

Wind turns from the soft west to bitter east,

And snow covers blossom drifts.

We too follow, stretching with the sun,

Shrinking with the winter cold,

Salad days turning

To the dry crackle of winter-bound pools,

And the crisp crunch of dead leaves,

Each time falling a little deeper,

Each time the rebirth a little harder,

Each sunset dying a little longer,

Until the long night without end

Brigid’s Day

Tradition honours this time of year, the mid point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, with a feast. The crone months are behind us and we look forward to the spring. The ewes are giving milk and we will not starve. Okay, the local supermarket is always well-stocked whatever the ewes are about, and the poor beasts in factory farms give meat and milk whatever the season. But it is still salutory to remember that there was a time when the changes in the seasons mattered, and when we looked to the snowfall for other reasons than to decide which ski resort to choose.

This is my thought for this day of Imolc, a short piece dedicated to Brigid.


Brigid looked down from the hill at the snow thick in the vales, and the dark woods where wolves stalked. Her cloak, full of the fire of the sun, melted the snow at her feet, and it ran away in rills of bright water. She bathed her face in the water, and a spring rose from the place, sweet and clear.
These traces she left behind when she passed, slipping with the speed of a sunbeam and as brilliant, across the winter lands, drawing the cold and the hunger behind her, banishing it little by little. This was her role. Whose child she was she herself could not say, but the sun and the earth were in her blood, and that was enough for her to know.
The Crone months were passed, and she looked ahead to a future she could see but the world could not, when life would spring again in the dead branches of the trees and push through the damp earth. She raised a hand to stroke the bark of the rowan tree and felt the tree shudder, as the buds drew in the heat of the sun through her fingers.
She listened and heard the sound of the young animals bleating and lowing in the barns. She gathered up the winter illnesses in her burning arms, turning them to ash that she scattered in the fresh breeze. Sunlight blazed through the winter shadows and she smiled at the pleasure in the animal voices. There would be milk now, holy water white as the snow, life giving, long after the cold had gone and the snow slipped back into the earth.
On swift feet that blazed green across the hills, Brigid turned into the breeze from the mountains. At her passing, the vixen in her earth raised her nose to the sweet, soft promise of spring. In their hard sheaths, the tender buds stirred, and the outline of flower and leaf filled and fattened. Her flame burned high as she strode over the sleeping mountains to bring the hope of spring to the plains beyond.