Across the stream a deer barks
as the twilight shadows grow,
and deep dark springs from beneath
trees, their branches reflecting
moonlight when clouds part—a pale
owl drifts, calling to its ghosts.
What songs do we hear of nights?
This started off as a sijo with 14-syllable lines, split into two lines of seven syllables. I added a seventh line of seven syllables just to make it a complete run of sevens. And the illustration is once again Kerfe’s splendid owl.
`I had a look at the next set of tiles and found these seven lines. The Redon is exactly right.
Night scatters stars
like sea spray caught by sunlight, to fill our sleep with their music, violins and owl flutes, the gruff beat of deer bark,
and shadows are shot with the light
of night-opening flowers.
though it throbs stabs behind the eyes is still a release from the dark and the twittering flickering dreams of horror and pain.
Rain falls in gentle showers
from blue and white skies barely tarnishing the gold of dandelions the sheen of green shoots
and the indigo spears
of midnight muscari stand unchanged.
Deranged visions crash finally
into damp earth drip from glossy leaves sun-glittering and I can pick out the warblers’ song
the woodpeckers stare quizzically
waiting for me to leave.
Canals are straight, the water green,
still, and trees bend their heads to buttress the rain-heavy air.
We walk in straight lines, the way
the wind blows, and the trees bow, and the clouds stream, listening to the thrushes sing.
The garden is a symphony of song,
bird-voices beneath the rain, of roots crying out to the roses, buds dreaming of spring.
Sadness enfolds the still lake,
where winter chill clings, and swans glide, dreaming of the open sea.
This morning is bright
as a magpie’s eye with frost-cold frilling still water
though the yellow sun
dabs dandelion eyes open and sings spring green in the throat of the thrush .
Cranes, night-flying over the house, louder than the owls’ low crooning,
the only roisterers out late,
rowdies rolling home after the party, to be guided by the stars.
Bise sings its cold monotone, veiled threats of wolves from the north, sea spray in their mouths, steel-clawed.
No ships come here, no dragons,
but the wind bites the same, spring driven upon the shoals of perhaps.
Cold is beautiful,
a misted Corot touched with russet of last year’s leaves,
and the frost’s white grip
loosens in the sun, in the warm wing-flutter of songbirds and the stirrings of spring.
The birds are singing now,
bringing colour to the mornings, acrobats among honeysuckle flowers,
careless of coming cold,
ignorant of the world’s grey, the concrete and cars, the steel casings of munitions.