Short and silly

To dispell the blues, a series of short verses inspired by Claudia McGill’s masterly absurdities.


I held out my hand

you took it

blood drips on your shoes.


Take me away from it all

she says

to the bus driver.


She watches the washing

going round and round

her eyes on those red socks.


I heard her say it

he gets up to feed the cat

at three in the morning.


At the checkout

she picks up a dozen disposable lighters

then another one just in case.

Northern stars

Twitter poems linked by stars.


Loosed upon the sea,

our boat,

white-sailed, wave-dancing,

beaten by silver beams,

moonstruck, night-glowing.


Polar winter falls—

stars the only light in this

perpetual night.


Aurora Borealis cascades

in rainbows of northern light,

sea-prismed, star-drenched,

so many wishes

for us to catch

in our hands.


We forget,


when shadows crowd,

and the sky roars with darkness,

to look at the stars

that shine in loved ones’ eyes.


This haibun, written for Colleen Chesebro’s Tanka Tuesday challenge (Happy Birthday, by the way!) was inspired by thoughts about my grandmother and what she would have (probably did, a million times) wish for after her children died. It could be read as though I don’t think there’s any point striving for change. It isn’t meant that way.  We should and must do what we can to make things better for everyone, is really what I was trying to get across, and not try to unravel a nice little strand of happiness for just our own little selves.


If I could wish I wouldn’t. Too vast and rolling the world I’d shift with my chopping and changing. Go back sixty years and make it so two children didn’t die? How so? Change the way the poor died then through lack of care and no doctor for those who couldn’t pay? Would I stop the trains on the way to the death camps without changing the hatred that sent them there? Nip the hatred in the bud, go back two thousand years? Kill the Christ who started it with his new fangled machine of blame? Would I stop a massacre here only to create a war elsewhere?

No wish is anodyne, no stone so small it will not start an avalanche that I could never master. Life is what it is—hard for many, easy for some. We can dole out handfuls of softness here and there but in the end the stones roll and gather no moss. Only more stones.

Sitting on this stone, teetering on the cliff edge I watch the changing sky and the greening earth. This is the only reality, the magic undercurrent of existence, and that I would never change.


Melts into summer

in a rush of perfumed blooms,

wild, sun-charged growing.

Cherish each falling petal,

no moment ever returns.


Three twitter poems on a theme.


Moonless night,

orange sky,

packed with cloud

and the sour taste

of city waste,

but far away,

stars light up a sky

black as dreamless sleep,

and in between

peace drops,

pearls from worlds

that have yet to wake.



Against the black,

a sliver slice,

a curved pool of light,

a rent in the fabric of the sky.

We call it moon

for want of a better word.


Cold glitter falls

onto a silent land

of stone and grey trees,

where grey cats prowl,

looking for love,

pad padding

on frosted tiles,

singing their wild songs

to the moon.



I watch the rain fall,

a forest of steel shafts,

spear-straight and deathly cold,

to lie in trembling droplets

in a petal’s curved embrace.


Beneath cold autumn rain,

the last of the roses, swaying gently,

let scented petals fall,

drifts of sweetness

where the blackbirds fuss.


In this butter yellow light,

silent fall the golden leaves

against a sky blue as summer,

robins’ eggs and forget-me-nots.

Remember this when frost furs

in frigid white

our winter world.

Looking at stars

I haven’t been following the twitter poetry prompts much lately, but this morning I did a whole clutch of them, and they flowed one into the other beautifully.

Photo ©Jess Mann


Face to the sun,

a smile on your lips,

stars of fortune in your eyes,

you march lightly into tomorrow,

without me.


Tortuous it was,

the road back,

but you came,

walking on broken glass,

hands empty but for all my love

that you’d kept next your heart

wrapped in cloth of gold.


I knew you’d come

despite your words,

I know your heart

better than you,

because butterflies fill the garden

and swallows the sky.


I play the muse

to your uncertainties,

take your hand

to show the way.

Follow me, love,

For I only know the way

of the heart.


Even in the blackest night,

hope burns bright in a tiny star.

Look how it plunges into my open hands,

your face, your smile,



Storms and sunsets



That was the other speaking, not me,

not the one you know.

The one you know would never dare

look you in the eye,

tell you unpleasant home truths,

ruffle peacock feathers.

Why? For fear of this—

the slamming door.


In the sunset of your leaving,

even the cherry blossom drips scarlet,

and the sky bleeds with my heart,

black swallows dart,

filling the hollows

with their strident laughter.


Hands and heart tied to you,

I follow, a limping bird,

but would I take the right path,

would I even know it,

had I the choice?


Bright night-velvet fades to grey,

I cringe from the uncompromising light

that floods the empty white space

with cold tomorrows.