Things that will never die


From the fizzling gaps between the lines,

the stars that fill the silver screen,

where rainbows end and birds fly why can’t I,

the voice falls clear as liquid light.

So far away he must be,

as far as static rocket ships can fly

through the ear

and into the silence of space,

and yet the interstices of life

are full of things that will never die.


Written in the river

For the Secret Keeper’s writing prompt. The words this week:


Painting ©JF Milan


In the rushing river write

The words reflected in your smile,

The song I wrote for you and me.


Beneath the warm sun of my dreams,

I hold my breath, too full to speak and

In the rushing river write.


Green cords that twist and pluck a song,

They ravel up the tender notes,

The words reflected in your smile.


Plucked by the rushing river, tossed

Into the wind blown out to sea,

The song I wrote for you and me.

On the edge of wakefulness

Today’s Daily Post prompt is: sing


On the edge of wakefulness,

Clutching at fading dreams,

When the gentle night takes back

The searing memories,

Hot-blooded, red and violet,

From these empty hands,

The first hesitant notes of song,

From the blackbird in the hedge,

Coax and mend the rawness and the pain

With the balm of beauty,

Soft as falling rain.

Microfiction: Canary

Microfiction for the Daily Post prompt: flourish.

Photo ©massimilianogalardi



“Just hang the cage in the window, darlin’. You’ll see. A bit of sunshine an’ he’ll be singing his little heart out.”

She took the canary home, amazed that a bird would be content in such a small cage, but the bird man had said it wouldn’t need any more space. Her son-in-law fixed a hook for the cage in the kitchen window. It was always full of sun and people and cars going past. The bird would have plenty to look at, she thought. It seemed happy enough, hopping back and forth between the two perches, and it sang so prettily. She listened as she chopped up onions and carrots for the soup and tried to remember when the apartment had last felt so homely.

In the evening, when the sun had gone and the air was growing cooler, she brought the bird inside and closed the window. It wasn’t much to look at, with its drab greenish feathers. Not really yellow at all, she thought critically, and paid the silent bird no more notice.

For days the canary sang in the window, and she found the song brought back sunny memories, of when the children were small and she had been at the heart of a family. The wave had moved on, she thought. The children had their own lives now, and she was left washed up beyond the high tide line with the empty shells and driftwood. The bird sang its song and it was almost like hearing the prattle of children again.

She admired its tenacity. Such a fragile little thing, yet it produced a torrent of sound, unfailingly, all through the sunny day. In the evening when the street lights came on, she closed the shutters, and they shared their silence, she and the bird.

On the seventh day, the morning broke dull and drizzly. The bird was lying in the bottom of its cage, claws reaching skyward, curled like the narrow petals of a dried flower. It had sung its heart out, she thought, and for the first time felt a pang of guilt that she had ever pretended such beauty could flourish in a cage.


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Poetry challenge Take a favourite line: the entries

Loads of great poems this week, inspired by songs, poems and plays. Some of them could be set to music in their own right.

First one in was from Peter Bouchier. A poem I already knew, inspired by one of the first poems to grip my imagination as a child. Well worth reading again.


Kim from North Norfolk sent this one in her usual effortless style

Songs Are Like Tattoos – writing in north norfolk


Then Kat Myrman. Thanks for reminding me of this poem by Frost. It’s one of my favourites of his. Made me investigate the form he used. I’d never realised until recently that these rhyming patterns have names 🙂


Doug the Elusive Trope sent in this one, all tangled brambles and lost directions inspired by Tom Stoppard

We’re Entitled to Some Direction…I Would Have Thought. | Elusive Trope


This one from the Crow, ripples within ripples. An allusion to Walt Whitman.

Poem 20160121 – Caw!


Kerfe’s take on Wallace Stevens, and a beautiful elegy.


Angels from Carol, and a happy death wish 🙂

Angel’s Hands~Quatrain – WritersDream9


Two poems this week were inspired by the same speech from Macbeth. Maybe not surprising given that these few lines have given us so much food for thought over the last few hundred years. First one was from Ken.

No Brief Candle | rivrvlogr

No Brief Candle

Burn slowly the candle of life
Whether through good fortune or strife
For at times, time seems all we have
Make best use of its healing salve

Squander not the value of time
Consider it a gift sublime
Use it wisely in every way
No petty pace from day to day

Be not fain to see the morrow
Life’s more than a walking shadow
These times, when need for haste is rife
Make not a brief candle of life.


Ali sent in this one after a song I didn’t know, but then I lost touch with contemporary music when I was about twenty. Imagine Dragons—Demons

It’s Where My Demons Hide

There’s a darkness deep inside
It’s a shell, the debris of me
It’s where my demons hide.

Their slick hands squeeze and I slide
under. It’s not where I want to be.
There’s a darkness deep inside

Which rots and will not be denied.
I tear at skin rice paper thin to be free
It’s where my demons hide

I let them in. Stubborn foolish pride.
I thought I was strong but I couldn’t foresee
There’s a darkness deep inside.

I am a survivor. I am Death’s Bride,
a shifter doomed to infinity.
There’s a darkness deep inside.

In the dying of the light
I come to life, reborn banshee.
There’s a darkness deep inside
It’s where my demons hide.


Merril’s musing on that tale told by an idiot. Unexpected and clever direction in the last section.

She Speaks | Yesterday and today: Merril’s historical musings


A thoughtful triolet from Janice inspired by Bob Seger.

Running against the wind–Jane Dougherty Poetry Challenge #14 – Ontheland


Sacha Black finally took the plunge and shared a poem! Big round of applause, please. The line is taken from Pink’s Glitter in the air.


Have you ever looked fear in the face and said, “I just don’t care?”

Its twisting branches

All spine like and full of poison

Stir the carcass of my emotion

Making it swim in a river of lucid fear

I’m drowning

I’m sinking

I’m dying

Have you ever looked fear in the face and said, “I just don’t care?”

Death’s rattle grips my sinewy muscles

Trapping me in a blackened tunnel

I see no end

I see no light

I see no hope

Have you ever looked fear in the face and said, “I just don’t care?”

In the infinite moment of a pause

A diamond sparkles

Choice floats passed like a shining knight

I’m tempted

I’m enticed

I decide

Have you ever looked fear in the face and said, “I just don’t care?”

My newborn arm

With Bambi’s grace


And Pulls

And strokes

Have you ever looked fear in the face and said, “I just don’t care?”

The silky smooth waters

Finally glide past

As one hand passes another after another after another.

Have you ever looked fear in the face and said, “I just don’t care?”

I have.

I have.

I have.


Another first timer next—Sri Sudha K with a stately death march of a poem.



Last in was Geoff with this one that I read over a few times hoping it would get more hopeful. It doesn’t. Great poem, Geoff, got under my skin.

The Living Years (Mike and the Mechanics)

Don’t you regret
The words unsaid?
I’d rather forget.
I’d rather be dead.
Words so cheap
They hurt with ease;
Make flesh creep
Heart-eating disease.
When you’re gone
And only then
Am I your son?
Am I a man?
Untimely death
Acidic tears
Why waste your breath
In those living years?


Thanks so much all of you for participating and reading. Every week there are poems that stick in my mind and I feel proud to have helped urge them into the open. There’ll be a new theme tomorrow. See you then 🙂

Microfiction: The spring dance part II


The gnarly roots gave way to bouncy loam, pungent with fallen leaves and the busy business of decomposition. The child skipped over a branch where mushrooms clung, over a patch of spongy moss full of tiny snap-jawed plants.

This is yours, said the rose.

If you want it, said a voice from a hazel thicket.

What would I do with all this? The child asked in puzzlement.

Why, love it, of course! The voices laughed.

The girl laughed too and danced around a clump of kingcups. Wagtails and Great Tits sang their refrains back and forth until she had them by heart. Water rippled close by and the breeze rattled the poplar leaves like castanets. Bees hummed and blackbirds sang deep and fruity. The hazel thicket moved, and a blue black fox sniffed the air.

Dance me a story, he said, and I’ll sing you a tapestry.

So the girl danced the story of her home and the walk to school and the pavements with the cracks, the smell of hot tarmac, the cars sweating in the heat. Her dance faltered and the fox pricked his ears. He tugged at his fur where a flea was biting. The girl stopped and bit her lip. When she began again, she danced the wall of smooth shiny stone, the trees and the curly roots, the buttercups in the long grass. The fox grinned.

That was pretty. Now, watch.

And he barked the falling leaves, the russet and the golden, the wind through bare branches and the wind through summer leaves. The birds picked up the threads and wove their snippets of nestlings and bright blue eggs. The wind blew a blast of winter and scurrying snowflakes. The girl watched and saw the forest in all its seasons and colours.

Keep it safe, said the fox, and led her deeper among the singing trees.



Unique in his oneness the robin sings,
Taking no cues, no clues
Or fashionable trills and frills,
He pours his heart’s song
Into the ubiquitous wind,
Raising his throat,
Feathered fire,
To the one sun
In the single, world-arching sky.
The notes flow,
A stream, clear as a mountain source,
From this first and only and forever bird,
To his one and only love.

Photo credit
©Brian Robert Marshall