She grasps at threads of meaning


I take the time to craft a word,

to read the clouds that tell the sky

and search in storm-washed mud for signs

that answer questions, how and why,

but cannot find the time to say

and paint and weave this love of life,

the fleeting things that drift away,

rose petals scattered by the wind.

I cannot find the time, it streams

through helpless fingers, water bright,

elusive as our fading dreams,

perhaps because my heart is full,

with trampled beauty overflows,

and all those answers, no one knows.

The fleeting season gone


The heat has come, too soon, too fierce and dry,

No time to taste the clean, brisk breeze of spring,

To watch the songbird fledglings learn to fly,

The fleeting season’s gone, bird on the wing.

Bright water rushing, tumbling down the fields

Is silent now and sluggish in the sun,

The racing torrent, fed by rainstorm yields

To drying mud, its youthful mad course run.

Already meadow flowers fade to seed,

Hay making trembles in the dusty air,

I fear for those who hide, too young to heed

The machine’s voice, in meadow’s flimsy lair.

The wheel turns, beauty gone, will summer bring

More soft nights when the nightingales will sing?

Sonnet for the hare

Although the animal and birdlife has otherwise been so rich, I have been saddened to see only one hare and a couple of forms this spring. Usually there are lots of them. It was a real pleasure to discover there are several hares bunking up with the rabbits on the bank across the lane. I noticed them this evening, the rabbits quietly cropping the grass as usual, and a couple of hares chasing one another about like mad things. A detail in the bigger picture perhaps, but it made me happy.




Winding white, sweet-thorned, the roses climb

And ramble wild among hibiscus boughs;

Is this the moment longed for since the time

When spring was whispered? Now the west wind soughs

In branches full-leafed, full of nesting birds.

They nestle closer, once were timid things

That fled, but now I shape their songs in words

Of pleasure in their bright and gaudy wings.

And when I see the hares race on the hill,

Long legs, long ears and full of springtime joy,

I feel perfection in the air distill,

That no fear of the hunter can alloy.

I’ll follow where they lead, their wild hearts’ beat,

To where the flowered plain and free sky meet.


On the razor’s edge

For the dverse prompt, a poem in rhyming couplets, a sonnet of sorts.


Quiet falls so soft, it’s all there is to hear,

Except the dull remorseless beat of fear,

That intrudes upon the tractor’s busy hum,

Its harsh, relentless beat a warlike drum.


Listen, quiet fills the heart with peace,

The world stands still, a wingbeat of release

Of tension stored. The sky is rain-washed clean;

Look, beyond the stars, the night’s bright screen.


Our tears and weeping mingle with the rain,

There is sorrow in the silence, loss and pain,

Yet blackbirds weave their song from evening gold,

And love remains the greatest story told.


I would live always on the razor’s edge

With arms to sound the depths and dreams to fledge.

The door of the house

The OctPoWriMo theme today is doors. This poem came out as a sort of unmetred sonnet.


This house is bounded by stone walls,

sheltered by the roof, and more,

all the life within, without

is guarded by a door.

Feet first she went, among the mourners

following, darkening the sill.

Head first the baby entered,

banishing the dark, the weeping fallen still.

She always said that, my grandmother,

when one goes out another takes their place,

leaving or arriving, the balance kept

with open arms to vibrant life or death’s sad face.

Whichever way we pass, on joyful feet or head bowed to the floor,

It will always be beneath the scent of roses round the door.

Sloe magic

Yesterday I thought I might find a poem for Paul Milataru’s magical photograph. A sonnet of sorts.

Screen Shot 2019-08-18 at 10.56.48.png

Quiet, except for the clamour in my head,

the chirruping of sharp-beaked nagging

that competes with oriole music.


Still, except for the restless waves of anxiety, mimicking

the gentle swaying of boughs, and the clouds that drift

at a relentless pace across the unforgiving sky.


Peace, except in the world beyond the hedge, in almost

every heart, and the weight pushes against these barriers

with the force of twisted nature.


How to fight the noise and listen to the music beneath,

to still the turbulent troubled air and let peace fall like

a sunset, a spring shower, a smile in the darkness?


When moonlight leads the way along the lane and the owls cry,

when sloes glow dark as midnight pearls, I see where secrets lie.


Lilies and…

For the NaPoWriMo prompt, with apologies to Shakespeare and thanks for the loan of Sonnet 94.


I’ll not compare you to an evening sky,

Shot full of rainbows melting with the light,

A shadow only in the mem’ry’s eye,

When all is swallowed by the hungry night.

High praises are not what your ego lacks,

Your self-opinion soars with eagle’s wings,

Oblivious to any flaws and cracks,

A drab it preens, and as the peacock sings.

To compare you thus is hardly fair to birds,

Birdsong is sweet to hear and full of grace,

Unlike the fatuous flow of hollow words

From that blowhole in the middle of your face.

Give me a simple posy and staunch deeds;

Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds.

So many things

The NaPoWriMo prompt is to write a sad poem using short lines, and the example given is a loose form of sonnet. I’ve already written a strict form sonnet, so this is an easier one, though the lines are probably too long to be considered ‘short’ and the theme is more regret than tragedy.


There are so many things I’d like to see

Before I leave this life,

So many things I’d like to be,

More than just daughter, mother wife.

There are still things I want to do

With these hands, this mind

While they still work, I thought you knew—

Perhaps familiarity and love grew too entwined.

I intend to dig down to the heart

You’ve never understood through all these years

And shape my clay with my own art,

If there’s still time for more than angry tears.

But my sands sift as fast as for the others,

The unfulfilled daughters, wives and mothers.

She asks to know his heart

It’s poetry writing month. Aren’t they all? Jumping in at the deep end on day one with a sonnet.


If you fear you may not want to stay,

The habits built of clay or set in stone

Uproot, it’s better you should turn away

And leave these fields to grow and thrive alone.

If you can watch the nesting birds and hear

Their sweet songs woven new at each spring dawn,

Yet yearn for city noise and still revere

The bustle and the dirt, you’ll watch forlorn.

To live with me among the grasses tall,

Your heart must treasure moments of wild bliss,

Swift flight of swallow or the red leaves fall,

The bite of winter cold and summer’s kiss.

If this rose with petals white as snow

Is worthless in your eyes, I’ll let you go.

Thoughts on writing iambic verse

All we write can be broken up into lines of ten syllables. It doesn’t make it poetry even if the word you rhyme’s at the end. It’s not all that’s at stake. And when the end word’s not even a true rhyme, all connection with the form is lost. For example, true does not rhyme with tree, nor does lost rhyme with last or with closet. Yet we persist in calling sonnet what is a collection of fourteen lines that may or may not end in a rhyme of sorts, contain ten syllables but sounds discordant. We need to learn to listen harder if we want to create verse that’s barder.

I have taken that bit of diatribe and turned it into a ‘sonnet’.


All we write can be broken up into

Lines of ten syllables. It doesn’t make

It poetry even if the word you

Rhyme’s at the end. It’s not all that’s at stake.


And when the end word’s not even a true

Rhyme, all connection with the form is lost.

For example, true does not rhyme with tree,

Nor does lost rhyme with last or with closet.


Yet we persist in calling sonnet what

Is a collection of fourteen lines that

May or may not end in a rhyme of sorts,

Contains ten syllables but sounds discord-


Ant. We need to learn to listen harder

If we want to create verse that’s barder.


Compare that non-sonnet, to this. That is what a sonnet should ‘sound’ like.