For the dverse prompt, a loose sort of a sonnet. This coldest time of the year is when the Mozart Requiem haunts, coming up to the anniversary of Wolfie’s death.


Winter, the dead time,
when leaves long-withered
and stripped by gales, rot
beneath the frost, rime

on every dry leaf,
and ice crusts the puddles
in cart ruts, bitter
and sharp as grief.

Beyond the winter window, snow
fell, softening sharp black angles,
on the hearse with stamping horses,
stars on black veils. Below,

winter snow fell in frozen tears,
as you joined the music of the spheres.


Wind blows the thrush’s tree

Wishing everyone a happy new year, hoping you will find your happiness and contentment in the small things we all extol, like the beauty of sunsets, wild flowers and birdsong.

The Planet

Wind blows the thrush’s tree

The wind has blown, will blow, is blowing still,
the shrivelled leaves of last year’s tired trees,
all through the restless night of rocking stars,
bright lightships shining in the heaving dark.
And now the clouds are piling deep and grey,
the only sound the wind’s persistent voice,
cold daylight dim, not bright enough to call
this day a start, not new nor even green,
nor half the frosty way to leafy spring.
Yet sing, thrush, stormcock, in the poplar tree,
sing loud as only feathered hearts know how,
defiant, jubilant to pierce the dark.
You dominate your windy world, perched high,
you see far clearer than my human eye.

Re-mundaning the wild day 9

For Paul Brookes’ challenge, still thinking in iambs. A sonnet with erratic rhyme (non)scheme.


When winter settles cold across the fields,
and even roses fail to open buds,
when petals pink and blue are long since brown
and damp-dead, jays hop now where once they bloomed.
When sky is hid behind grey mists of cloud
and falling rain, its patter dull on leaves,
a sodden carpet specked with acorn cups,
the house seems sad despite the glowing stove,
and even mouse scratch, ash sigh echo loud,
I watch the pheasants in their gaudy plumes,
uncaring of the rain, the lack of light,
knowing only that the cage was sprung,
the broad day full of life and dark the night.
I listen for the ghosts of summer done,
bee-hum that fills these rooms with scents of sun.

Hounds of Winter

For the dverse prompt. A sonnet because The Winter’s Tale = Shakespeare = sonnet. There are two titles in there, and almost a third. I stuck an article into Roses in (the) snow to make it scan.

Hounds of winter

The hounds of winter howl the moon, the sky,
Pin-pricked with stars, only a night away
Throws back the song, we hear the echoes die,
And on a lonely hill we wait for day.

The hounds of winter tread the ocean sky,
Its cloudy waves, no need of ship and sail,
Their breath, the north wind, teeth snap hue and cry,
And growl the deep notes of a winter’s tale.

Yet in the night fields tracked with pad and claw,
The year lies sleeping, warmed by deep earth’s glow,
Cradling seeds, roots waiting for the thaw,
And perfume-petaled roses in the snow.

Should these dark hounds pause, sniff the wintry air,
They’d scent the spring stir in their icy lair.

Hot night with owls

Not a piece of prose, but a poem inspired by the dverse prompt line. This is for my youngest fledgling who learned today she has been accepted at the Brussels École SupĂ©rieur des ‘Arts de l’Image. Nothing to do with owls, but they insisted.

Hot night with owls

The fragile green has gone again,
sprinkling of rain a hope that died.
The fissures yawn in this tired crust,
crisp and crackled where once flowers grew.

There is nothing I could plant here,
no flower delicate and pale,
in this dry dust where foxes dig,
and overhead the buzzards turn.

Hay still smells sweet at midnight,
yet no peace falls on linnets’ wings,
no fluttering, but soft-voiced owls,
their night-flight spurred with sprung steel claws, `

in moonless heat croon war-cries,
tender as a leopard’s paw.

On the beauty of poplars

The 30DaysWild challenge today is an ode to trees. A sonnet in my case.

On the beauty of poplars

Without the poplar trees there’d be no song,
no fluting call of orioles, no wild
and wanton dancing by the stream, no wreaths
of black and yellow through the leafy green.

Without the poplar trees, how would we know
the wind was pouring, rolling from the west?
The oaks stand firm, immobile, poplars sigh,
their topmost branches trembling silver sea.

And when the trembling grows, a rising tide
of waving boughs and hissing with the foam
of unseen water-wind, cold ocean-born,
the poplars raise their slender boughs to show

the wind take form, we see it in the sky,
an ocean, weed-strewn, flotsam flying by.

Ferdinand’s ghost

Yesterday’s dverse prompt was to write a sonnet or any other poetry form, incorporating the title of one of Shakespeare’s plays. Today, the NaPoWriMo prompt is to write a duplex sonnet. Too good a coincidence to miss, but since I didn’t warm to the duplex option, here is an ordinary sonnet with Shakespearean overtones.

Painting by John William Waterhouse.

Ferdinand’s ghost

An overarching of sky of bird’s egg blue,
A sward of grassy green and golden light,
All swallowed by the rising storm, the hue
Of kelp, that heaves, a restless sea of night.

Like scraps of feathered day, the crow flock flees,
Wings black as space among the swirling clouds,
Torn from the ragged shrouds of ghostly trees
That heave and sway like huddled fearful crowds,

Who watched the tempest wreck the ship that broke
Upon the gale’s dark teeth. Its timbers sank
Into the deeps; the bridegroom never woke,
A linceul now his diamond raiment, rank.

Full fathom five, your prince, the dead man lies,
No tears fall from those pearls, his only eyes.

I heard a father call

Today this would have been my father’s birthday. He was a poet, and I think he would have liked this one.

I heard a father call

I heard a hart bark from the wooded hill,
Where some days past they shot a gentle hind.
Is it for one he lost, he searches still,
Or does he call to one he hopes to find?
We all have lost someone we never thought
We’d learn to live without, their presence near,
Whose voice we’d know among a million, wrought
Of all the memories we hold so dear.
You had your children late, grew old too soon,
To see the field you sowed blossom anew,
Too many suns had risen, and the moon
too many cycles turned, but when you flew,
You left your love of beauty in this blood;
It courses strong as any bright spring flood.


A sort of sonnet for dverse.


Once there were lovers though not loves that last,
the sentimental soppiness of youth.
Once there was Romance with a capital R
and words that said more than ever they meant.
What we want most of all is what few of us find,
the sailing and sunsets, fingers entwined,
how we searched for the glossy, the magazine love,
when we were green shoots, when the world was begun.
I don’t wish that I’d settled for Valentine’s cards,
for candle-lit suppers, a bright shiny ring,
nor ask is this heart-swell in quiet of night,
enough to fill skies and oceans of years.
This love that I hold in the crook of my arm,
is enough to build mountains, dry oceans of tears.

Shadow shade

The dverse prompt is to write a shadow sonnet. It’s not a form that says much to me, so here’s a straightforward sonnet instead. About shadows.

Shadow shade

Among the winter trees with damp-black bark,
Across the rustling sea of last year’s leaves,
Between the hours slipping, light to dark,
A shadow-crowd of black-veiled widows grieves.
Who stole the light and left us with the shade?
What false Prometheus damped the kindled blaze
And turned earth’s face away, from summer made
A time of cruel claws and frost-bound days?
I hear black winter’s teeth grind in the howl
Of storm winds, driving darkness through the trees,
When shades of famine-boned follow the owl
To find the longed-for honeysuckle breeze.
Yet winter shadows shrink and melt like snow,
In summer shade the white wood flowers glow.