Bridge of sorrows

Open link night at dverse. A trio of tanka.




over the stream

a bridge—beneath water runs

a stream bright

with spangled hopes and fish leaps

a bridge across sorrows


sorrows bridge night

and day you and me the past

and what is to come

streams of forgotten future

unknown past—bright water flows


beneath the bridge

a stream kingfisher darting

hopes leap silver fish

where sorrows flow wingless

yet we are all kingfishers


Night shades

I woke to a radiant morning and a sad piece of news that has touched me deeply.


Within this bright sunlight

lie always the shadows of the night

and the creeping dread of the day that will come

when no sun will chase away the darkness,

no sea of light roll across the arid bed

that once was green and flower-specked,

no stars, however countless, fill an empty sky.

Microfiction: Chorus

For Ronovan’s Friday Fiction. The prompt is a concert.


It had been the longest night, of a fitful, light sleep between bouts of wakefulness. Each time she surfaced, the stab of pain had made her gasp. It had been the first night she had slept alone in years, and her body could not believe that he was not there. The space howled, the sheets tossed like an angry sea, and her hand reached out involuntarily as if it expected to find his warmth, that it had all been a mistake. But the night air moaned and muttered with his last words and she knew that those words could never be taken back. Even if she had wanted to forgive him, his pride would not swallow them.

Grey light fell through the cracks in the shutters and there could be no more pretence that there was still time for him to come home. The night was over, and he had not returned. He had gone where he had said he would, to those warm arms and fluttering, diaphanous smiles, all pulpous mouth and no words. As the light increased the hurt grew. She flung back the sheets and stumbled to the window, her back to the bed and the empty room. She raised the latch and pushed open the shutters onto a calm morning, lusciously damp and green. He had taken everything, she thought, even her pleasure in the secret dawn. Her mouth pulled into a tight, bitter line and she stared down into the garden angrily, as if she expected to find broken pieces of her heart lying among the flowers.

Then, slowly, hesitantly, the first bird piped the opening notes of its morning song. In the birch trees, the finches gathered, bright feathers catching the light, and the blackbird was joined by another, then the robin and the wagtails, the redtails and the tits, until the air throbbed and rippled with music. The tight line of her mouth loosened and she smiled. He hadn’t taken everything after all.

Grass in mourning drenched

On November 14 I photographed the ornamental grass down on the quay, bowed down in misery.


Two weeks later, I photographed the same grass in the sunshine. Nature showing us what we have to do.

silver grass1

Grass in mourning drenched,

Wrenched into tangled,

Spangled locks by diaphanous mist,

Kissed by a dark sea wind.

Skinned raw with cold,

Hold hands wide to catch the rain,

Strain against the tears that prick,

Kick against the sorrow brimming,

Swimming in bleary eyes.

Skies above will change,

Arranging wild, mussed hair,

Fair and neat and sprightly,

Lightly dusted with dew.

New day dawns, warm, soothing breeze will pass,

Grass in mourning drenched.

silver grass2

No silence

Felix Nussbaum: Orgelmann
Felix Nussbaum: Orgelmann, 1942

No silence is too full of words of sorrow,

No ocean of tears half deep enough,

To drown the shame and the pity,

To wash away the chagrin and the fear,

And leave behind a pile of polished stones instead.

When we walk in darkness,

As we must, when hands cover red-rimmed eyes,

When clouds cover the sun and mask the moon,

Hope in the light,

The beacon that guides,

To the haven in the storm.

Remember, no night is so deep

No dusk such a far-off memory,

No overarching mesh of stars so bright,

That morning will never come.






So grey the cloud,

Sweeping the grass with ephemeral diamonds,

While flocking gulls sweep the river,

Calling to lost souls.

So heavy hangs the sky, so dull,

Fumbling with gentle fingers,

Consolation dropping slow and damp.

No colour left of autumn in the leaves,

And crows bob, black and sleek,

Amid the scattered cloud-wealth.

But there is beauty in the hues that cloak the skies,

Changing with the winds, the rising of the tides,

Every black and brittle tree has its robin,

Every bitter day its ending.

Haiku challange: Pine & Grief

Here are my entries. Go to Ronovan’s blog for dozens more haiku on the theme.

Painting by Max Rudolf Schramm


Fir tree casts green pools
shadow cools pangs of hot sun
and my wells of grief.

Lone swan on the lake
white beauty, neck bowed in grief
pines for her lost love.

Grieve, lonely white one
sing your last song to the wind
waste away, ghost bird.