First geese

The old man said
watch the sky
for the spring will come
on wings.

Today they came
the first geese battalion
joy in their basso profondo
flying so low
the setting sun in the delicate colours
of their feathered fuselage.

Godspeed, I shouted
in their gentle majesty.

Days of water

An Imbolc poem for earthweal.

caillou Brigid's flood

Days of water
nights of rushing wind
and only thoughts of fire.

Winter runs in these cold streams,
dull browns and mud-grey,
sodden with cloud-spill.

No light, bright and sharp
as whetted steel,
no gold glints among the weeds

or the mud-stirred ditches;
winter runs still
in these cold veins,

only the birds,
colour of sunglitter and holly berries,

dance to the music of Brigid’s footsteps,
settle on the budding twig-snap
of her fiery fingers.

Hope in question

Posting this one to earthweal.


Cold comes in the answer
and snow in the wind,
furrows fill with white, while
growling incandescence consumes
branch and twig
in our invocation of the sun we have lost
in the dark night of winter.

In the morning,
the embers cold and pitted with deer tracks,
ash streams, the wind still bitter.

Ice cracks in the north
with a dark voice full of teeth,
and in the wood
a thrush is singing.

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?

Haibun for gardening

Tussling with thistles taller than me, sprouting like something I saw in a black and white Doctor Who and remembered with terror for decades, in the sun too hot for spring and crickets vying with blackbirds for airspace, I feel the year running away from me already.

the Dagda stopped the sun once

for nine months

one way of hiding your guilt

and if the child turned out bad

you could always blame his mother

They tell me spring is coming


They tell me spring is coming with the birds

That flutter through the wind and gusty rain,

But past and future are no more than words,

And spring is just another name for pain.


They tell me life is burgeoning, the trees

Are slowly opening their crumpled hands,

To catch stray sunbeams drifting in the breeze,

Cascades of pied and dappled golden bands.


Go look, they say, the buds have burst ghost-white,

The meadow rings with trills of spring songs sung,

Beneath the hedge, the furred and feathered-bright,

Will fill the greening world with mewling young.


I tell you all is still beneath the sky,

The falling blossom melts away like snow,

Our times and moonlit tides with wild geese fly,

Beyond the hills, where all our daydreams go.