A thrush, the first bird


The restless, storm-tossed night was long,

dark filled with wave-hiss, snapping boughs,

a ship moored in a sea-rocked berth.


No stars, a heavy quilt of cloud

pressed down, oppressed the swaying trees,

the restless storm-tossed night was long.


When rage along the river swept,

storm carried north across the hills,

dark filled with wave-hiss, snapping boughs,


a thrush, the first bird, broke the calm,

a rush of song sailed through the dawn,

a ship rocked in a sheltered berth.


World is water


World is water falling splashing

lashing with steel whips

(drips) bough and stalk


the clouds cold wrath

frothing in over-spilling streams

gleams darkly


battleship grey they throng

songs of thunder in their hearts

(starts the drum roll)


From over-spilling eyes

skies pour an ocean to float the blue-buoyed earth

and still


birds trill and sing

fling all their hearts in open-beaked song

as long as there is a pulse to thrill the blood.

Gogyohka for a deluge

fire salamander

dim grey-green light

through water-grey blur

and the crooning of blackbirds

soothing the tedious drip

of broken guttering


by the pool of rainwater

murky brown with mud

a fire salamander gleams

exotic rainforest sprite

sharing the deluge with toads


awash the grass

the lane aflood

and hares race

oblivious to the downpour

the water veil of fading light

Head in the rain


Listening to the drip drip of rain on the migraine

and feeling the earth soak beneath boots, sinking


unstable and the air full of shimmering, I walk

beneath dripping trees, where birds watch for worms,


and the background noise shrinks to the song of

nightingales, tirelessly ignoring storm and downpour.


I walk a path between grasses shoulder high, bowed

by lead crystal drops, and the clamour soothes,


cooling the blood with rain drip dripping

from the pigeon-grey eaves of the sky.

Passing storm


When the promised storm passes

on dark cloud wings,

and the sun sets in fire

on the meadow grasses,

and the soughing of the trees becomes a sigh,

you and I at the window listen,

waves of song in dusk-light glisten—

dauntless nightingales are singing

to the restless air.

The endless song in moonlight winging

from the hedgerow, soaring higher,

nothing in the night has ever seemed so fair.


Haibun for wind and water


We close the window shutters to keep out the rain that lashes the panes and runs behind the frames, pooling on the floor. We lay a rudimentary barrage across the porch where the torrent, running down from the fields, following the driveway, joins the cascade pouring off the roof and edges up towards the door. Ditches and pathways are raging watercourses, turning the bottoms into a grassy lake. If the stream bursts its banks and joins the lake, the water will reach half way up the hill.

We do what we can to keep out the water, but we cannot keep out the roaring voice in the chimney. Listen, it says, to what I can do, and remember Ozymandias.

soft sunlight was

where rain beats—dandelion


White cattle on a green plain

I came across this painting on Wikimedia , Storm on the Great Hortobágy, and found it fascinating. The white long horn cattle, the shaggy Hungarian sheep dog, the great river plain, and…. the sailing ship.


The plain

white speckled with cattle

and the river rolls.

Long horns watch the painter

herd dogs bark

through their corkscrew curls.

Blue sky.

Broad plain speckled with white

and the sky thronged with grey


storm coming.

Herd dogs bark

long horns raise their heads.


Placid plain,

blue sky in the river,

white horns listening and in the distance


Herdsmen shatter the placid plain silence

with barked orders

corkscrew curls bounce

dogs weave in and out of white legs





and white specks of cattle

roll into one single movement



and white light ricocheting

across the placid river plain.



the river

and the plain sails on forever.

Sea, turquoise and fuchsia




rolls on drunken waves

from sky to sky

and calls down boiling storm clouds

to drown my tears

in rivers of rain.


Voices in the fog,

ghosts of you and me.

I can almost remember

what we used to say,

but not how it felt.


It was the last time that we spoke,

and the words bounced back and forth

never taking hold.

I wish I could take those words

and twist them into the shape

of a bird or a rose

and give them to you again.


Take a song and sing it soft

to calm a stormy sea,

spread your crow black wings and let

the wind blow you safe back to me.


Beyond the humdrum

and the dismal damp

of November light,

sinking into obscurity,

the turquoise and fuchsia

and the flame red

of summer evenings

still sing to conjure up the moon,

and we will walk there

hand in hand beneath the stars.