In the hush of night

A poem for the Secret Keeper’s five word prompt.




In the hush of night, the cold is rude.

Frost feather-ruffles with frozen fingers,

fitting into any lock, beneath any door;

no nest or lair resists.

Beneath the cruel winking of the stars,

the pheasant stirs, caught

in the unbearable embrace of chill wind.

No kindly wing covers and protects,

no error pardoned—fox sniffs

the frozen air, and the night is stirred again

with cold blood.



For the Secret Keeper’s five word prompt.



Against the rapping on the wall

and the grinding of hinges,

the stamping of the ground,

the rasp of water breaking stone,

some nights, there is no defence.

The barred door will break,

claw marks in the oak,

and the print of bare feet on the flags

the only traces.

When the owl cries,

no one will listen,

no one will hear

except the wind among the rafters.

Wandering madness

Because I’m writing seriously (before, it was just an hobby) I don’t have time to visit and read many posts. So I’m not going to take up many prompts. It isn’t so much the writing of the poem or the piece of flash fiction that takes the time, but visiting and commenting on the other responses. This poem, my treat for having finished my daily word count is in response to Jilly’s Days of Unreason challenge. The Harrison quote

“I’ve spent a lifetime
trying to learn the language of the dead”

~ Jim Harrison from Sister in  Songs of Unreason

also unblocked the Secret Keeper’s weekly writing challenge to use these five words, or synonyms, sort of:



Mad in the midst of moonlight,

In the midnight clear,

The poet puts a rowan berry on his tongue,

And as the juice, red as her lips,

Bursts in sweetness and parted clouds,

That clear the honey-haze from his brain,

He speaks the language of the lost.

All the tangled, brambled and briared paths

He has walked since the day she fled

Grow straight and soft beneath his feet.

If he should meet her in the glade

He would know now how to catch and keep

His love, his own, his fleet white hind.




In time to the winter song

A Serpent’s tail poem for the Secret Keeper’s writing prompt. This week’s words:



I step in time to the winter song,

long as the night and just as old,

cold as the wind that peels the skin.

Thin ice on the pond where deer come to drink,

brink of day I make a hole, a watering place,

graced by dog rose, red-hipped, a treat.

Greeting the sun in the morning sky,

I step in time to the winter song.

A Month with Yeats: Day Twenty-One

The quote for today is from ‘The Ragged Wood’. I have used it as inspiration for the Secret Keeper’s weekly writing challenge, to include the words:



‘…by water among the trees
The delicate-stepping stag and his lady sigh’ —W.B. Yeats


He calls his love home from the hill


High on the hill, the white hind stands,

She pauses before she leaves the deep trees,

She watches the sky and she tastes the sound

Of the colours of leaves drifting in the breeze.

Down she bounds where the grass is lush,

In the meadow bright where the stream runs by,

But she stops before she leaps the bank,

For a song drifts down from the hill so high.

‘Come home, come home,’ the rough voice calls,

To the wind, the sky and the rushing stream,

And the hind in an instant remembers his face,

And the name that she thought was only a dream.

So poised for flight she turns her head,

His name, his face, the curse she sees,

The woman she was tries to find her voice,

Though the song in its falling fills her with unease.

Her heart full of sadness she leaps the bright stream,

For the song that she hears is in the wrong key,

It tells her, as into the forest she melts,

That from her enchantment she’ll never be free.

She looks through the window at the world

This is for the Secret Keeper’s writing prompt.



I play the role of shaper of things,

moulder of spirit,

curator of youth,

orderer of my environment,

but in this abundance of quiet,

this place of tremulous peace,

I see myself for what I am,

an insect clinging to the rim of the great cup of space.

I am more and less than the fox in the covert,

the owl that glides on silent wings,

the swallows playing one last swooping game

before the long flight south.

For all my longings, I do not belong,

and cares will always weigh with fear my clumsy tread,

and nothing, no words, no kind thoughts

will stop the fall of yellow leaves,

nor help me hold my place

when the earth spins,

and the winds of winter blow hard.

The final turning

Poetry break. Thanks to the Secret Keeper’s weekly prompt. The words to include are:



To stop the final turning of the year,

Sunset bringing night, no morning after,

We strut beneath the over-arching sky,

Rant upon this stage and shake our puny fists

At the hapless clouds and retching sea,

As if all are to blame but the players.

This journey almost over, river run,

We feel the bone-cold rise from misty ground,

Where light seeps into water, dusty pearls,

And nothing is what we hoped, no rounded dreams,

Nothing recalls the tang of unseen seas,

The lush and velvet scent of hot night skin,

The arrogant cry, gold-plumed and sun-struck flight,

Of the tumultuous firebird of youth.


I liked the Jim Harrison quote that Jilly posted yesterday but didn’t have time to write anything from it. I have done now, and combined it with The Secret Keeper‘s writing prompt, taking liberties as usual with the words.

“The birds are a chorus…clearly relatives of Mozart”  ~  Jim Harrison





I found the perfect place to sit,

beneath the trees beside the stream

that spins its tales of then and now,

and how the world has always been


in this green place.


Painted feathers tint the shade,

and half-glimpsed fox-red where the sun

slants gold and misty at midday,

where peace hangs in the falling notes


of unseen birds.


The clouds that pass seem not for me,

but smoke of other people’s wars,

and I, in beauty’s treasures sleep,

while chorus sings of flames and flight


and waning light.

Dreams or foot soldiers

For the Secret Keeper’s writing prompt. I used all the prompt words in the first phrase, so used the poem to tell the story.

Thank you Shine9 for the painting.



From your cold stare,

I assume you mind my being late,

and though my arms are full of flowered dreams

and wishes, gathered in a field of stars,

to thread into your hair

with laughter and the scent of roses,

you don’t want to know why.

If I were to spread these wings

(that you have never seen),

and soar into the blue

with meteors in a fiery tail,

weeping golden tears of farewell,

your eyes would still be on your watch,

counting the seconds of lost time,

the tiny foot soldiers,

never to be used to further your career.

Such a waste, I hear you think,

as you sweep their husks of bodies into the past

and wonder if there’s still time

to cancel the tickets.

When all the world is calm

For the Secret Keepers’s word prompt using the words


I wrote this villanelle, which also fits the NaPoWriMo theme of nocturne rather well.


When all the world is calm and still in sleep,

No ropes bind my dream-skimming craft to quay,

No clipped wings mine, that earthbound have me creep.


The daytime cares I cannot o’erleap,

Dissolve like wind blows blossom from the tree,

When all the world is calm and still in sleep.


The star-dark sky above, around so deep,

Invites me to take wing and soar bird-free,

No clipped wings mine, that earthbound have me creep.


I count the stars, your face’s outline keep,

Your smile, for me, that no one else can see,

When all the world is calm and still in sleep.


Though you are far, across the ocean deep,

I’ll fly to you, wherever you may be,

No clipped wings mine, that earthbound have me creep.


When morning comes, so empty, I may weep,

For all the dreams that with the daylight flee,

But all the world is calm and still in sleep,

And with broad wings, I’ll never earthbound creep.