Tragedy in many acts


The deer and hare watch the human shoot other humans, perplexed. The deer and hare watch humans join hands and say how sorry they are. They say, we are all so sorry, and we are one.

The deer and hare watch the humans break into different groups again; their hands drift apart and they dive into their different burrows, follow their different paths, waiting for another human to start the shooting again, and the hand clasping to start again, and them all to say we are one again.

The hare looks at the deer and asks, are they one? Then why do they keep apart, live in separate burrows, plot their separate paths to a place they think will be better than all the others? Where do they think they are going? The hare says, it makes no sense. I know that I am going to the same place as the hare that lives over the hill. I eat the same grass and my leverets look the same as hers.

The deer nods wisely and says, the humans of each burrow think they know a secret, that there is a beautiful world where they will live forever, where there are no guns or wolves or foxes.

But only the humans from that burrow can go there, the hare adds. Where do the others go then? If they are all one?

But they are one, all the humans, and the place they go to is the same for all of us, says the deer.

The earth, says the hare.

The earth, says the deer, and they watch the humans let go their hands and dry their tears and go back to their separate burrows to plot their secret paths to the world that exists only in their heads. And they wait for the shooting to start again.

Oh what a war

This haibun is the first poem for this Armistice Day, for Frank Tassone’s prompt.

Well, here we are, waiting in the mild sunshine, the clouds scudding past from the south undecided—rain, or just passing through—for the sirens to sound and possibly the church bell to ring if they can find anyone to do it. The grass is golden in the sun, lush and green beneath the morning light, and the sky is blue. Trees dance, oaks hanging onto their greenery, the poplars tossing gold largesse of leaves. And when the sirens sound the eleventh minute, and some chasseur can’t restrain his trigger finger, and the bells finish pealing, and we all speak again with voices full of relief, what then? Another war over, a new one just begun, because, to paraphrase the song, those who don’t want it, don’t count.

always the sun

the moon the stars and autumn

that peels back

to the heart of things  

Usefulness outlived

A possible tragedy, or unwanted present maybe, abandoned on the pavement this morning—I didn’t take a pic in case it really was a tragedy. Just imagine, brand new, bright red pushchair…


On the pavement before the park, an empty pushchair waits and metaphorically weeps. Almost new, with all its wheels, no broken axle, no torn hood, no unsightly stains, it stands, carelessly askew, gathering spots of sultry, desultory rain amid the debris of the weekend. I wonder as I look away, in sorrow at some imagined drama, is this a monument, Ozymandias in the sand, an abandoned castle of a couple’s dreams now dead, moved on, perhaps, with heavy hearts to build anew. Or did someone simply hate the colour red?


Gutters fill with loss,

pigeons peck the city’s crumbs,

rain spots, dust remains.

Microfiction: Remains III

This concludes the ‘Remains’ story. Part one is here, part two here.


The wind blew cold. Rain pooled in the bottom of the hole, but we found nothing else. Joe hunkered down with his back to the wall, his face hidden in his hands.

“Baby Doll only had one bootee. And the ribbons were blue,” I said.

Joe took a shuddering breath. “And Uncle Fred had a great bald patch on his front where she’d tried to shave him.”

I put a hand on his shoulder. “Maybe we should just accept that we’ll never know who took her or why. Maybe we should…start again.”

Joe’s shoulders shook, and I couldn’t tell if he was nodding in agreement or weeping.

Microfiction: Remains

This macabre photo is the prompt for the Friday Fictioneers this week. Thanks Rochelle! Word count 100.

There’s a second part here.



The house had been empty for years. We bought it through the lawyer who was disposing of the previous owners’ assets. They had gone, disappeared, leaving everything behind. There was a sadness about the house that I found attractive at first, and waited eagerly for spring when we could start attacking the overgrown garden.

Spring was late and cold. Frost clung to the north side of the house and the ground stayed hard and unyielding. It was there, much later in the year, after rain had softened the earth enough to turn it over, that we dug up the grave.

Microfiction challenge Moonlit night: the entries

Bit slow off the mark today with the round up, but it let one last entry slip in under the wire. I really enjoyed the stories this week. They explored the subjects of friendship and loyalty with great thoughtfulness, and I think it says something about your sensitivity that the dog was an important character in your stories.




JD’s Microfiction Challenge #24: Anya – Lorraine’s frilly freudian slip


Microfiction challenge #24: Moonlit night | Morpethroad


neelwrites/fiction/200wordstory/27/11/2016 | neelwritesblog

Lady Lee

Microfiction challenge #24: Moonlit night – Ladyleemanila


 Waiting For Iliya. | Ellenbest24


Jane Dougherty’s Microfiction Challenge : The slap and hush of the water – Word Shamble


On the backside of Time – REINVENTIONS BY REENA


The Memory River #microfiction | TanGental


Thoughts in the Moonlight: Microfiction | Yesterday and today: Merril’s historical musings


Postcard Fiction: What She Saw, Part 3 | method two madness



Moon Spill


They wouldn’t believe us

My feelings about the First World War were shaped not by stories handed down about grandfathers or grand uncles because the dead were dead and those who came back never wanted to talk about it, or by reading the war poets at school, but from seeing a performance of Oh! What A Lovely War when I was about fourteen. It broke my heart, and still does.

The opinion now seems to be that the commemoration of the Armistice should be to celebrate a race of heroes. We honour the sacrifice of a generation. The idea of the senseless tragedy, conniving national leaders, and incompetent generals, brilliantly put across in the play then the film of Oh! What a Lovely War, seems to have rather gone out of fashion.

This is the final sequence from it. If you don’t cry there’s something wrong with you.

Deirdre dreams

Sharing the same sort of thoughts as Jim Mackintosh.

Photo ©Stephen McKay

Rowan berries in the snow

Rubies’ gleam no more intense,

Cold pierces to the bone.

The raven spreads frost-stiffened wings,

Black plumes will feel the wind no more,

His hair swept back from snow-white brow.

Red drops, bright berries, ruby lips,

In a dream where passion cools like winter breath,

And happiness drifts and fades, December mist,

She touches with trembling finger,

Her love’s life blood,

And begins a life of winter weeping.

We learnt the news today

I had been intending to try another pantoum but didn’t think the occasion would arise so soon. On this third day of national mourning, we learnt from one of the children that the nineteen year-old cousin of her best friend was killed on Friday. This is for her.


We learnt the news today,

Another thread of sorrow,

There was nothing we could say,

We, who have tomorrow.


Another thread of sorrow,

Woven into a bloody sheet,

We, who have tomorrow,

So many suns left to greet.


Woven into a bloody sheet,

A life we never knew,

So many suns left to greet,

Gone where the wild geese flew.


A life we never knew,

In a young girl’s grieving face,

Gone where the wild geese flew,

Hoping for a kinder place.


In a young girl’s grieving face,

We learnt the news today,

Hoping for a kinder place,

There was nothing we could say.