March 17

March 17

This was a day of blue and green,
wind across the meadow rustled
stalks and thrushes,
feathers ruffled.

Wind across the meadow rustled
unsteady shoots, bold
grass green

stalks, and thrushes
leapt skyward,

feathers ruffled,


Maths poetry

Paul Brookes’ chosen form last week was maths poetry in its different manifestations. Using a straightforward sequence of 1, 1, 2, 5, 8, 13 etc words or syllables doesn’t appeal to me much, but I had already been impressed with Marian Christie’s poem that merged the ideas behind Fibonacci sequence poetry and the trimeric, in particular the tide-like back and forth of the lines, overstitching, until the words ebb away completely. It gives a purpose to the diminishing (or increasing) length of the lines, an effect you don’t get with forms like the nonet that simply count syllables. I have written quite a few poems using this idea, and find it almost hypnotic.

The hares are running

The hares are running in the meadow again,
boxing for joy, for spring,
among new daffodils,
bending in

boxing for joy, for spring
is stirring blood,
wild and

Among new daffodils,
long ears

bending in


The tritina is a form I’ve used before and hadn’t considered it as mathematical in any way, but that probably just reflects my ignorance of maths. The repeated end words, I found, risk creating a rather forced effect, particularly as the last word of one stanza is repeated in the first line of the following one. Also, the use of all three end words in the last line is hard to manage without it sounding like an afterthought or a make-weight. I’m certain it’s possible to write a good poem using this form. It’s a challenge, but that’s what we’re here for.

These winter days

These winter days are never silent
never still with flocks of homing birds
and trees that rustle handfuls of dead leaves.

These winter nights enrobe the rustling leaves
with hoar frost crisp as ice and silent
as the unseen swooping wings of night birds.

I hear them calling in the dark, the birds
that hunt the night fields. Filtered through the leaves,
moonlight streams, silver as the sea and silent,

but no birds stir the leaves in this silent moonlight.

Shooting stars and daffodils

Shooting stars and daffodils

Cold still bites these hesitant spring days,
shooting with gold, uncontained,
unafraid of frosty nights,
while I, behind closed window, watch the stars,

shooting with gold uncontained,
falling to fill dark pools with light.
We count them shimmering,

unafraid of frosty nights,
for daffodil days will spring with the thrush,
singing the sun awake,

while I, behind closed window, watch the stars
fading, first east then west, and last,
the ice-caught orphans in frozen well water.

Night walkers

Painting by Niko Pirosmani.

Night walkers

Beauty walks night times,
stalks the dark meadow,
fur, feather and uneasy sleep.
Moonlight blurs the quick shadows,

stalks the dark meadow,
orchid-faced and burrowed,
nested with new hares.

Fur, feather and uneasy sleep
fill the hedges. Leaves in the wind,
hearts flutter, fearful, for

moonlight blurs the quick shadows
of this ungentle night,
where death walks in silent beauty.


This was the form Paul Brookes chose last week. The structure of the trimeric is simple, three of the four lines of the first stanza repeated in a cascade, heading each successive stanza. Trimeric poems tend to be short and imagist (as in my first poem), but there’s no reason why they can’t be denser (second poem). I enjoyed this form and will probably use it again.

January, early morning

Night is over,
light frozen at grey dawn,
a stopped clock,
its mechanism rusted.

Light frozen at grey dawn
hangs in mist wreaths
over frozen puddles,

a stopped clock
in a silent room, where
ash fills the hearth.

Its mechanism rusted,
this year grinds on,
drenched in fog.

Turn of the year

The world grinds on its hinges
with the rusty creak of rainswept trees,
black and dripping with winter,
and birds sing to ward against the cold.

With the rusty creak of windswept trees,
rain-light ruffles feathers,
ships tossed on stormy seas,

black and dripping with winter.
Horizons close, veiled in water,
endless tracts of grey,

and birds sing to ward against the cold,
to spell spring’s return and
ease the earth’s rumbling course.

Hedge in autumn

Hedge in autumn

The hedge was dense and green through summer,
and at the end hung with red and black,
luscious gemmed and fluttering with wings
when soft-voiced birds flit, feasting.

And at the end, hung with red and black,
the sumptuous banners of a forgotten king,
blackberried and spiked, autumn builds its ramparts,

luscious-gemmed and fluttering with wings.
Turning vines drape purple grapes in gold leaf,
hand-prints across the green of oak and elm.

When soft-voiced birds flit, feasting
on hips and haws and plump purple,
I know the winter king will soon be holding court.

In the kitchen

In the kitchen

In the kitchen, music fills the room
from wall to wall.
Outside dusk deepens;
first owls call.

From wall to wall,
echoes of a farewell, back and forth,
until each shining spoon
is full of sadness.

Outside the dusk deepens,
and silence settles like a pall,
a coat of dust, mouse-patterned,
while fox questions from beneath the hedge,

first owls call,
and in the kitchen the music plays
to an empty room,
and I put away the shining spoons.

Sun rising

Sun rises with feathered wings,
beating the silent clouds to wisps of spun sugar.
Pursed lips blow them away
into the deep dark of the west.

Beating the silent clouds to wisps of spun sugar,
the restless wind churns the treetops,
scattering pigeons and morning green-gold;

pursed lips blow them away.
This day will grow with the butterflies,
and the scent of honeysuckle will spill

into the deep dark of the west,
where memories of night linger, and the winter
I hear pacing beneath the horizon.

Storm breaks

Storms have lapped up the summer.
The dull-billowed Atlantic rolls overhead,
while earthfire sinks deep among roots,
yet still the butterflies dance.

The dull-billowed Atlantic rolls overhead
grey as pigeons, and running rabbits listen
to the rumbling deep in its diaphanous throat
that says, the season is turning, burning,

while earthfire sinks deep among roots,
and even we feel the cool coming, then the cold.
Burrows yawn where the dogs know,
and whiskers tremble, remembering.

Yet still the butterflies dance
among flowers, stalks, and, braving the deluge,
bees gather while they may, before the next storm
breaks the wheel of the year.