Walking with trees

dverse is looking at madness today. Not a condition I’m acquainted with, but mild depression is something most of us have experienced at one time or another.


There are days when only trees will do,

or the way the dead leaves lie so still beneath,

and the stream trickles by with its watery song.

Those days, birdsong is the only common sense,

and the flash of a wary creature almost seen

is to be treasured, a lifeline.

Days pass and nights full of stars sooth

and draw the eye away from the black holes

in the head into the glittering cradle of the sky.

But the day I dread is the day I raise my hand

to pluck a ripe fig, blackbird crashing in the hedge,

the sky full of swallows and I let it fall,

because not even this immensity is enough

to drive the stuttering engine one moment further.

#Three line tales: Remembrance

For Sonya’s Three Line Tales photo prompt. What a picture!

photo via Unsplash


Grandma Burke and Aunty Peg stare into their muddy memories, stirring up reproach and blame, while Cathy turns away and sobs, unable to cope with their notion of remembrance.

The old ones refuse to look at her or offer any words of comfort, and it’s Mam who cuts the cake, her face hard and judgmental too—as if she wouldn’t have prevented it had it been possible!

Mam digs in the knife, Grandma Burke turns her face away, and Cathy trembles uncontrollably—this would have been his ninth birthday.

Microfiction #writephoto: A lonely child

This short story is for Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt


The child stood on tiptoe to peer through the leaded panes, breathed on a diamond and drew a smiley face in the moisture. It was cold outside, and not much warmer inside. She shivered. The room was high and bare, like most of the castle rooms, but this was even barer than most and tiny, much higher than it was wide. There was nothing in it except a wooden chest pushed against a wall.

Perhaps because it was the only object in the room, perhaps because of some other attraction, the child approached and ran her fingers over the carved flowers and birds.

It’s a girl’s box, she thought, full of some girl’s things.

Pushing with both hands, she raised the lid. Cold air rushed out and around her, lifting the fine locks of hair about her face. With a sharp cry, she let the lid drop and backed up to the window and the light.

Her hair brushed the stone sill and she felt the cold touch of water on her neck. She cried out again and held out her hands to her mother who was hurrying across the silent stone flags.

“It’s nothing, silly,” her mother said, soothingly, glancing at the little puddles on the narrow ledge, “just a bit of rain water.”

But it isn’t raining.

She held her mother’s hand tightly, but only that hand was warm. Everything else was cold, and she felt unutterably sad. She turned in the doorway to look back at the lonely room, the box and the face drawn in the window glass. The smile had trickled and the eyes had run, and she heard, quite distinctly, the sound of weeping.

Microfiction challenge #6:The child

The theme word this week is


The image, by Else Berg could prompt a new chapter in your ongoing story or it could be a completely new one. If you really can’t see how it could fit into the story you have imagined, put it on hiatus. The real challenge would, of course, be to make the story take a turn that does fit this image in. There’s tremendous pathos in the painting, the child surrounded by toys, yet with such sadness in his eyes. I know my children hated being put in a pen and spent most of their time in it trying to climb out or tunnel under it. Could that be the explanation, or is there some more profound unhappiness?  Looking forward to seeing what you make of this one.

As usual, please post the link to your story in the comments before next Thursday. Happy writing!







So grey the cloud,

Sweeping the grass with ephemeral diamonds,

While flocking gulls sweep the river,

Calling to lost souls.

So heavy hangs the sky, so dull,

Fumbling with gentle fingers,

Consolation dropping slow and damp.

No colour left of autumn in the leaves,

And crows bob, black and sleek,

Amid the scattered cloud-wealth.

But there is beauty in the hues that cloak the skies,

Changing with the winds, the rising of the tides,

Every black and brittle tree has its robin,

Every bitter day its ending.

I remember


I remember
That stick behind my eyes
Like broken glass
Sharp and vicious
As the day they were made.
I see
My coffee
Going cold
Beneath its spiral of froth
And your face
The absence in your eyes
Already thinking of something else.
I hear
Not looking
Eyes fixed on the frothy spiral
Your footsteps
And the closing door.
I remember
Only fragments
The whole
The happiness and the hurt
The awful waste of a love
Would drown me
In a sea of sorrow.