Piece in Visual Verse

Thank you VV for publishing this piece of prose.


Today, the sun

Another sparrowlet for dverse.
Painting by Franz Marc

Today, the sun

Another time, another place,
another star system in space,
perhaps a green bank of wild thyme,
or just another dark disgrace,
another case of human crime,
another place, another time.

Testing waters, digging in deep,
while shells rain down and murder sleep,
huddle with your sons and daughters.
The wide world over mothers weep,
listening to lies and mortars,
digging in deep, testing waters.

Today the sun shines bright and clear,
the only sound that I can hear,
the birds, that sing the day begun,
remind me I have none to fear,
for my world, that is not undone,
shines bright and clear. Today, the sun.

Waiting for the rain

Painting by Marianne Von Werefkin

Waiting for the rain

Wind’s from the west with its cargo of clouds;
I wonder which borders it will cross,
which sky it will find closed.

Butterflies test spring wings,
leaves uncurl, and the silence
is the wild rattle of woodpeckers,

while somewhere beyond the sheep field,
east, where the clouds are heading,
shells not raindrops are falling.


I sent in three poems in response to the Ekphrastic Challenge, this painting by Ismael Nery. None was published, but please take a look at the chosen pieces. Kerfe has a poem that is instantly recognisable as hers.


In the dark
in the light
the men march

faces forward
or profiled in moonlight
all the same

and I feel the cold
of open graves
when they pass

hoping they won’t see
the slight form in the shadows
that is me

hoping the blank stare
that offers no hope
no justice no pity

will find another.
I’ll look away
half-life better than none.

These days
this war
there are no heroes
not anymore.


Photo©Andrew Hill
The poppy has become the emblem of the British war dead, the cornflower (bleuet) is the emblem of the French.


There were poppies once
along the bank beneath the hedge,
they cut them down,
the poppies and the blackthorn too
to make it easier for machines
to mow and plough, and all the red
ephemera a memory.

We used to know once why we wept,
and why we praised the countless dead,
those young men who will not grow old,
whose bones lie cold.

Cut down like poppies on the bank ,
they died like heroes in the mud,
so we could start another war
and kill so many millions more.

Red poppies used to grow, they say,
but progress blew them all away.

Poem in Visual Verse


My poem in response to this photo is published in Visual Verse today. You can read my poem here and you can read all the poems published so far here.

On the day that Oradour-sur-Glane is back in the news again, the thoughts I had seem timely.

You can read here about why the entire village of Oradour is a memorial to the Nazi barbarity, and why the defacing of the memorial plaques with pro-Fascist inscriptions makes me feel so sick.

Another world, same war

Kerfe introduced us to a German artist, H. Schlagen with her Saturday visit to the Oracle, and his painting of a consultation of Oracles. Another of his paintings, im hyperraum inspired this cascade poem.

You can see the painting here.


Honour treads heavy in our hearts,

lift them high and sing the songs;

blood and bone were made for this.


Hear the soldier songs your father sung

and taste the rats and bloody mud;

honour treads heavy in our hearts,


so wear with pride his medalled scars,

remember all his hatreds deep,

lift them high and sing the songs.


I see my own dead face, not Father’s agony!

His pride, his war is yours, my son,

your blood and bones were made for this.


Flying to Byzantium and beyond

I liked the image for the last Ekphrastic prompt and wrote several poems to it. You can read the selected poems here. This is one of my (unsuccessful) contributions.

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There are fish in the sea that fly on silver fins

and birds in the air that swim with sea-smooth wings.


There is gold in the light and silver in the night

and green weed, a forest in deep water.


There are banners in the wind that call to prayer

and prayers in the wind that call to the banners.


Fish, birds, sunlight gold and streaming weed dance

on the blackberry path, for they know not what they do,


unlike the wind that waves the banners that point the

way to the black oil-slicked darkness at the world’s end.


On Saturday, the Ekphrastic Review published a short piece of mine based on this painting, Schöpfungsgeschichte II  (Creation Story) by Franz Marc. He painted it in 1914. By 1916 he was dead, killed by a shell at the battle of Verdun.

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Thank you Ekphrastic for giving my poetry and prose a home with a window.

You can read it here