Haibun for spring thoughts


I couldn’t sleep again last night, too many thoughts and problems to be solved or not, out of my hands. I worried that I had not seen a single hare this early spring around the house, racing, boxing through the grass. So I put on boots and walked the course of stream and ditch, searched for signs that we are not alone.

There were tracks of deer and badger, marsh beaver, hedgehog, squirrel and fox. Holes dug in bank and earth, new homes or just grubbing for food. I walked the nursery; the new trees are thriving, ninety now—we need a thousand more to make a difference. Good signs. Perhaps there will be hares when the sun returns.

grey sky still the day

though nights are full of moon

I wish I could see the magic hares

racing beneath the stars

careless and wild

Above our heads


Above our heads the bright stars wheel,

our hearts’ wish steal,

and toss the husk

into the dusk.


The setting sun pours fire-red beams

in liquid streams—

our eyes closed tight

against the light.


In silhouette against the night

we, burning bright

and side by side

will turn the tide.

I thought I saw you

A twitter poem sequence


I thought I saw you smiling

in the deep water,

your eyes bright pearls of laughter.

I dived so deep

the night grew round me,

and moonlight barred my way.

I dived so deep,

but all I found was starlight

shining on fishscales.


I thought I found a perfect pearl

glowing in the sky

I plucked it from the night for you

but when I turned,

hands and eyes full of light,

you had gone,

and the dark was soft with owl’s wings.


I thought I heard your heart beat

amid the whispering of the rain,

but only the wind in the sedge replied,

Love dies, the stars remain.



Breaking ice

Twitter poem sequence.


Bound about by freezing fog,

captive in a sea of ice,

I reach out to the sharpest star,

round my fingers wind its hair,

feel its glitter in my blood,

shower you with wishes.


Breaking the ice,

fateful stars look down,

shards of glitter

in the dark water.

Cold the earth, the sea,

in winter’s grip,

warm, your hand

in mine.


Seas of stars

roll above the winter night,

too far, too bright

to feel the cold,

basking in moonlight,

patiently waiting

for our dreams,

the colour of yearning,

tingling with the taste of summer honey,

to spread their scarlet wings

and take flight.


I went out walking when the night

was drawing in its coal black horns,

and grey as pale as winter cloud

was colouring the eastern sky.


I went out walking in the cold,

because the night had grown too old,

and birds were stirring, why not I?


I walked to where the river runs

beneath the bridge of golden stone,

and waited for the sun to rise

and broider lights of petal rose

among my thoughts gun metal dull.


I touched the wind, its biting breath

and tasted salt in every word,

I sang a song so silently

that only early sea gulls heard,

and they had little time for me.


At this ending of the year,

I catch the tail of falling stars

of leaves and plumes, fox flash of red,

and with a paintbrush wand I spread

the rainbow hues of light and life

and turn my back on all that’s dead.

Where stars unstick and fall

Another illustration from the book, ‘The Story of the Sun, the Moon and the Stars’ inspired this cascade poem. My eyes are still full of the night sky of the countryside, so full of stars there’s hardly any darkness.


To go where stars unstick and fall,

And catch a fragment in the hand,

Star horses in celestial fields.


Into the night without a light,

I swoop and soar a rocket ship,

To go where stars unstick and fall.


My dearest wish to catch the tails,

Of comets shooting through the void

And catch a fragment in the hand.


Burning bright, the sky’s alight,

With falling stars of splendid dreams,

Star horses in celestial fields.


The Daily Post prompt is: fence


At the edge of the field,

a stout fence holds back

the woods full of whispers

and wild meadow grass,

where roses climb rampant

full of flowers and thorns,

amid the trickle of water

and rustle of birds.

It holds back the life

that’s lived in the shade

and the dreams that would fly

over poppy and corn.

It bars the bright sky

with its straight black posts,

where my face presses close

to peer between.

Sky full of promise,

free and high,

I reach out my hand

to the songbirds that fly.

I hold up my face

to catch the last light,

but the sun streams away

to the depths of the night.

Flash Fiction: Catherine Wheels

This piece was written for Ronovan’s Friday Fiction writing challenge. The subject this week is ‘A friend shows up.’


She sat at a window table, not because she was particularly interested in what was going on outside, but because it gave her somewhere to look that wasn’t at the other customers in the café. Her coffee settled. The foamy swirl slowed and stopped. The steam blew away. She stirred it again absent-mindedly, just to set the Catherine wheel going again. Sound flaked off the walls, ran down the window glass, and she retreated into the tiny bubbles in the coffee foam. Round and round. Like her thoughts. His face, black as thunder, turning away, his back, the door closing. His face, black as thunder, turning away…

“Jen! It is you.”

She looked up, startled.

“Do you mind if I…?”

He didn’t wait for an answer, slid into the seat opposite, leaned his arms on the table.

“Dan…” The greeting failed, a damp squib. She didn’t know what to say. He reached out a hand to hers. She flinched and laid her hands in her lap. This was what she had longed for for so long, she couldn’t bear it. Through all the years of tears and fights and sullen silences she had wished that Dan would come and take her away from the stupid trap she had let herself fall into. She glanced at his face. The eyes were the same. She flinched again. Bright as sapphires. They shot sparks.

“How are you?” he asked. “I heard about—”

“I’m fine,” she said quickly and gave her coffee another stir. Mangled sounds crackled and spluttered, cracked and flaked, dripped and pooled on the floor.

“Sure you are,” he said, with a sad smile. “Leaving him was the best thing you ever did.”

She looked up sharply. It hadn’t been like that. She had clung to him as if she would break into a million pieces if he left. Dan was just trying to make her feel better.

“If you like…if you don’t mind, we could go for a meal somewhere. Talk over old times. Maybe pick up where we left off.”

His eyes were earnest, eager, but the sapphire glitter prevented her telling if he was sincere. She so wanted to reach over and take his hand, tell him she’d been dreaming of this meeting for years, cried herself to sleep over the possibility that he might get in touch. Behind his head she could almost see the falling glitter of fireworks.

He looked at his watch and frowned. “I have to go. Think about what I said. Call me when you’re ready.”

He pushed a business card across the table, and with a last smile, turned to leave.

The rattle of cups and plates was deafening. Bright flashing light, sun on car windows maybe, blinded her, and he was gone. She looked at the card. Yellowed. The number was odd yet familiar. It was one of the old eight digit numbers. It was ten years at least since they had been changed.

Tears dropped into the stationary Catherine wheel of coffee foam. It was fifteen years since Dan had been killed in a car accident. Fifteen years that her life had been running along the wrong road, a rocket that never took off. They hadn’t had time to know one another. He had never even told her he loved her. She stirred the coffee again, listening to the sounds dripping off the walls. Flaking. She would never hear those words spoken with his voice. Only in her dreams.

The sun, the moon, and the stars

Four short poems on a common theme.


Sorrow empties the world

of the vibrancy of colour,

dousing the sun’s fire,

washing greens and blues,

with an eternity of rain.


Once the earth moved for us,

the sun stood still,

and the moon and stars

swam in our eyes.

Now the ground trembles

with the violence

of the slamming door.


You made a vow beneath the stars,

That you would never leave.

Now I hold out empty hands,

To catch those stars and grieve.

Falling, they fade and die,

Falling, I wish that I could fly.


Stars fall,

the moon spins,

the sun cools,

the earth dies,

and in the cradle of the universe,

new galaxies are rocked

by soothing cosmic winds.