Stars, night, water – for Jane Dougherty

The moon reaches down and she kisses the face of the water,
And stars shimmer clear in the indigo depths of the lake.
My heart is an owl that’s as silent as midnight in winter,
I am waiting to wrap you in moonlight and starlight and dark

My heart’s a wild hare that runs swift down the lane in the moonlight,
And I long for the touch of your eyes and the kiss of your skin.
And the sky is a tent that is hung round with velvet and diamonds,
And the meadow is softer than pillows and sweeter than sin.

The fox walks the night in a whisper of hunter and hunted,
The moths fly like ghosts of their sisters who dance in the sun
The night holds the sound of your steps as you walk down the garden,
I am waiting, my heart is a flame that is burning within.


This was written for Jane Dougherty’s poetry challenge. She’s looking for metre. These seem like terribly long lines to me, but when I read them out loud I can definitely hear the rhythm there, which is what I was after. 


More moons…

Plump grandmother moon
Light your lamp
Lead me through the dark

Skinny sister moon
Take my hand
Whisper dreams to me

Silver mother moon
Wolf call, owl
Cry, your lullaby.

Lunes – syllable count 5-3-5 – seem appropriate here.
Grace is overseeing dVerse and a series of moon inspired offerings…if you can find your way there this dark night…

The Moon – for Dverse

She might bring eggs

Or flowers. Or

Come trailing wolves;

Tiptoeing milk

Maid or striding

Golden hunter.

She might double

Your money, or

Leave you raving,

Wits whisked away.

She might lead you

Home, bobbing by

Your side, like a

Silver bubble.


This is a poem for dVerse. I love the different names of the full moon through the year, though we only really remember the harvest moon these days.

Leaves – quadrille for Dverse

She leaves notes, scattered,
Haphazard, or tucked
In unexpected places.
She counts the swallows
Gathering on the wires,
Numbers the sloes turning
Midnight in the hedgerows,
Doodles webs in the
World’s margins. And each note
In her fading hand says, simply,
“Autumn is coming”.



This is a quadrille for Dee at Dverse. The magic word is “leaves”.

The Golden City – finishing the story for Leara

Leara asks us to finish her story “The Golden City”, written for a previous microfiction challenge by Jane Dougherty. You can find the start of the story at the link. This is my ending:

The Golden City is beautiful, but its inhabitants are strange. They are too pale, too slim, and their voices resonate differently. I don’t understand their language, but I’m being educated. I feel I don’t fit here any more than I fitted in the village I grew up in. Here I am too heavy, move too slowly. I feel ugly and ungainly.

After being taught to speak with them, I find out they are afraid. Their children are dying. Nobody understands why. I realise I have noticed that – there are no children of my age, only adults and babies. Apparently when they start to walk and talk, they start to fade away and die.

Their scientists want to study me. What makes me different? Immune? They probe me, sample my blood, shine different coloured lights on me, put me through strange devices. I tolerate it all. These are my people, these celestial beings. I want to help them.

They come to me, with tears in their eyes. They don’t want to harm me, but they need my blood to feed their fading children, to save them. My blood will give them the immunity they need. They cannot let me leave this room – I am too precious. They will keep me here for ever, held in this machine, safe, sleeping, kept alive through all eternity.

This is my destiny.

Who Goes There? – microfiction for Jane Dougherty

It was the footsteps she couldn’t bear. Every night, she heard them, coming closer in the darkness. She counted each step as they climbed the staircase, held her breath as they paused outside her room, then counted again as they climbed the stairs to the next floor, growing fainter and fainter.

That was all. No other sounds. Yet somehow she knew they were the sound of something dark and malevolent, something that sought to destroy her.

She had never heard them by day before. Last night she’d lain awake for hours, unable to sleep, dark fears running through her mind. She’d woken late, dressed herself with fumbling fingers, swallowed nothing but weak tea for breakfast. She’d taken herself back to her room to find the handkerchiefs she was hemming, ready to sit in silence in the over furnished parlour, keeping her eyes on her work and her fingers busy.

As she picked up her needle-case, she dropped her thimble, and fell to her knees to retrieve it from under the bed. As she knelt there, she heard the footsteps again, their steady pace counting out each step. She began to tremble, and buried her face in the bedclothes. She listened for the pause on the landing – longer than ever before.

And then the door slowly opened.

This is a microfiction for Jane Dougherty. She’s offering the title and this image by Adriano Cecioni as a starting point. 

Rosie Gamgee – for D’verse

He came back older, leaner, both of those;
And harder, too, as if he’d been through
Some great fire and had a softness
Burned from him.
Not that he’s hard.
You couldn’t find a gentler, kinder man –
And well respected! Why, he’s walked with kings,
Not that you’d know it.

Not hardness, then, but maybe something else,
The feeling that the world is small and safe?
Is that the thing he lost?

He doesn’t talk, though, of that journey
And the things he saw. And did.
The others do –
They laugh and joke about it all. Not him.
And when his master left? I know he would have gone,
If he’d been asked. I know it tore him up.

But he came back to us. To me.
I keep him safe. What can I do? I cannot share
The story that he carries in his heart.

But I stand by him when his gaze grows long
And I know that he’s seeing mountains, monsters, flames;
And I am there, those nights he shouts out in his dreams,
And then I hold him, keep him close,
Wrapped in my strong, warm arms.



Lord of the Rings is a big thing in our house. I’ve always had a very soft spot for Sam Gamgee, who comes home after his adventures and settles down with Rosie Cotton. It’s a happy marriage, but he’s not the hobbit he was when he set out – he’s grown in many different ways. I suspect it can’t always be easy to love a hero. Over at D’verse, Kim is keeping bar for the very first time and has asked us to write about spouses of famous fictional or non-fictional characters.

Sky haibun for D’verse

West Cork sunsets 2015 001All day, we’ve watched the sky, as if it were some ancient god, powerful and unpredictable. At lunch time great purple storm clouds boiled up from the west, but by mid afternoon the sky was clear, bright blue – like a gannet’s mad eye – scattered with wisps of white gauze. Right now, there are deep grey clouds rolling down almost to the horizon, opaque and ominous, but below them there’s a band of duck egg blue, like an angel’s robe. Swallows are flying high, a hopeful sign, weaving a complex sigil – warp and weft – across the darkening evening sky.

Dart and dance, swallow,
Call up a shimmering sky,
Weave a blue morning.

A haibun for Kanzensakura, over at D’verse
. She’s keeping bar there, and she’ll explain exactly how to write a haibun – not something you get from most bar tenders around here!