You are the rain – ghazal for dVerse III

I love you as the dry earth loves the rain
and your voice is as sweet as the sound of the rain

you have walked through the desert with me
your footsteps as soft as the gentle rain

you have nurtured me like a young tree
that turns its leaves to the touch of the rain

you have come to me through the darkness
the sound of thunder, the driving rain

you have filled the fruit on my boughs
with sweet juices for those who thirst for rain

you have softened the glare of the sun for me
gentled the heat like cooling rain

you have swept me down to the wide ocean
a river filled with the bounteous rain

you have washed the veil from this princess
and left her naked in the summer rain

So, I have given in to the ghazal and gone for the lushly romantic. Each stanza stands alone, I think, and together they create a flower with many petals. Or something like that. This is for the dVerse Form for All project for June, hosted by Gay. I’m linking up to the dVerse Open Link night, too.

Green memorial – haibun for dVerse.

We took the quieter path through the trees. It runs alongside an old canal, a memorial in itself to local people who carved it out of the steep hillside. We walked the old towpath – single person narrow – above the river and beside the canal itself, empty of water, but full of nettles, red campion, dog’s mercury. We stopped to read the names carved into the bark of a beech tree – Layla 7 years old Jack 4 years old. We wondered who they were; worked out they might be in their thirties now, with children of their own. We wondered who had carved this green memorial, and why. The beech tree kept its secret, even though the leaves were whispering all around us.

trees are green guardsmen

river water slow and silent

time blurs all our names.

I went on a poetry walking workshop on Sunday, with Chris from Poetry Pin. We walked, wrote poems, and pinned them to a virtual map, so that future poetry lovers can read them in the place they were written. Along the way we found a beech tree with these names carved into the bark. We wrote a poem there, so if you’re ever on the Tarka Trail, you can read it and connect with us on a wet Sunday in May.

This haibun commemorates that walk. It’s a memorial of a memorial, maybe. It’s written for Frank, who is hosting haibun night at dVerse tonight. It’s Veterans’ Day in the States, and we are asked to write about memorials.

World – ghazal for dVerse II

I went out to look at it, the great and glorious world,
And brought it home with me, and made an inner world.

I walked past a tree that danced with bees,
And brought the buzzing home into my golden world

The hedge was laced along its length with white,
Spindrifting on the sea in my wild world

The sky above my head was a grey pearl,
And the sheen lives on in my small, rounded world

The deer and I stood still and gazed
Eye meeting eye, both silent, in my quiet world

And now I sit, a princess in my tower,
And write the words that form my paper world.

My second ghazal. I’m struggling with the non-narrative nature of the form. I wouldn’t normally think of myself as a narrative poet, but I obviously am! This is for the dVerse Form for All prompt.

Rook – ghazal for dVerse I

Rook spreads his wings and takes to the sky-road,
for who else can say they are king of the sky-road?

Early morning, he rises from the highest branches,
calling his own name, king of the sky-road

Crowned in midnight, cloaked in darkness,
he is well-arrayed, the king of the sky-road,

as he rides the storm clouds, a black knight battling
the might of the wind, he is king of the sky-road,

with his wide-splayed wing tips, his black silk feathers,
he swallows the sunlight, this king of the sky-road,

and as the sun sets, he calls to his kingdom
“Good night, I am here, the king of the sky-road”

and the princess in me yearns to fly with him,
to see the last rays of sunlight, be queen of the sky-road.

Over the last few months, dVerse has been offering a “Form for All” prompt, looking at a series of different forms. This month we are looking at the ghazal, a repeating, associative form, quite different to a lot of “western” poetry. If you want to read a great introduction, check out yesterday’s dVerse prompt, where Gay Cannon is our guest host.

Regular readers may recognise some of the imagery in this poem. I find it helpful to get to know a form and see how things develop. This involves being quite playful with it, and exploring its strengths – and weaknesses. To help this process, I’m re-cycling some lines and images, and seeing how the different forms give a different overlay to a similar concept.

The last verse is my “signature” verse. I’m a Sarah, which means princess. We are supposed to weave a reference to our name, or use the name itself in that final stanza, so I’ve used “princess”.

Over the green edge

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Come away, then,
come with me,
over the green hedge
into the mystery –

there are beaches there
of shimmering pearls,
gathered each day
by smoke-eyed girls

and a woman who’ll
weave you a golden gown
of graveyard lichen
and thistledown;

there’s a castle built
of sunset clouds,
where the music is fast,
and sweet, and loud,

and you can dance there
all night, all day,
’til you dance your
childhood dreams away –

there are market stalls
selling bags of stars,
and berries that taste
like chocolate bars,

and horses as blue
as distant mist
who’ll ride you away
for a silver kiss

and you won’t come back
the same as you are,
for the world is big,
and the sky is far –

so come away now,
come with me,
over the green edge
into infinity.

I’m hosting at dVerse tonight, and I’m showcasing the art of Mary Frances. This poem is written for one of her tiny, found landscapes. You can see more on Twitter at @maryfrancesness, and the dVerse post will give you more links to see more of her wonderful work.

On the richness of the good earth – quadrille for dVerse II

Here the soil

is rich red,

rust red, blood –

so that where

the turf is torn away

it bleeds

like peeled flesh,

and each white flint

a shard of white bone

and that green grass

and those flowers

a veil of decency

over that nakedness.

The second quadrille of the night for me. The word is rich, the rule is 44 words, the host is Kim, and the prompt is up on dVerse.

Rich – quadrille for dVerse I

“That’s rich,” she mutters, “That’s rich” –

brooding on grievance, like a fat hen.

“That’s rich”, and switches off the telly,

folds the paper, lets the curtain drop.

All that richness sours her,

curdles her stomach, carves deep lines.

It doesn’t nourish her.

It’s quadrille night, 44 words, one of which is the prompt word. Tonight Kim is our dVerse host, and our word is “rich”. Lovely.

Being watched by rooks.

Hard to feel alone
when you live near rooks -
observed as you leave the house,
walk up the lane,
take in the washing;
watched as you weed
or read
or call the kids in
from the field
behind the house.

They must know
the pattern of our days,
our noisy neighbours -
must mention to each other
that we are busy now,
bustling, hustling,
chatting by the car.
They know our hours,
know when we head home,
stream in, gather
from school and work,
from walking the beach,

they must see
the pathways we carve
in the air around us.

Thinking about wood – for dVerse

So, lately I’ve been thinking about wood,
the way it ages. The way the beauty of it
is in the stubborness, the drive to growth,
the knottiness. I’ve been thinking
about how a tree holds its memories
on the inside, grows out and up,
reaching for the sky. I’ve been thinking
about beeswax: feeding the table,
attending to the scratched surface,
the scars we’ve made through living,
the stains that have gone deep,
deep into the wood, sunk under the surface.
I’ve been thinking about driftwood,
shaped by the sea, but keeping
its own essential twists and turns,
the smoothness of wood,
the splinters. I’ve been thinking
about the willow slips that sprout,
put out roots and leaves,
so determined to grow, to green.

Amaya is hosting at dVerse tonight, and we are thinking about traditional views of the elements that make us up as people – and the world, too, I guess. I don’t believe in astrology, doesn’t make sense to me, but I know a lot of people do. If you are interested, my zodiac sign is earth, my Chinese sign is fire -but my Chinese year is wood. I’ve also worked on the principle that everything you write is about yourself at some level. This is my meditation on wood.

25 July 2020 and I’m linking this up to earthweal, for the weekend open link invitation.