Going down to the bay

It’s just a short hike from the car, and then a scramble down the cliff path. It’s slippery, and overgrown – you have to clutch at branches to help you down, and you have to take it easy. There are the traces of old steps, and a place where someone’s set a rope to help you. Keep going. Be careful.

The bay itself faces due west, and curves like a hug. It’s a beach of rounded stones, mostly grey, some with quartz lines running through them. Today there are seals watching us curiously, sleek and shiny in the water. We stretch and breathe.

land creatures
drawn to the blue water
seal looks back

A haibun for Frank at dVerse


I element

Yesterday, I earthed –
felt that warm dark power
come up through my feet,
the weird and wriggling life,
the blood strength of mud
and leaf-mold and worms.
I tendrilled, I shooted,
I rooted

Today, I’m skying
letting the wild winds
open my skin,
my lungs opening like rain,
my arms winging,
my body clouding and billowing,
all surge and flow.

Tomorrow, I may fire.

Bjorn is hosting at dVerse tonight, and asks us to verb.

Storms and rainbows are quite different things

Rainbows need sun and softness, ambiguity,
but here the storms come raging in from the west,
flash floods and the shrill sound of car alarms,
and the trees whipping back and forth –
and we name them – why do we name them? –
Ellen, who always sang alone, that pure voice,
passing it on to Francis, like the pope,
who seemed so nice, we liked him, then
he hit a woman, back at the start
of this mad year of fires and fevers.

You show me the shape of the storm,
but I can’t feel the logic of it, just the wind,
and the noise, and the utter darkness,
and half an hour ago it was still,
and now the wind is winding up again,
and what can we do? Gather up windfalls,
check the fences, close the windows,
breathe these small spaces. Wait.

For Brendan at Earthweal. Check it out.

Walking at the edge

In this summer of long walks and silences,
closeness and distancing,
small explorations – we pick our way along
the very edges of the field, through thistles,
and green grass, where the wheat
peters out, and small flowers,
bright in the sunlight.
We’re good visitors. We walk the margins,
respect John Barleycorn.

I like the smell,
the raw green smell of wheat,
and the colour, green edging
into gold – sun-warmed, sun-bleached,
sun-fed, sun-ripened, taking us
joyfully and inevitably into autumn;
and I like the sound, small waves
rolling rolling, and I like the movement
of the wind sweeping the heavy-headed wheat,
the ripple of it – water, silk, fur.

I like the life in it.

Rosemarie Gonzales is hosting at dVerse tonight, and we are exploring wheat.

The Leap

I have a poem in this month’s issue of Visual Verse, in which writers have been inspired by an image by Andi Sapey and Other Dance Art. I’m in great company again, with poets such as Misky Braendeholm and Sarah Connor. You can find my poem on page 22 of Visual Verse Volume 7 Chapter […]

The Leap

We are drawn to saltwater

Some grandmother of mine once
raised her eyes to this horizon.
Not this one, no. A bluer one, a greener,
but she saw the weather coming in,
great storm clouds, brown as bruises,
waded to shore, gathered her children.
Tucked in out of the rain, she told the story
of the storm, the fish, the limpet.

That’s how we began. We built the world
from sand and seashells, coloured it
with words, wove ourselves cloaks of myth.

So, yes, I’m called here – my chest
opens at the smell of seaweed,
saltwater echoes in my veins,
my heart the moon. Yes, I look out
to the horizon, watch for weather,
yes, I’m lulled by wavesong,
yes, in this untamed place
unmappable, unclaimable,
I map myself, I claim my own breath. Yes.

Sherry is hosting at earthweal this week and asks us to write about the wild places that we connect to.

Fate – prosery for dVerse

They work in a cottage on the mountainside. Granny spins, Mamma weaves, Daughter trims the threads. The tapestry they make is full of stories – golden adventures, scarlet passions, grey tragedies.

Sometimes Daughter, distracted by a bird at the window, misses a chance to trim. Granny shakes her head. Or Daughter pleads for more of the story, for a thread to be left untrimmed. Usually, Mamma says “No”.

When it is over, said and done, it was a time, and there was never enough of it.

But sometimes, Granny thinks of a woman crying over a child’s body, a man clinging to his brother’s hand…

“Leave it” she might say, if her tea has been just right, or birdsong has touched her.

Down in the city, a child’s fever breaks. A man opens his eyes. A woman steps back onto the pavement.

Merril is hosting at dVerse,and it’s Prosery time – 144 words of prose, incorporationg a quotation from a poem. Merril has given us:

“when it is over said and done

it was a time

                  and there was never enough of it.”

 –Allison Adelle Hedge Coke, “A Time”


Sometimes thinking hurts your head

Turns out a cloud’s a verb –
constantly coming into being,
and where does your skin end?
What’s the edge of anything?
Birds moult.
All these things – straight lines –
turns out they’re spirals –
things are twistier than you thought –
everything’s part of everything,
the air’s opaque,
the earth moves,
the leaves are starting to turn –
to change their colour-
time sweeps on.
There are stones in the river
sudden humps and hollows,
but we can’t see them,
and the air’s a landscape,
hills and valleys,
everything’s going all the time,
everything’s coming,
there’s no place to just stand.

A stream of consciousness for Grace at dVerse.

My midnight garden

My midnight garden
has a lavender shimmer
jasmine-flower stars –
and candles that glimmer –

see fluttering bats
and moths agleam
as the scent of roses
inspires sweet dreams –

the moon swings low
and the moon swings high
in a silver swing
made from lullabies

Victoria is back! Guest hosting at dVerse,where it’s quadrille night. Tonight we’re quadrilling about gardens.