Summer afternoon

Splitting one green stalk, then

threading through the next slim stem,

making a necklace, or a crown –

white petals tipped with pink, like shells,

or sunset clouds, or fingernails;

hot sun on my neck, legs stretched – grass tickling;

somewhere nearby a bird is singing.

Quadrille night! Our word is “crown” and the prompt is by De. Get over to dVerse to read the prompt and find more poems!

Letter to the ice sheets

We thought you were death –
a sterile sheet covering
a corpse. I mean, men went to you
to die, monsters leaping
from floe to floe, men failing,
flailing, calling themselves heroes.

Now we know, you are the hero –
your embrace contains
the oceans, your cold arms
brace against the deluge –
you are not separate, you are part
of the great pattern –

and we are grubby idiots,
poking our sticks at things
that we don’t understand,
tearing and breaking. We are
shattering the web, stuffing
shreds of foolishness
into our gaping pockets –

we watch the polar bear
swimming towards the ice –
swimming and swimming.
Oh, we say, oh, it’s too much –
too sad.
We turn our backs –
eat one more cake,
drink one more can,
buy one more t-shirt.

We leave the room,
leave on the lights

A poem for Sherry at earthweal.

West coast

The sea is blue –
as if all the blue
was made here
before the world was born

as if all the blue
flowed out of here –

summer sky
winter twilight
jay feather
gannet’s eye
old sapphires
chicory flowers

and that’s why we pause
we breathe in blue
we soak in it, float in it

we rest in it.

My offering for dVerse tonight. I’m hosting, and we’re looking at paintings by Fay Collins. Join us.

eroded coast iso400

Haibun: gratitude.

I started a gratitude journal a few weeks ago, at a time when it was hard to feel grateful. It’s gently morphed into something slightly different – this is the place where I write down the moments that make me stop and absorb. I’m grateful for those moments because for a breath, a pause, a heartbeat, I am taken out of myself. I forget myself.

What I realised a couple of days ago is that these are haiku moments. The moments we step outside of time, the moments we want to share with the universe.

an oak tree
a circle of gold
autumn ends

A haibun for Frank at dVerse. We are thinking about thankfulness in this Thanksgiving week.

Oatcakes. Stoke.

running down the backs –
for a dozen. One in the hand,
hot. And the comfortable heat

of the white paper parcel
pressed between arm and chest.

Did I mention the feel
of old cobbles, smoothed
by a million footsteps,
the hot, sour savoury smell,

the hiss of the griddle,
the warm knowing
that there would be melted cheese
waiting in a Pyrex dish

and Granny’s hands, big-knuckled,
turning bacon in the pan?

A poem about memories, for Laura Bloomsbury at dVerse.

Prosery: reaching the line


I’m running as fast as I can. Breathing hurts, everything hurts, but here is the line: I am bombarded yet I stand, just out of range. They can’t reach me now. The missiles fall short.

My comrades aren’t all so lucky. I count the ones who reach the line – three, nine, seventeen. That’s all that’s left of us. Eighteen, one with a ragged wound in his leg, one with blood pouring down her face.

We walk now, legs aching, longing for water and rest. We don’t even look behind, to where the castle is burning. Others will take over now, break through those walls, announce their triumph. They won’t mention us in their victory speeches. We have fire beneath our skins: we are the devil’s children. We’ll be kept hidden until we’re needed again.

One day we’ll burn everything. One day we’ll be free.

Merril is hosting a prosery night at dVerse tonight: 144 words of flash fiction, containing the key line. Tonight’s line is from Adrienne Rich’s ‘Planetarium’ : Here is the line: “I am bombarded, yet I stand”.