Rain falls in the night – tanka for dVerse

Night rain

I had forgotten

your voice

yet here you are

like an old friend

A tanka for Frank, who is hosting at dVerse tonight. We are celebrating National Tanka Month, and looking at 3 Japanese 5 line forms. Frank gives a straightforward explanation on his dVerse post. I’ve written many haiku, but this is my first tanka.

There are always doorways

I’ve crossed some thresholds
with a blood libation,
some with music and champagne.
I’ve slipped through some

I’ve stepped with confidence
from one warm room
into a maze carved out of ice,
myself caught behind thick glass,
watching one world,
part of another,
coldness becoming part of me –

and then I’ve passed
from wilderness to pastureland,
missing the gateway,
my eyes fixed too far in the distance.

I’ve lost charms, and I’ve found them.
I’ve stepped through mighty doorways
carved with old gods and scenes of
metamorphosis – and found myself
unchanged, and waiting for me –
opened bland doors into bland rooms
scented with pain and kindness –

I have learned
that each breath is a step,
and the pathway clear sometimes,
and sometimes hard to trace

For Anmol at dVerse, who asks us to think about portals. 

What a fix!

I mixed a bit of Fix-it

to fix a pesky hole.

The Fix-it fixed my fingers

to the Fix-it in the bowl.

So if you mix up Fix-it

I suggest you use a stick:

if you stick your stick to Fix-it,

so what?


A very silly poem for De – WhimsyGizmo – who is hosting at dVerse tonight. See if you can guess what the word is.

Return to Valmain

“Take me to Valmain”, she sighed
“For I was young there, and my feet took wing
I was a lady of La Reine des Glaces
And danced in honour of the Autumn King.

And we drank fine Shiraz from crystal globes
And stepped it back and forth ’til it was morn
And all the lamps in Valmain shone so clear,
The birds sang, thinking it was dawn”.

“Alas, Valmain is silent now”, I said,
“And all the lamps that lighted it are dim
There are no rustling skirts or dancing girls,
But the wild birds still sing”

“Then I shall travel to Valmain alone
And see if what you say has come to pass,
And if Valmain is dead, I shall die too –
The last true lady of La Reine des Glaces”.

I’m hosting at dVerse tonight, and asking you to be inspired by the names of heritage vegetables. Strange but true.

How they kill the city.

They silence him, but his shadow shouts on – a nightmare scream that fills the room, echoes down the corridors. They shut the door, but the scream spills under it. They brick up the doorway, plaster over it, so that you’d never know the room was there, but the scream remains.

They leave the house. Ivy grows over the walls, blocks the windows, but the scream continues. They bulldoze the damn house, but still the scream is there. People move away. The street empties. No-one can live there.

The neighbourhood thins out. Empty houses can’t be filled. The scream just spreads, filling the whole city. It won’t be drowned by sirens, car horns, piped music. People leave their homes, their jobs – relocate.  The scream is alone, echoing down silent streets of boarded-up shops, empty apartment buildings. Dandelions split the tarmac.

Bjorn is hosting prosery night at dVerse. It’s our only prose prompt – 144 words, including a line from a poem. Tonight’s line comes from Maya Angelou’s Caged Bird: “his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream”. 

Encounter with a fox

A dog fox                          crossing the patch of green
our gazes meet                I am observed
for a moment                   black eyes shining
unruffled                          from the hedge
-I am, I am-                       a bird calls
each predator                  singing its own existence
each prey                          singing of life

Frank Hubeny is hosting at dVersetonight. He suggests a “double 7” poem – 14 lines. He’s using a sonnet form, but it’s not obligatory. I’ve done one of those split poems – 3 poems for the price of one. That’s good value.


Sometimes I fly away,
take a perch on a high branch,
a telegraph pole,
look out.

I turn my back
on the messy brood.

Someone’s speaking in halting Italian,
there are wargames and workouts
and sudden bursts of laughter
and the smell of baking
and someone wanders in to chat
and I love it. I’m treasuring these days –
these impossible, improbable,
unexpected days of closeness
that have landed in a time of gentle
distancing. We’re watching movies,
making bread, and talking talking talking.

Sometimes I fly away,
find a high place,
watch the sky.

A poem about solitude in lockdown, for Bjorn at dVerse. 

All I remember of Urbino

The stone was parchment coloured
and the shade was clean sliced blue tinted
and we ate pasta in a quiet square
as if we’d never eaten it before,
as if we were a painting of the first
people to eat pasta. We were art,
and we drank wine, impossible,
clear as sunlight, clean as water,
and the afternoon strolled by,
pausing to watch us, framed there.

Lillian is hosting us at dVerse. She’s in lockdown and she wants to travel the world on our words. In our house, we’ve been thinking about Italy. A lot.