Foundling

We found her wandering
hazel twig in one hand
feet bare and bleeding –

she wouldn’t speak
her lips were stained
with juice, her fingers, too –

lucky to be lost
in berry season
we said. Lucky.

She was afraid of us.
We offered bread. She ate it,
never looking away from us,
like a wren, like a dog
that had learned to be wary.

She never smiled.

We took her home with us,
to the fireside, and clothes
that were more than rags,
and bread to be kneaded
and floors to be swept
and butter to be churned

but still she held herself
like a deer, waiting to leap –
like a hare, quivering
in her stillness,
like a bird half-tamed.

For Laura at dVerse – a poem of finding – initially inspired by Pablo Neruda’s poem Lost in the Forest.

Autumn

The trees catch fire –
flames flicker in the wind –
gold and red and amber –
and then the nakedness
of branches, ash-grey
against an ash-white sky
and deep deep down
embers are waiting
for a single breath
to leap up fresh and new –
green flames

I’m the host at dVerse tonight – it’s always a thrill to host the quadrille! Our word tonight is “ash”.

Watching the old man.

He makes his way carefully across the waste ground, prodding with his stick as he goes. I wonder what he’s after? What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow out of this stony rubbish? Ivy and bindweed and fireweed and sallow – nothing edible as far as I can see. Maybe he’s not after food. Maybe he’s a scavenger, hoping to find something useful – plastic, cloth, old tin cans? I could tell him this ground’s been picked over again and again. I could tell him to watch out, there’s danger here. Scarier things than me.

I don’t. I don’t say anything. I keep myself hidden, peer out from my hollow.

I like to hear him sing. It reminds me of being warm, and clean, and of something sweet…and milky…ah – I can’t think of it. I keep watching, keep listening, but the words won’t come.

Prosery for Mish at dVerse. 144 words of flash fiction, containing a line from a poem. Tonight’s poetry quotation is from T S Eliot: ” What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow out of this stony rubbish?”.

Wonderful

Is this a sad song, or a happy one?
I’m never sure. But turn it up,
let all that richness pour
out of the speakers. Let it roll,
and see the world unfurl
under your gaze. Look again
at every tree, at that dog sniffing
at the wall, at that child holding tightly
to his mother’s hand. That’s love.
Look at the sky. It’s blue. It’s truly blue.
Look at the grass. It’s green. Look out
for love – it comes in different ways.
Yes, turn it up. He’s singing now.
We’re singing, too. It’s true –
what a wonderful world this is,
the one we’re living in,
the one we’re moving through.

For Lill at dVerse, who asked us to choose a birthday number one from the Birthday Hits website. My birthday obviously sits very close to Eurovision, so I had some…interesting… birthday number ones. This is one of my daughter’s favourite songs, so I chose it for her. And because it’s a wonderful song.

Also, I’m very happy because I’ve worked out how to do single line spacing in a poem on WordPress!

Ah, Persephone

Six months of darkness –
six months of light –
six months on the starless riverbank,
six months of throbbing music,
hip pressed to hip. Six months of black coffee,
too much vodka, and the smoky flavour
of his tongue in your mouth;
Six months in a green garden.
Six months of power, queening it
Over all those fluttering, frail souls.
Six months of daughtering.

Eat the seeds, Persephone. Eat the seeds.

I’m hosting at dVerse tonight and we are looking at the Persephone myth. Check it out!

August: haibun for dVerse

August begins and ends with a public holiday. It’s a month of dreams and disappointments.

August smells of hot fat and seaweed. It tastes of vanilla, woodsmoke and cheese sandwiches. August drips ice-cream, sits in traffic jams, laughs loudly. August plays the neon muzak in the amusement arcade, clamours like gulls, patters rain on the caravan roof. August is a pint of cider, a can of lager, a glass of pink fizz. August is Pac-a-macs and crushed crisps and village fetes and bunting and sandcastles and sun-hats and fleecies and the first blackberry and a sudden, mad dash into the sea.

grains of sand
waves roll endlessly
harvest gathered

For dVerse

Summer solstice – haibun for dVerse

The solstices suit me. I’m not balanced enough for the equinoxes – I’m drawn to long days, evenings stretching out like shadows, the scent of roses, pipistrelles flittering overhead, the rooks chattering comfortably. I love the winter solstice, too, – the early darkness, the nights of frosts and stars, the nights when the moon hurtles through cloudscapes, the call of owls.

I like coming at sunrise from the wrong direction.

I like staking a claim on night.

On this solstice day, the everything is bursting with life. June has brought roses and honeysuckle, the trees are leaf-heavy, the fields are re-growing after their first mowing, the hedgerows are frothing with elderflowers and Queen Anne’s lace, with dog roses and wild campion. It’s our moment to dance at the top of the year.

shadows stretch
I am a goddess
flower-crowned. 

A solstice haibun for Frank at dVerse.