my haiku at pure haiku

Thank you, Freya, for featuring my haiku…via 2 – 16

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The stick

Maddie approached the stick, fascinated. It had just been left, jutting out of a snow drift, glowing softly – as if it wanted to be noticed. She picked it up and shook it.

Snow started to fall, gently at first, then faster – snowflakes whirling under the street lights. Maddie laughed, delighted. She waved the stick like a conductor’s baton, wanting more snow, but it stopped almost immediately.

She shook the stick again: snow. Waved it: no snow.

She tried over and over again. It worked every time.

Maddie grinned. She was going to have a lot of fun with this…

Photo prompt by Dale Rogerson. 100 words of flash fiction For Rochelle, at Friday Fictioneers. 

Bull – TLT

Last night I dreamed I rode a bull,  through a land of myth. A black bull, that sweated, stank and snorted beneath me.

 

I rode past a girl garlanding a white bull with flowers; past a heifer with human eyes lowing sadly; past a woman with a cow’s head and open hands; past a queen suckling a bull-headed baby, until I reached a woman with wild red hair and a knotted crown, who looked me up and down, and handed me a spear of iron and bog oak.

 

I woke up clutching the spear to my chest: I’ve carried it all day, walking noiseless through the forest of the city, knowing I carry death in my hands.

photo by Jacco Rienks via Unsplash

prompt by Sonya at Three Line Tales. 

Mad Betty’s house

The hut nestled under the bank at the end of the lane. We crept towards it. We could hear her singing – a wordless song, or, if it had words, they were in a language we couldn’t understand.

Jack sniggered.

“Mad old bat!”, he whispered. “Grab some ammunition!”

The boys gathered up handfuls of stones and mud, as silently as they could. Nobody spoke. Jack led the way. When I tried to follow, he turned and stood in front of me, legs apart, hands on hips.

“No girls allowed,” he said, ginger head cocked back. “This is men’s work”.

Men! They were a bunch of smelly, scruffy little boys. They were a bunch of pigs.

I didn’t care. I wasn’t even going to watch them. I climbed the bank, and found myself a place to sit, back to the trunk of a beech tree. The light through the leaves made a pattern on my skirt. I could hear Mad Betty singing her aimless song, and I think I fell asleep.

I woke to a commotion – shouts and cries, the sound of stones pattering on a wooden roof, and the splat of mud against a wooden wall. Nothing from Mad Betty, no screams, no shouts. Not even the wordless song. There was silence for a moment, as if the world paused, and then a squealing sound, the sound of some terrified animal.

A herd of pigs went helter-skelter past me, into the undergrowth. I swear that one of them turned to look at me as he went, his ginger bristles shining in the afternoon sun. I turned to follow where they went, but was distracted by Mad Betty starting up her song again. The pigs suddenly didn’t seem important. I sat back down, and let myself drift away.

For Sue Vincent’s photo prompt.  I’m enjoying getting back into a bit of flash fiction.

Flint

When the duckweed scums
The edge of the battered pond
He sees eyes that flint, her
Hands peeling two ripe plums,
All traces of holding back gone.

Brush snow from the garden thyme,
See how green it loiters there,
Life caught in a green splinter,
Waiting for the sun to climb
And warm the frozen air.

The green leaves make him sigh.
Is the fire of his love gone,
Crushed in the grip of winter?
Or can he make the sparks fly?
Flint holds fire. Winter holds the sun.

For Jilly, who has cast a brick to catch jade. I have completed her half poem – her words are in italics.

Doorways

A dark god guards
the doorway
of the year

and passing through it
is an act
of forgetting
and remembering.

Here, on the threshold,
I am poised between the two.

I think about the magical doorways
that lead to wonderlands.
If I push hard enough
I may break through
from this dull black
and white
to glorious technicolour.

It’s all doorways here.
Time becomes space,
space becomes time:
the living room is full of childhood,
and somewhere in the kitchen
there’s a sleeping baby.

In an upstairs room,
I’m standing at the window,
gazing at a different city,
waiting for life to start.

My grandmother presses
a crumpled note
into my hand,
and whispers urgently.

I think about the dark stone doorways
that lead to underlands.
If I push hard enough
I might break through,
from this mad technicolour
to the bleak purity
of black
and white.

 

A poem for Poets United – the midweek motif is doorways. 

Advent

BORDERED IN

Rough round that rose bordered hem

we ran, regardless of where her skirts

did scurry, no fretting to the fraying

of her fringes, never noticing how

nimble had turned to not-so nifty

above that border of red roses, oh

so pretty, on those placid petticoats

until we laid her low, on a hill so high,

hemmed in forever by a border

of bright red roses, and only then

did we sigh, only there, by her final bed,

bordered in by all we took for granted,

did we feel that teary thorn that

comes at the end of every rose.

 

This beautiful poem is by Damien B. Donnelly. For me, it’s about family, coming together, time passing, memories – all those things we do at Christmas time.  Damien writes gorgeous poetry and takes amazing photographs. A generally very talented person, who blogs at https://deuxiemepeau.blog.

Advent 22

Christmas Truce

It seems impossible
that in the middle
of all that war –
that blood, pain, mud, fear, hate –
football could break out –
that one man could trust
the Christmas spirit,
hope, faith, love,
enough to stand exposed
and take others with him
out onto the hard ground
of no-man’s-land,
that those men could rise up
Lazarus
from those living graves
and the net woven by
peace, joy, love
could be strong enough
to hold them:
that someone could produce
a ball –
as if this was a
factory outing to
Bridlington, or some
Sunday school picnic
on a green meadow
leading down to a
brown river, where there
might be trout –
and those young bodies,
curled and cramped –
blood, pain, mud, fear, hate –
could run and kick,
and their shouts be heard
up and down the line
until the end of Christmas.

 

December 22 – it’s getting really close now! I hope you’ve finished your shopping, and wrapping, and are getting ready to hunker down for the duration. This is a reminder of what Christmas can mean.