This is the question.

What is the purpose of your journey?
is it business, or pleasure?
is it for the purposes of strange adventure?

is your journey really necessary?
will your soul shrivel without the sight
of the great blue ocean? will you really
fade away without the touch
of the desert air?

have you travelled here before?
have you packed advisedly –
sensible boots, cloak of
invisibility, sunhat? did you
pack your dreams yourself?
or are these someone else’s cast-offs?

This is for dVerse, where Bjorn asks us to ask questions. It was inspired by Welshstream’s contribution. Welshstream is here.

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Why do I write the way I do? Haibun for dVerse

As I write I explore a landscape that changes around me. Sometimes I follow narrow paths that lead me to strange and fantastical places. Sometimes I struggle to clamber over fallen rocks, looking for paths that have been shattered and hidden. I see a temple on a distant mountain, and start making my way there, but find myself distracted by a silent pool, or a particular tree. I start to walk about my garden and end up diving into an ocean wave. I want to explore what it would be like to be a tree. I want to visit a silent world of dark roots. I want to fly with rooks. I want to dance on a moonbeam. And I’d like you to be there with me.  I’ll try anything – give me a form and I’ll have a go. Give me a prompt and I’ll roll it round in my hands a few times, until it gives me a new path to venture down, a new scene to describe. I want to live a thousand lives, and take all the roads I couldn’t follow.

Evening grass is green
morning grass is pale with dew
soon there will be frost

Toni is hosting at dVerse, and wants to know why we write the way we do. I never think of myself as having a recognisable style – though I probably do. And I’ve just realised that my haiku probably says much more about me than I intended it to…but that’s poetry, isn’t it? 

 

Sleep

…is all those white things
that I never caught –
that butterfly that danced
away across the garden,
that white cat that
stalked off, disdainful.

…is a pearl, dropped
in a tide pool – I lost it
as I looked for it – swirled
up sand and mud, hid it
from myself.

…is a white castle, on
a distant hill, but every path
I take doubles and twists,
leaving me here, alone.

…is a white rabbit
that I chase down endless
midnight tunnels.

…a diamond, that fell
from a ring I always wore.
I’ve searched for it,
but haven’t found it.

The insomniac’s cry. Another mix of metaphors for Bjorn at dVerse.

Rain

She reigns a muddy kingdom
of frogs and slugs and snails,
where rainbows dance in sunbeams
and raindrops dance in pails.

She rides a silver rainhorse
with bells on either rein,
she rides him to the storm clouds
and then rides him back again –

she reigns a muddy kingdom
where puddles catch the skies,
her smile is bright as lightning
and there’s thunder in her eyes.

 

Rainy days over at dVerse...rainy but upbeat…!

Magic – for dVerse

The old magic
carried the scent of herbs,
and blood,
and woodsmoke. It furled
pale fingers round
distant hearts, coiled
its shimmering length
round lovers, twined
breath and death, into
slow darkness.

This new magic
shines and glistens,
pings and tings,
snaps. It moves fast,
flickering
electric sparks,
fizzing blue lights –
it slings itself
around the globe,
whirring into space.

We gaze, jaw-dropped,
reaching out our monkey paws,
touching the shiny,
discarding that old
smell haunted stuff,
that lizard brain stuff,
that visceral, polysensual stuff,
stretching our brains
into new conformations,
feeding our eyes

and yet, that old magic
lingers, in a whiff of
leafmould, mouth-scent
of rose, that waft of something
that takes you back
to your mother’s mirror,
a kitchen somewhere.

We are earth
water fire
air
we are electric
we are atomic
we are the magic.

 

For Paul Scribbles, at dVerse, who is asking for something magical tonight…

Between the seasons – haibun for dVerse.

We came home from Italy – all umbers and terracottas, blazing blue skies and sunshine – to a faded watercolour England. We wake with the scent of autumn in the air, but by lunchtime it’s summer again. We’re picking the first of the apples, but still cooking with courgettes, and beans – a green and purple abundance. There were swallows on the telegraph lines last night, starting to gather together, but today they were flying in a summer sky. This afternoon we saw the first starling murmuration of autumn. The crabapples are vermilion, but there are scarlet wild strawberries in the flower bed. Here and there, autumn is sprinkling reds and golds, but when I reach to pick an apple, the leaves on this tree are all green, dark, casting their individual shadows.

birds call the seasons –
apples fall for drunken wasps –
golden lantern moons

 

A haibun for Toni at dVerse. We are asked to write about this time between the seasons. I love autumn, but I’m not quite ready to leave summer yet – not that I have a choice about it.

 

My imperfect vegetable patch – haibun for dVerse

Come outside with me now. Through the gap, across the cobbles, round the corner, and there it is. Look at it with a gardener’s eye for a moment – note the weeds – those speedwells, blue as ripped up scraps of sky; dandelion leaves sharp as teeth; grass encroaching, insinuating its green way across the soil. Nothing is quite in a row. The Trail of Tears sends purple tendrils, coaxing the walking onion to join the wigwam. There’s a squash plant running riot, creeping through the patch, popping up between pea plants.Frankly, it’s a mess.

Now look at it again, with me. Stand here, beside me, in the early morning light, when the grass is heavy with dew. Look at that purple – the dark rippling leaves of the cavolo nero, the midnight pods of the Trail of Tears dangling like heavy tears themselves – and the orange – joyous nasturtiums tumbling over the path, courgette and squash flowers flaunting themselves, flirting with the bumble-bees – and all those greens -the green lettuce leaves, lit from within, fat pods of broad beans, lined with velvet, chard, and peas, and turnip tops, a riot of green.

Trail of tears entwine
green heart of the garden,
bright gold early morning

This is for Victoria at dVerse, who asks us to glory in imperfections this week. There aren’t many things as imperfect as my vegetable patch, but I love being out there…

The End – for dVerse

So, in the end, there’s nothing we can do,
we cannot stop the seasons in their flow,
pull up a seat, my friend, admire the view,
the evening fading with a twilight glow

We cannot stop the seasons in their flow:
the berries ripen sweetly in the hedge,
the evening fading with a purple glow
as summer teeters on the very edge.

The berries ripen sweetly in the hedge,
and dust clouds float their way above the lane
as summer teeters on the very edge
and harvest time is with us once again.

The dust clouds float their way above the lane,
soon to be dampened down by autumn mist,
and harvest time is with us once again,
and summertime and autumn meet and kiss.

Soon to be dampened down by autumn mist
the leaves seek glory in their final flight,
and summertime and autumn meet and kiss
apples that ripen almost overnight.

The leaves seek glory in their final flight,
and will I know it when I pick my last
apples that ripen almost overnight,
and will I know that my last spring has passed?

And will I know it when I pick my last
pale snowdrop hanging down her frosty face,
and will I know that my last spring has passed,
keep fresh a memory of this time and place?

Pale snowdrop hanging down her frosty face –
she cannot feel time passing is unfair,
keep fresh a memory of this time and place
we cannot change the world with our despair

We cannot feel time passing is unfair:
Pull up a seat, my friend, admire the view,
We cannot change the world with our despair,
And in the end, there’s nothing we can do.

 

I’m having a little battle with Pantoums at the moment. There’s something I like about them, but they are tricky to get right. This is for Paul at dVerse, who prompts us to write about The End. I chose a Pantoum with a sense of irony, as they don’t really end, they kind of cycle back to the beginning – a Möbius strip of words, rolling on forever. That fitted the idea of the seasons rolling on. Anyway, here it is, for what it’s worth.