Birch trees

What could a birch tree be, except a girl?
A young girl, poised on the edge of a dance
with her arms wide, and her hair uncurled,
loose round her shoulders; and her friends
clustered around her, whispering secrets,
rustling and murmuring in their pale dresses,
telling each other which bird did this,
and what the squirrel said. Nobody guesses
how much they see, the supple birch trees,
that sway as they wait, feeling the notes
sung by the robin, played by the breeze –
they can’t resist. Even when they’re old
they sway like that, to music half-forgotten,
melodies half-heard, echoes of rhythm.

This is for Grace at dVerse, who is asking us to use imagery and/or personification. there is, of course, a nod to Robert Frost here, and I’m still wrestling with the sonnet form. The rhymes got pretty slant-y in this one.

This is not a coffee pot

This is not
a coffee pot

it’s sunlight
casting crisp shadows
across a square

it’s a bird fluttering
into a bright blue sky

it’s every city that
ever welcomed me
with open arms
and crowded pavements

it’s chiming waterfronts
clanging with boats
and narrow backstreets
blue with shadows
and a small square
where a child plays
with an orange ball

it’s a fountain

it’s a cool marble table
wiped down
by a man in a white shirt,
nodding to acknowledge me

it’s a painting
of a woman
holding a single rose

An object poem for Mish at dVerse. I love my little Moka pot. It’s a one cup pot, so it’s very selfish. I use it every day.


The first sunrise of 2021 was a smear of raspberry pink over a monochrome world that crunched under foot. We discovered a new walk, and that we have made some new friends over the last year. At the top of the hill we looked back over a landscape that we know well, made new and different by a change in perspective. I think that perspective will be the only thing that changes over the next few weeks. Our plans are blown around like so many brown leaves. We’re entering a new lockdown. It’s like we’re not moving, we’re just bobbing up and down, waiting to set sail.

new snow
old landscape

Lill is hosting at dVerse tonight. We’re at the start of a brand new year, and Lill wants us to think about new beginnings.

A story of when the ice detached and the people floated away

We weren’t afraid. The stars were plump as berries
and the furs were warm. We lit a fire,

the way cab drivers keep their heaters on
waiting at night, outside the station.

We lay back on the ice and watched the lights,
the sky-dancers, looping in green and purple

the way city lights reflect in puddles,
the way shop windows break reflections.

Deep down, the ice holds the colour of the sky,
and overhead the clouds reflect the snow

and the moonlight on rooftops
almost looks like frost.

Since then we’ve travelled through a world of
white. We’ve become bears, blood hungry.

Trains pulling into stations, crowds
and the sound of people, empty as the wind.

I’m hosting at dVerse tonight, and we’re being inspired by titles.

Quadrille – as we sink

Abide with me, they play
as the clear, cold waters rise.
Don’t let me slip away
under the midnight ice.

As the clear, cold water rise
I reach my hands to you,
under the midnight ice
where the world is sun starved blue.

Lisa is hosting at dVerse tonight, and our quadrille word is “abide”. I’m making December a month of forms, so this is an embryonic pantoum.


Seven whispers of secrets:
seven sisters hiding smiles.
Seven stars shine clear tonight,
showing us the north. And, yes,
seven swans are swimming, and
seven spinners spin their threads
spanning sky and earth and sea.

Seven x seven x seven – a second Pleiades poem for Laura at dVerse. Just to see, really. This is one of those niggly little forms that gets under your skin.

Starstruck – haibun for dVerse

During lockdown, the weather was beautiful. Long midsummer days of blue skies stretching out, full of walking and reading and lazy conversations. The nights were just as wonderful – clear skies sprinkled with stars, sagging under the weight of so many stars.

We decided to stay up late one night to watch a meteor shower. The aquariids, I think. We took the beach blanket out and lay on the lawn, snuggled in sleeping bags and Dryrobes. There was some wriggling, and some giggling, and a bit of complaining, before we all fell silent, and just watched the sky.

There’s one.

There’s one.

There’s one.

We didn’t see many meteors, it has to be said. But we did spend time outside, gazing up at the sky. The more we looked, the more stars we saw – star after star after star – the Milky Way a band of light arching over our house, reaching towards the horizon. We were very quiet.

so many stars

how could we count them?

we could only gaze.

A haibun for Kim at dVerse. Kim wants us to think about the last time we gazed at nature in awe.

Oh, colour

Monday is shiny as a trumpet, yellow brass.
and Tuesday smells of oranges.
Wednesday is pale green, faded at the edge.

A is red, and love is red, and kiss is red
and B is purple. When I write your name,
I write a rainbow, evanescent.

Thursday is deep crimson,
Friday is brown, Saturday shimmers
like hot tarmac. Sunday tastes of treacle.

Y is grey, and O is sepia,
and you are fading like a photograph
left too long on the back seat of the car

Sometimes there’s too much colour
in the world. Sometimes there’s not enough.
Sometimes I sing sunflowers,
sometimes I whisper pumpkins

sometimes I sleep in monochrome.

A poem using synaesthesia for Grace. Grace is hosting Meeting the Bar at dVerse tonight.