Sometimes thinking hurts your head

Turns out a cloud’s a verb –
constantly coming into being,
and where does your skin end?
What’s the edge of anything?
Birds moult.
All these things – straight lines –
turns out they’re spirals –
things are twistier than you thought –
everything’s part of everything,
the air’s opaque,
the earth moves,
the leaves are starting to turn –
to change their colour-
time sweeps on.
There are stones in the river
sudden humps and hollows,
but we can’t see them,
and the air’s a landscape,
hills and valleys,
everything’s going all the time,
everything’s coming,
there’s no place to just stand.

A stream of consciousness for Grace at dVerse.

My midnight garden

My midnight garden
has a lavender shimmer
jasmine-flower stars –
and candles that glimmer –

see fluttering bats
and moths agleam
as the scent of roses
inspires sweet dreams –

the moon swings low
and the moon swings high
in a silver swing
made from lullabies

Victoria is back! Guest hosting at dVerse,where it’s quadrille night. Tonight we’re quadrilling about gardens.

Look out of the window

August is a dull month in this garden,
just marking time – the fade
between the flowers and the fruit

but that one corner’s still alight –
West Cork – the fuchsia and montbretia,
the red and orange, sudden shocks of fire

bright in the soft, sea-light,
rain coming in from the south-west
and the grass drabbed by summer

Peter Frankis is our host at dVerse tonight. This is the view from my window, and a poem to go with it. 

Brambling – quadrille for dVerse

You are scratched and stained,
purpled with juice
– autumn came –
and the fattest berries
hang just out of reach
or at the limit
of your stretch

and those bramble thorns
dig into your clothes
so that you have to wait
impatiently
to be released

Linda is hosting quadrille night at dVerse. Forty-four words – our prompt word tonight is “bramble”.

Rook’s not my mother –

she has her own chicks to rear
to raise in the way of the
long feather
beak thrust
throat call
crowd muster

rook’s not my friend
she has her own companions
grip-claw
night-wing
flap-master
deep-cry

rook sees me
wide striding
earth bound
leaf plucking
multi-colour
not predator
not prey

she cocks her head
eyes me up
rises easy
flaps away

A rook poem, for the dVerse Open Link Night – hosted by Mish this week – and for earthweal, where Sherry is holding the fort.

Revolution

The wheel turns. This heavy wheel
that we keep pushing.
Our shoulders bruise and burn,
the strong muscles
in our thighs, our bellies, ache,
but we keep pushing.
Somebody falls beside us,
someone is crushed,
but still we push.
Sometimes, some chancer
scrambles to the top,
pulls up a friend or two,
tells us the view is great.
Sometimes he stays there
for a while,
until he slips and tumbles.
We just push.
The wheel is old. Chips in the paintwork
tell us that it’s been blue,
and red, and gold.
So many colours,
so many designs,
scratched out, or faded,
painted over. It’s been ugly,
it’s been beautiful.
On we push.
The track is steep.
The sharp stones cut our feet,
dust fills our lungs.
It’s hard to look away,
but over there the grass
is green, and stretches down
to a slow flowing river,
and there the woodlands
offer shade and fruit
and the deer watch us,
wondering, but we can’t stop.
We push.

Merril is hosting dVerse poetics, and asks us to write about revolution – in any form – political, celestial, whatever.

I’m the last priestess

I’m the last priestess of a dying goddess.

Now I hear her moan like an autumn wind high in the lonesome treetops, but she She used to speak to aloud, clear and resonant. Believers came here. We held power, a bright stone in our hands.

We ate well – offerings rolled in – gold and silver from the rich, baskets of fruit, or a white cheese from the poor. It makes me hungry to think of it.

Then a new god came, angry and greedy. His priests called us witches. The people stopped coming here.

One by one, we left or died. I’m the last. I should go, too, but then who would I be? And who would remember the great goddess?

No. I stay. I’ll bless you for a goose egg, an apple. I’ll listen for her voice. I will remember.

It’s prosery night at dVerse.Lillian is hosting, and gives us a quotation from Carl Sandberg’s Jazz Fantasia. dVerse is a poetry site, but once a month we dip our toes into the world of prose – 144 words of flash fiction, containing a quotation from a poem. Today’s line is: moan like an autumn wind high in the lonesome treetops

 

Me and the girls in the kitchen.

Me and the girls
are all stood around
in the kitchen at Claire’s,
and the boys are all there,
in the room next door –
they’re watching the match –
we can follow the score
from the noise that they make –
and the room smells of chilli
and brownies and chips,
and someone says “cocktails”,
and someone says “yes!”
and somehow my daughter
is smiling and trying her first margarita,
and I’m rimming glasses
with salt, and we’re laughing,
because, you know, rimming,
and everyone’s drinking
but Zoe – because of the baby –
she’s sticking to shandy
and 10 cups of tea, and all of a sudden
this room full of women
feels like we’re a myth – we’re all ages,
all sizes, in jeans and in dresses,
all cackling and stirring,
and screeching and loving –
and then there’s a roar
from the room next door,
and someone nips through
to check on the score,
and we all roll our eyes,
because…lads. And we’re back.

Brian is our guest host at dVerse, and asks us to share a specific moment with him. This is also a tribute to Jim at Stop Dragging the Panda, and his Lads Poetry Project.

Jim is exploring the bits of life that don’t make it into poems, and I’m enjoying it very much.

Sometimes I wish they hadn’t brought him back to me.

He’s a good husband, yes.

But still.
Sometimes, when he looks at me
I know my strong legs, my feet planted
in this red clay – they’re not enough.
My warm arms hold him,
like a cage of flesh. My hands burn.

I know he longs for something
he can’t hardly name – the pale flicker
of white fingers, never stained
with soil, or mucky from the fireplace,
the glimmering silvery gold
of hair left loose, swayed by the water.

Silence makes a dark pool in our house.

And when the tide turns,
and the wind is right,
and the sea calls him

I know he leaves me
with a happy heart.

De – Whimsygizmo – is hosting at dVerseand we’re looking at sirens, selkies and mermaids – the mysterious creatures of the water. You might also like this: https://soundcloud.com/b5m7/selkie – a lockdown project I did with my friend Dave Hope.

A shining moment.

I don’t often get thanks from people I’ve worked with – I think most of them are glad to be moving on – maybe I’m part of something they would like to forget. Three weeks ago, however, I was given flowers, and a card. I was stunned, and moved almost to tears. It was completely unexpected, a gift from a family I’ve worked with for years. The strange thing is, I wouldn’t say I’d made a whole lot of difference: I’ve advocated for them, pushed for a diagnosis that helped with educational planning, but other than that I’ve been mostly offering support and validation. I’m trained to make change, to make things better. I never felt I’d done enough for this family – never been good enough. Maybe that’s something I need to reflect on.

pink and white and blue
I place flowers in a vase
small buds unfurling

Lillian is hosting at dVerse tonight. She asks us to write a haibun about a “shining moment”, incorporating a traditional haiku.