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.

Rooks at twilight

We are waiting for the rooks to rise
the way they rise each evening
the way they rise as the light falls
the way they rise as one
rolling bowling calling squalling roiling boiling swirling whirling
mass of birds
wings spread like hands
against the darkening sky
circling once
twice
then settling again
black leaves
black fruit
black birds
carved out of nothingness

and I wonder what stories
they tell themselves
about how it is
to be a rook.

For Lill at dVerse OLN.

Thrill

I was always…….teetering
drawn to the edge…

where safety ends
and danger…….. starts

I liked………I feared
the air under my hands

waves……..crashing

the swooping gulls
the dip slip flip……..of my belly

I was caught……..by my own gaze

I swayed………..stayed safe
through luck……not care

until you reached……..for me
your arms…….my rope

my safety…….your love

dVerse has a guest host tonight. A poem about risk, for Tricia Sankey.

Listening to my body

My body is talking again. My lungs
are whispering secrets. My heart
says “what? what? what?”
but my lungs have each other.
They keep on whispering.
My feet want to tell the story
of the day. They are always working,
they grumble. My thighs
just roll their eyes. They know.
My stomach is quiet,
he’s listening. Sometimes he
grumbles like a toddler,
sometimes he snores
like an old man, but tonight
he’s quiet. All the long,
slithery length of guts
is neatly packed away, sleeping
like a drawer of underwear,
and my lungs keep whispering.
My bones know something,
they feel it, but they don’t say
anything, they can’t quite name it.
They keep straight backs,
stiff upper lips. They keep
their gaze ahead, but my lungs,
ah, my lungs keep whispering
their secrets.

A body poem for Grace at dVerse

First blossom

The tree in the top corner is always the first to blossom. Its blossoms are the palest of all – the faintest wash of pink. It’s badly placed, battling with alder and birch to find light. Everything around it is brown. Buds are starting to swell, but the other trees are holding back, contemplating things. There may yet be frost, the nights are cold, we are still teetering on the edge of spring. While they hesitate, the wild cherry leaps in, joyfully, its blossoms a valiant, defiant banner of hope.

first blossom
are these snowflakes
or petals?

A haibun for Frank at dVerse, on the classic subject of cherry blossom.

This being human

This being human is all about telling stories,
it’s travelling in a twisting caravan
across the desert, depending
on each other for flour,
for water, for a soft red blanket,
for bandages and apricots.

What currency do we have,
but stories? The story of “Good morning”
“How’s this for weather?”. The story of
“I love you”, the story of childhood,
the story of how to stay safe,
how to be eat well, how to survive
being lost, how to hold tight
to someone’s hand.

It’s whispering
our stories at night, the stories
of stars — of men, and beasts
and gods, and flaming suns.
It’s singing our stories as we wash our plates,
as we wait for tea to brew,
as we clean our shoes.

It’s shouting our stories in anger,
It’s crooning them in love. It’s sitting, silent,
round the campfire, listening.
We are stories, wrapped and tangled,
offered with love or fear or laughter.

This telling stories is all about being human.

For Kim at dVerse – a poem that begins “This being human is…”