Hope – again

and so I’m not quite giving up on hope

the backs of my hands are scratched
I broke a nail

and I’m still gathering up the shreds
of hope
the broken bits

I’m stitching

I’m no seamstress, and my wonky banner
with its wobbly lettering
is kind of sad and saggy

but I’m carrying it
foolish and fluttering
all the stitches showing
as the sun shines through

Turns out I had more hope in me than I thought. This is for Earthweal and I’m linking it up to dVerse’s Open Link Night. Both good places to hang out.


Hoping – poem for Earthweal

On days like this, hope’s easy –
it’s right there, in every swelling bud,
each new shoot pushing through,
each leaf unfurling. The robin sings it
and the fieldfare carry it on fluttering wings.

Don’t let Pandora fool you.
Hope’s the last demon in the chest,
the one that sends you walking blind
into oblivion, smiling. Hope’s the Fool’s card,
hope’s the joke.

Take that hope and weaponise it, then,
mix it with love and anger, braid them together
weave them into the plaits you wear. Take a stand.
Temper hope with knowledge –
sharpen it. Hope’s just a spark,
pressed out by a wet thumb. Nurture it.
Feed it fiercely, with the fuel of joy,
and light a candle from it.

All those candles, moving apart
and then together, forming a web of light
under the great dome of the sky.

Is that enough, now? Is it?

Sherry is hosting at Earthweal tonight, and our theme is “finding hope”.

Hope – haibun for dVerse

Hope feels like a small thing at the moment – the hard green apples waiting to ripen, the half-filled pea-pods. A domestic thing. I am narrowing my gaze, because the world feels too big, too precarious, and I feel helpless.

But perhaps that’s how hope always starts – as a green shoot coming up through the burnt earth, as a child folding a paper crane.

peace comes at twilight
green things growing silently
sun rising with hope

This is a haibun for dVerse. Frank is hosting tonight. He reminds us that last year we wrote about the anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing. This year, he wants us to commemorate that bombing, but to write about the hope that can emerge from tragedy.

I’ve just read “A Tale for the Time Being” by Ruth Ozeki. She mentions the fact that Japanese schoolchildren folded 1,000 origami cranes for peace after 9/11. I was moved at how this connected back to the story of Sadako, who developed leukaemia after being exposed to radiation at Hiroshima. If there is hope, it is in the hands of children.


Free gift in every packet –

it might not be what you expect. Anticipate delight, or fear, or that bright tingle of desire that sets your fingers splaying –

in that anger you spilled
over the kitchen floor, there is
the seed of change –

rise up and use it. Breathe in deep and roar. Build roads and bridges, use your strength, haul on the rope, tighten your grip. Don’t let go –

 and in that weight of fear there
is some love,

as if they’re sisters, love and fear, arms linked, flip sides of the same coin of passion, an old coin, warm in your hand, sticky from sitting in your pocket –

and in that great, grey,
overwhelming grief, you’ll find

somewhere in that cloud, that blocks your sight and leaves you groping, hands out, blinded by loss, reading the air with your fingertips –

a memory of joy.

Hold out your hand.


This is for Amaya at dVerse. She asks us to take something we previously posted on a past 11 September and play with it. My original poem was published last year Free gift in every packet – for dVerse – and it’s here in italics. It was interesting to review an old poem. 


Ginkgo – haibun for dVerse

Whenever I see a Ginkgo tree, I think of Hiroshima. Six trees were growing near the epicentre of the blast, and all survived, and continued to grow, apparently undamaged. One grows in the graveyard in our local small town. The branches spread over a path that cuts from the main road to the town square. That path has been there for hundreds of years – I imagine the town has grown around it. It seems fitting that the Temple Tree has been planted so close to a church. I don’t know how long the Ginkgo has been there, but in the spring the leaves are like small green fans, and in the autumn they glow bright yellow. I can rarely resist picking up one of the fallen leaves, so unlike any other.

This is the most ancient tree of all, and yet it is reborn every spring. It’s a symbol of hope, and of the resilience of nature, thrusting down roots, pushing out leaves, changing with the seasons.

gold leaves in autumn-
winter branches bleak and bare –
green leaves in springtime


It’s haibun night at dVerse, and Frank is hosting. It’s also Hiroshima Day, and Frank asks us to remember the horror of the bombing there in our haibun. I’ve chosen to talk about the Ginkgo, a symbol of hope. You can read more about the Ginkgo here: https://kwanten.home.xs4all.nl/index.htm

hope II

How do we talk
about hope

when it is
as illusory as fear

and yet

both things can grab our guts
and pierce our hearts

and so we talk about

hope and
love and

as if they can step forth
and save us


Another one for De at dVerse (strangely satisfying words). A bit bleaker this time. 

Change haibun for dVerse.

In that moment, as he lowered his voice and leaned towards me, as he gave me his bruising words, in that moment, I changed from being myself to being someone else. My body became a public thing, my health became someone else’s responsibility. My breast became the place where my enemy lurked, stealing from me – my future, my happiness, my content, my ease. I changed from being visible to being invisible, hidden behind a mask of diagnosis, investigation, medication, prognosis. Words I scattered freely became darts that caused me pain. My children became sources of fear and anxiety. All the other changes led on from that moment. The scars, the skin that aged overnight, the hair thing – I’m a blonde now, not a brunette. What stays the same? Love, I think, the love that holds us in place, that feeds our selves, that keeps us taking one step after another, that reaches out and intertwines with the fine threads of family and friends and home. Love that reminds us that there is always morning, there will be a morning, the sun will rise.

Even in the dark
There is the promise of light
Birdsong calls us home.