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.

Climbing a beech tree in your parents’ garden

You will come to a place
where you can stop,
back pressed against the trunk –
a place where you can feel
your soft limbs branch and stiffen,
and the sap pulsing under
your skin, and all your thoughts
are nests and breezes,
and the taste of sunlight,
and the tree holds you here,
like a father holds a child –

Or maybe
your father hoists you up
onto his strong shoulders,
so you can peer through
the green leaves of his hair,
over the fence to where
next-door’s cat lolls in the sunshine
and the old lady jabs
at her flowerbed

and now two butterflies
spiral up towards you
and a bird swoops in
to land upon a twig

and no-one else can see
the tree-ness of you.

I’m hosting at earthweal this week, and asking you to think about how children connect with nature. Or adults, I guess. Beech is one of the Lost Words. There was a big old copper beech tree in my childhood garden – a person in its own right.

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. 


I should be writing about flight
and instead, I’m writing about plunging –
what does that say? About me, I mean?
But the sky is blue and the clouds are white
and the sun is slanting in a certain way
and I’m thinking about gannets –
which certainly fly, circling, circling,
but then become daggers,
no, spears, clean and sharp,
those wings tucked in – jet
becomes missile. Mad blue eyes.

I’m writing about the frenzy
of gannets, the whirl and flurry
above the water, on a blue day,
when the sea is green and the waves
are white, dancing crests,
and there are fish out there,
and the gannets come in,
circling, circling, plunging.
You can hear them from here,
like a war between air
and water, crack, crack,
each bird a bullet, a clean strike.

Laura is hosting at dVerse,and asks us to write about flight – birds, bats, seeds…I resolved not to write about rooks (again) but it was a struggle.

And here are some real gannets:

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
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

rook sees me
wide striding
earth bound
leaf plucking
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.

Encounter: hare.

Her world and mine are different –
they weave and thread around each other –
her stories told in sounds and scents
that I’m too dulled to grasp,
my world of words and words,
and blades and wheels
and engine noise.

So when we meet like this –
me at the gate, her in the deep path
carved by the tractor,
shaded by the green growth
of the maize – all we can offer
is a silence. Her silence
is the wisdom of the prey,
a risk assessment. Mine
is the silence of enchantment.
I seek to trap her
with my gaze, my fascination,
my delight. She’s wondering
if I bite.

Our worlds touch.

Something changes –
a wren trills an alarm call,
a quad-bike starts up
half a mile away. She moves.
Stops. Waits. An ear flics. She moves on,
up to the hedge line,
through some secret passageway, and off.

I wait, of course,
hoping that she’ll return,
knowing she’s gone,
a shimmering absence,
forming a different silence –
a small void, and then
it all moves on,
the rook caws, the cow bellows,
and the world spills in.

Sherry is hosting earthweal this week, and asks us to think about encounters, meetings, communions with the natural world.


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.