poetry diary

I rhyme to see myself, to set the darkness echoing. (Seamus Heaney, from Personal Helicon)

Month: August, 2013

On the bird table, late August.

A wistful robin,
singing to darkening skies,
can’t yet recall spring.


Outside the living room window.

Late in summer

Dragonflies rising;
summer air ripe with pine scent,
fills with damp birch leaves.


Warming up for September Haiku Heights.

The Pilgrim

A bench by the path.
Ten years, I’ve been walking.
I will rest here.


Inspired by and written with thanks to Brenda Yun, at Pilgrims’ Poems, who’s just published one of my poems from earlier this year. She’s building a great site, which is well worth a look.

I’m not religious, but I respect the wisdom, discipline and power of all the great religions. Pilgrimage is an almost forgotten tradition in many of our cultures which is perhaps worth reviving.

Dawn in the Alps

It begins:
sunlight as fingertips pricking pine tops;
a shiver starting down the ridge,
massaging mountain spines
and spreading opened palms through pastures
which sigh, colour, and yield
(cow bells tingling)
to the dawn.


Posted on dVerse.

Evening in the mountains

Midday’s tyrant sun has gone;
and returning now as artist
paints that peak, those roofs, this lake,
like ripples on a mirrored pond,
with light,
made precious in her fading.


I’m enjoying the atmosphere here. This was prompted by the view from the house I’m staying in yesterday evening.

Posted on Poets United

From the silver thistle leaf

From the silver thistle leaf
a stem
reaching into earth darkened
by geologic time
and boot-torn;
hoof-torn too, by cattle grazed
on meadows resting in the
August sun.

Pine forests – unbrushed velvet
close around hills; doomed to fail
to keep these mountains warm
when the exiled snow returns
from that ancient, distant peak;
as edelweiss.


At Kirchberg in Tyrol. I wanted to take a poem from the beauty of the very small to that of the overwhelmingly large, and back again.

The end of the siege

Not the still-standing walls,
black and torn against the smoke-smudged hills;
nor exhausted men, most sleeping now with swords to hand
and helmets dark and dented –
none of these had failed him yet.

But when the cook left quietly before dawn,
the captain heard the postern squeak,
and knew it was over.


For Catherine, with much poetic license (and hoping any similarities between medieval warfare and modern business are mere fantasy!).

Posted on dVerse.

In the mountains

Desperate pine trees
cling to wrestling mountains as
continents collide.


On holiday walking in the Alps.

Watching a blind man cross the road

In the interrupted tap,
tap and tap,
tap sweep,
of your light white cane,
a railing emerges, sounding just-so-tall and hollow;
hard against your wrist,
and familiar in relation to the sudden silent space
beyond the kerb.

Creating now a pool of calm
on Oxford Street
you pause, stand still,
and trust.

Into your trust,
the world settles,
like the final gurgle of an emptying bath.
Passing sounds separate and subside,
and a nearby Rastafarian takes your arm.


An incident observed from a London bus this morning.

Not stillness, but peace

Not stillness, but peace;
in the rising evening mist five cygnets
drifting with their mum,
floating with the sun’s failing light
into the cold darkness
of heavy, hanging trees
whispering silence.


Beside the Avon on Tuesday evening.