On Wires (ghazal)

there are always birds on the telegraph wires
today i saw thirteen on the wires

the number gave me pause for thought
our fortune hangs on silver wires

life seems to come from the choices we make
but we swing like puppets on wires

we call our friends to discuss and debate
endless words are buzzing through wires

to try and untangle the troubles we face
we struggle to loosen the binding wires

you think we’re all alone in this world
but we’re all connected by wires

the birds in the evening fly away
moonlight shines on the wires

Omens

i see it
through the window glass
the sickle of the moon
it curses me each month
my pockets always empty
but what can money buy
broken mirrors bring bad luck
fresh water from a running brook
will break that seven year spell
good omens come in threes
so do accidents
twice the deadly lightening strikes
i shelter by the oak
the owl blinks his saucer eyes
and I become the mouse
the full moon brings me blessings
strange shapes in fallen twigs
the book i learned to read
though i was slow to talk
the trees let in a flickering light
i take the secret woodland walks
i watch the birds for signs
the patterns of their legs
directions of their flight
the music of their cries
the rapture of their song
i have the old protections
rowan berries in my hat
fingers crossed behind my back
i have sweet dreams at night

The Opinion of the Dormouse

This interminable tea party is terribly boring.

We’ve moved round this table for years.

I’m not asleep, I’m listening and snoring.

I have excellent ears.

 

The Hatter was always so gloomy before.

Since Alice came here he isn’t the same

He seems to like chatting very much more

I’ve heard him whisper her name.

 

He still goes on drinking

Cups of cold tea

But I know what he’s thinking.

It’s not about me.

 

He’s never asked me which cake I prefer.

We have all her favourites each day.

He even taught her how to quadrille.

He summoned musicians to play.

 

Banana cake’s banned.

Alice dislikes it.

The birds eat cake from her hand.

She passed me a nice bit today.

 

They all love sweet Alice,

Even silly March Hare.

There are threats everyday from the palace

But Hatter and Hare, being mad, never care.

 

I know Hatter’s thinking she’s young and naïve,

But I think he’ll have a surprise.

All will be well if she doesn’t leave.

Alice is curiously wise.

Recorded in the Books

In the caravan of dreams,
at the back of the north wind,
in the wood beyond the world,
a conference of birds was formed.

When one flew over the cuckoos nest
they all thought they might die.

They left the tavern of ruin.
For bread alone they searched
beneath the sheltering sky.

They flew along the song lines
”Let it all come down!”
was their cry

The sand child, then,
was just a wink and a waft
of the jitterbug,
perfume,
from the djinn
in the nightingales eye

 

 

 

Peaceful

it’s a quiet early morning in springtime
rooftops arise from a gentle grey mist
the dawn streets are in silence and empty
and all in the drowsy town are asleep
it’s then i go out, in to the garden

it is then that my heart, sighing, grows still
in peace, alone with the trees

it’s a quiet time of day in the summer
when the dusk starts to fade slowly away
the sun sinks behind the far distant hill
and the birds in their nests lower their songs
with an occasional voice they settle

it is then that my heart, sighing, grows still
in peace, my mind flies away

it’s a quiet autumn day by the river,
a mirror, shining, reflecting the sky,
where white swans silently glide by in dreams
and the willows bow, heavy-headed,
a soft breeze makes the calm water shiver

it is then that my heart, sighing, grows still
in peace, lost in the beauty

it’s a quiet winters day at the fireside
coals caverns burn in a cast iron grate
casting shadow as flames leap and fade
imagination wanders in landscapes
the world outside grows forgotten and dark

it is then that my heart, sighing, grows still
in peace at the end of the day

Lovers

if they walked
down the street
hand in hand
in this town
they would stop all the traffic
in no time

more magic than movies
their beauty surpasses this place

people may wonder
as the crowds part around them,
like water around an island,
why her mouth
has that other-world touch
that slight strangeness
he loves
so much

his smile looks like music
she walks like a river
his eyes dream of forests
there’s a glow, there’s a shine
in the softness of skin
that’s so hard to define

their words
are not spoken
but the birds,
in concealing
her wings,
overheard
their song

Captive Carer

i see the streets from big wide windows

i wouldn’t cage a wild bird

i see the magpies perched

on nearby roofs and chimney tops

 

i haven’t left the house for months

except for weekly hurried visits

to the bank and back again

to pay the hired help who come

for one lone hour a week and leave

 

i look up maps of nearby woods

woods to which i cannot go

i have started planting trees

within the sheltered garden walls

i see the rolling hills so distant

the snow will come to cover all

the winter nights are drawing in

 

 

Birds

so much is shared through migrations
like birds dropping seeds as they fly
some cultures will grow and flourish,
some seeds will wither and die

looking back on history
and the incessant weave of the world
i see patterns intertwined, growing
interchange of art and design
leaves that bud from one tree
the branching of language and speech
a map of where we’ve all been

it says nothing of where we are going
in this we know less than the birds

 

 

The Secret Grove

a broad green sweep of valley
dark woodlands gathered there
by the rivers curve
nestled far below

above the hills a kestrel calls
sound stretched across still air
the blue grey hills melt away
in a distant milky mist

high above the world i sit
in a place away from care
surrounded by a birch wood
close by a hidden pool

this sun warmed granite ledge
above a grassy stair
lodges like an eagle’s nest
amongst the ancient trees

the oak trees lean together
to form a secret gate
where the hawthorns grow
beside the lofty fir

I lean against the apple tree
and watch the day grow late
no sound but birds and waterfall,
the sighing of the trees

the sun dips down behind the hills
i sit in peace and wait
to see the diamond stars come out
across the web of night

Migrations

so much is shared through migrations
like birds dropping seeds in the garden
some will flourish, some wont
flowers, fruits and weeds

looking back on history
and the incessant weave of the world
i see patterns intertwined, growing
interchange of arts and design

leaves that bud from one tree
the branching of language and speech
a map of where we’ve all been
it says nothing of where we are going
in this we know less than the birds