October Sunlight

a crack opened with a creak
enough for all the light to flood
over the brink, the ground to seek
and then to drain—lost in the mud

clouds closed with frowns
aimed at the ground's hunger
so they prepare and buckle down
with low growls of thunder

The Burning

each leaf stares at winter's unblinking eye
til in disgust they self-immolate to protest
her unthinking hate, her splintered cackle—
discordant lines painted on the field's blades
while each leaf silently endures the burning
with faith's shield to abjure death and believe
and hope in he who can raise the dead.

I am a bramble man

I am a bramble man
full of thorns, made of sayings
that sound true but do not stand
the test of time's hard wearing.
I am a bramble man
serving a bramble king, a man
of thorns, sitting on a throne
built of careful corpses
though less careful now.
I am a bramble man
yearning to be a tree
with some blackberries
for comfort but no deep shade
to shelter the weary, and I run
along the ground rather than reach
for the heavens. 
I am a bramble man
rebuking my thorny king
to follow a tree who wore thorns.

A wall against the sun

the sky is baked blue and the clematis
waves as it climbs the roof to burgle
or to squat or to beautify—time will speak
as he always does, as the year turns
the sky clouds grey to cloudless steel
impenetrable, a wall against the sun
as the war starts again

Rustle to Worship

All of the trees clap their leaves—rustle to worship the lord of the wind, as he sighs and hope and breathes, as our hearts are twinned in hurtful gusts. Applause rings out as the wind rises, as the majestic duskwoods pledge their trust to the lord of tricks who works another surprise—another ending, another pledged troth witnessed. All of the trees raise their hands to the angels ascending; for the signs all speak as they must.

Old Joe

They fixed the clock today, hands now turning
though his face hides behind a wall of fog
he marks the aftershock, the season's change
his chiming our drum, he shakes off his shawl
to stand triumphant from the gloom.

Leprous Fall

oh great green friend
did you scratch your head 
to make the flakes fall 
to carpet the ground in red?

shall I rub your branches
in the reek of coal tar?
as you bleed on the earth
writing Autumn's memoir

The light sat golden

The light sat golden, overlaid like a smudge of paint from the fingers of a grumpy child—bruising the clouds with clumsy touches that sear the mist and burn the spit from the sky. We watched as we walked, faces to the rain still soft from summer but falling with weight that wet the ground—and us to the skin, crinkly like the leaves will be when they choose to fall.

He sang sad songs

he staggered along the road
hood up to hide his pumpkin face
and pointed wizened fingers 
at trees all ablaze along his way

he wept his heavy tears of tar
and swept the leaves into heaps
til he sat to wait for winter's blow
her coup de grace--he sang
sad songs of grim waiting

he sang sad songs of 
season's fading


the woods burst into flame
leaves shout with their dying breaths
calling with pentecostal fire:
Hosanna! The king comes!
So they prepare to adorn him.

the year turns and falls into
its November end
climaxing in a tongue of flame
a beacon lit on every hillside
      Gondor calls for aid
           in every forest glade
harken softly, for in winter's cold birth
the king comes full of mirth

Scattered Leaves

scattered leaves drifting
in a bank of cloud.
Autumn hopes like the
sun's weeping: the rain wetter—
though we are drier—and
unsure if we got the raw
end of the deal.

It’s time to learn how to die

leaves veined with gossamer thread
like the papery back of nursing home hands
turned like pages in worn out books
stuffing Oxfam shelves and adding
a hint of must to the air.
I take the leaves and rake them
into a pile fit for jumping, but they're
wet—aren't we all? And Autumn's
crisp gladness fades to damp.
It's a cliché but someone is a squib.
We roast squab pigeon on bonfire night
to eat cinder toffee and popcorn
around a fire burdened by wet leaves.
And we look up to the stars, in a
vain—a vein—a weather vane hope
of forgetting the creeping cold inside
our boots. Eventually we accept the 
inevitable. It's time my friends
to learn how to die.


A golden shovel

I wondered what I could still hold for
the master tends to take his
portion from my bounty
richly blessed I was but now there
is less—less than there was.
It is a cruel taking that leaves no
basket-gift to endure through the winter
such is wondering of survival in't.
A snow-cursed forest holding an
awful, angelic autumn.
Apples eaten to the core and beyond, t'was
a day of cold heat, of worried waiting that
consumed my gardens and grew
nought but weeds in eyes caught in the
world's way of looking. But there was more
that I ignored, baskets in the vines by
the door; so there is no more fear in the reaping

Haiku #5

mist draped across trees
who slowly smoke—ozone brims
leaves crinkle in heat

Photo Credits:

辰曦, Dennis Buchner, Chris Lawton, Jeremy Thomas, Matt Duncan, eberhard 🖐 grossgasteiger, Chris Liu-Beers, Bernd Schulz, Alex Motoc, Nick Fewings, Nadine Redlich, Toa Heftiba, Will Tarpey, Callum Blacoe, Joshua Fuller, Johannes Plenio