The days are lengthening. Harbingers of spring
pierce through resistant soil; spikes of daffodils
and early tulips mingle, tight buds sprinkle
thin syringa stems. A few oak leaves linger,
crisp-curled and dead, rasping in the flowerbed –
but death is a stranger now. Pale hellebore
blushes shyly, fern fronds prepare to unfurl.
Clouds lift. The air is clear and bright. All winter
I have dug hard cold ground, hoed, mulched, dreamed of growth.
Now, accompanied by bird song, I plant words.
This poem was first published on The Wombwell Rainbow in February 2023. It is a variation of a masnavi (or mathnawi), a poetic form that has its origins in Persian, Arabic, Turkish, Kurdish and Urdu writing.
Listen to the riversong –
meltwater from mountain flanks
tumbling its own path
between resistant rocks.
Meltwater from mountain flanks
trickles down through peat and moss,
conjoins to become a burn
tumbling its own path;
tugs at roots by shaded banks,
crashes, eddies, foams.
Between resistant rocks
salmon leap against the flow,
glinting in the sun.
This poem was first published on The Wombwell Rainbow in January 2023. It is a trimeric, a recent poetic form devised by Dr Charles A. Stone.
We dispatched them to explore
the outer planets, where we
can't go ourselves: observe rings,
moons, alluring mystery.
Beyond Neptune one final
image, of a pale blue dot
clasped gently in rays of light.
Thereafter, night. They can not
go back: blinded, must journey
on, two tiny travellers
alone on separate paths
through the vast, cold universe.
They are not – yet – lost in space.
We can still trace where they are,
faint signals from the darkness
telling us how fast, how far;
but not for long. Soon, voiceless,
they'll traverse interstellar
space, bearing golden records –
earth sounds, earth words. Who will hear?
A version of this awdl gywydd (a traditional Welsh poetic form) was published on The Wombwell Rainbow in November 2022.
The phrase ‘pale blue dot’ was used by Carl Sagan to describe an image of Earth taken by Voyager 1 on 14th February 1990, shortly before the spacecraft’s cameras were permanently switched off to conserve power.
grooved granite mill-stones grind
formless flour from coarse grain.
The brake wheel clanks; the wind
thrums an untuned refrain.
This poem first appeared on The Wombwell Rainbow in October 2022. The form is known as a Bob and Wheel and dates back to mediaeval times.