Three girls in a churchyard

Three girls with robin egg blue

school skirts past the knee 

skip,

linked,

arm entwined in arm

under sudden flurries

of coloured leaves

sailing, swirling,

pirouetting

in orange and gold

glory.

The girls accidentally serenade

the weathered man

on the bench

with their high tones

and laughing songs

about roses and cradles

and cats.

He clutches a bottle,

his eyes open sky.

Arm in arm

the girls step

more slowly now,

the silence of stones

muffling their voices

as the ghostly wind

lifts their skirts

and tangles their hair.

Through the churchyard

they go,

past chalk grey 

headstones

at all angles 

each holding

the story of a life, a full life,

of a mother, sister, hero,

writer, dreamer, singer,

friend.

At the edge of the road,

a howl of wind

evokes shrieks,

cold bites

at the sweet point

of their necks.

In swirls of robin blue

they hug and break

and wave to each other

dashing down the street,

towards home.

Later that night,

they are tucked up warm.

Through the window cracks

the wind blows in

sounds from the churchyard,

the rattling of leaves,

the rustling of bones,

whispers in the dark

and the drunk man’s

rasping song,

his heart in every note.

Advertisement

Hills of Pine and Oak

Hills of pine and oak
stretch before you,
dun, golden and green,
the colors of a hillside
in autumn.

A lake is visible
below you,
in the valley.
reflections of clouds
move in its stillness.

There are houses
but not many,
most things here are
trees, water,
blue sky and birdsong.

Sit here
and let the cool,
fresh, pine-scented
air fill your lungs

as the sky
fills your eyes
and the land
fills your heart

and your blood
and the tree sap
and the streams
running through it all

pulse
with the same
bright, simple
joy
of living.

This poem was inspired by the ever-reflective Loch Voil in Scotland.

Autumn Girl

The woman in the
paper cup
looked up.

Her still brown
eye met mine
the other too
bright
gazed past
at the star
swirling night.

She smiled so I
whispered slow
‘who will I
be, where will I
go?’

My coffee cold
turned black to gold
to show a girl
under a bejeweled
tree with falling
red and amber leaves.

‘Not spring, where
new hope sings?’

One eye dimmed
her voice a
cosmic wind
‘In the endless flight
of a brilliant
leaf just before
winter’s night.’

‘Not summer in
radiant heat?’

‘No’ the light
in her eye
glinted deep.
‘But not in
winter’s sleep.’

With this thought
to keep, the coffee
took her black
and deep.

I left the cup
I had drunk too much.

Now I know
I’m falling slow
the afternoon light
kissing through trees
has never moved me
with such
beauty.