I Can Still Feel You

I can still hear
The sound of your voice
In my mind
And in my dreams.
I can feel your hands
On my face
The last time we met,
The cold piercing
My beard,
There was so little
Life left in them.

I can hear the joy
In your voice
When I told you
We were coming
To see you.
I can still see
The light
In your eyes
When your grandson
Took you for one last
Walk in the park.

I can still feel
The sinking
In my heart
When I realized
How limited
Our time really was,
And the crushing
When they told me
You were gone.


What is Man?

What is man
That you should take notice of him,
A son of man
That you should be concerned with him,
Elevating him far above
The other beasts
To near divinity?

Man is dust,
Less than a breath,
A son of man
An illusion,
A passing shadow
In the flickering heat
Of the sun.

December 2003 / October 2018

Inspired by Psalm 8.5, where, in many translations, בן אדם (literally ‘son of Adam’ or ‘son of man’) is rendered as “mortal man.” I have used the more literal translation of the phrase to try and emulate the feel of the Hebrew.

You can read a modern translation, with the original Hebrew, of Psalm 8 (and many many other Jewish texts) at the excellent Sefaria site.

Hallowed Lands (Tanka)

The enchanted mounds,
Possessed by the ancient sidhe,
Once revered as gods
Now forced under hollow hills
Still stalking our hallowed lands.


My response to Colleen’s Weekly #Tanka Tuesday #Poetry Challenge No. 107, “Haunt & Spell,” #SynonymsOnly

Note: sidhe is pronounced “shee”

The Empty House (Tanka)

In an empty house
Short stools; covered up mirrors
Filled with a spirit,
A shade that will never leave,
Shadows that will never lift.


My response (a little late) to Colleen’s #Tanka Tuesday #Poetry Challenge Recap No. 106, “Ghost & Hollow”, #SynonymsOnly

The Broken Cup

Kneeling in the gravel
Cracked clay cup
Cradled in my hands.
Fill it with bitter wine
Or sweet honey mead,
The cup doesn’t hold much,
But a little is all I need.


Shining City Covered in Shit

Pale bloated
Puss filled slugs
And spineless jellyfish
Senators selling souls,
Guns, and national parks
To the highest bidder.

Stair stepping
Spinal chords
Of citizens, soldiers,
Scholars, and saints
To grasp the laurel leaves
Atop the Temple of Dis.
Now dry and brittle
Dusted with mold.

Sun-dried spray-tanned
Miniature mushrooms
on Mussolini’s balcony
Bankrolling the Ministry of Truth,
Redefining the length of an inch
So his paws don’t look
Quite so small.

Ossified arthritic
Vampiric leaches
Slithering calcified
Marbled hallways,
Bathing shining statues
Of founding fathers
In a darkness only
Diogenes’ lantern
Could cut through.

But Plato’s
Cave dwelling
Plucked chickens
Are blinded
By even the softest light.
Shackled to the
Shadow puppet show
In Caesar’s cellar,
Fuzzy flickering images
Distorted dancing shades,
Source of all that’s known
And nothing that’s real.


Haiku on Autumn Weather

Golden wet oak leaves
Mulch in puddles of decay
Earthworms turn the soil.


I Need to Go

For Justine

Driving down
A dark dirt road,
Under a pine tree canopy.
Destination set
For wherever the road leads.
Nowhere to be,
But where I am.
Seeking nothing,
But myself,
And, maybe,
A little adventure.

Fly rods and fishing poles,
Campfires and marshmallows.
Sleeping under the stars
Unpolluted by city lights.
Walking in the footprints
Of history,
Feeling the sea breeze,
Smelling the salt air,
Travel down the trail
To see something
I’ve never seen,
To live life
While I’m able,
Neither hindered
Nor held back.

I just want to leave
And never return.


The Battlefield


An old weary soldier,
Alone on an empty battlefield,
Mud filled trenches and
Bombed out craters.
Still smoldering fires in the distance.
Every other soul,
Friend or foe,
Felled along the line.

A brief pause,
After the battle is spent,
Tattered clothes,
He talks to ghosts,
Debating with death
To lay down arms
Before the conflict continues.


Image is taken from a WW I Montage, found on WikiMedia Commons.

My Heart’s in the Highlands


My heart’s in the Highlands
Gentle and free,
No matter where I go
No one seems to be talking to me

Walking and listening
To the magpies at play
Struggling to hear exactly
What it is that they say

Perched in their trees
Reciting remembered rhymes,
Drawing up images
Of far better times.

My heart’s in the Highlands,
Where my grandfathers once dwelt,
Dreaming of how that refreshing
Aberdeen breeze must’ve felt

Walking my own road,
Unburdened and free,
Just like that homeless family
That no one seems to see.

Invisible, immaterial,
Like a Ring-Wraith without a cloak,
Drifting on the wind
Like ashey crematorium smoke.

My heart’s in the Highlands
Where there’s nothing left to fear,
My heart’s in the Highlands,
Nobody even knows I’m here.


Inspired by My Heart’s in the Highlands by Robert Burns and Highlands by Bob Dylan.

The image at the top of the post is a Photo taken by Richard Webb on 17 October 2005 of Loch Long, northwards up the loch towards Ben Killilan and Sgumain Coinntich, and originally posted on geograph.org.uk.