Inspiration – a Haiku

Frantic letters spin
Visions, Voices; a message
Fighting to be free.


My response to Colleen’s 2019 Weekly #Tanka Tuesday #Poetry Challenge No. 142 #SynonymsOnly

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.


A Song of Taliesin

I was a piece of grain
In Cerridwen’s belly
That grew into a man.
Gwion Bach devoured,
Reborn with a radiant brow.

She sought to inspire
And I was inspired.
Inspiration meant for another,
But fate had other plans.

I stirred her Cauldron of Awen,
Its contents burned
And opened eyes and mind.

I was there
When the universe
Was a white hot grain,
And will be there
When it is an ice cold cloud
Spread thin by time.

I was there
In the valley of Rhun,
Before the years had been numbered,
By the shores of sunlight
When the fair ones
First gazed upon the trees.

I saw the Sword of Light
Forged by the sons of Twerios.
I saw the son of Vandar
Buried in the earth.
Family fragmented
Along the shores dispersed

I was there
When the flood waters came
And Cessair by Bandba was saved.
While Elfhame vanished
Under the waves.

I saw sister Alba
Lost in a foreign land.
Rescued by a knight
From the end of the world,
Reunited with her mother
She would be.

I was there
When Bran crossed the sea
To restore his sister’s honor.
I heard steel strike steel,
I saw the blood river run.

I sailed home
With Manawydan and Pryderi
To bury the king’s head
Facing the foreign lands.

I was there
When Degfed and Lleu
Sailed to Alfheim’s remnants
To make uncle Nudd whole.
The Sword of Light
And hand of silver flesh
Wielded against his brother
To restore him to the throne.

I saw the black blades forged
By twerger hands alone,
For Caswallawn
And the wealthy wolf
To drive the dark ones
From their home.

I saw a king
Seduced by chaos,
Abandoning justice;
Giving rise to a Dark Queen,
Dressed in green,
Bathing a kingdom
In self-indulgence,
Decadence and greed.

I was there
When Alberech
Threw down his cousin
By the black blade of Blaidd,
Watching his sea fortress burn,
A fire he lit
From a far younger land.

I watched
As he walked away
Into wilderness,
Into legends and dreams.

I was there
When the sons of Nemed landed
At the mouth of the Ituna.
Welcomed by fair Queen Uonaidh,
As if she’d been expecting them
All this time.
Giving them land and her daughters
As Prydein gave his name
To the land.

I was there
At Badon
When Arthur earned his name.
I heard the cheers,
I smelled the blood,
And knew it wouldn’t last.

I was there
On the Prydwen with Arthur,
Sailing to Eire or Annwn,
To rescue, to pillage,
And to have glory got.

I was there
At Camlann,
I saw Arthur fall.
Misunderstandings and murder,
Disintegration of the land.

I was there
When Gwion Bach
Stirred the Cauldron of Cerridwen
For and entire year.

I saw him burn,
I saw him alight.

I saw him devoured,
I saw him reborn.

I was there
When Elphin found the babe
And raised him as his own.
I heard him give the boy a name:


Inspiration – a tanka

The Nine Muses

Pen put to paper,
Record the gifts of the Muse,
Scribbled in frenzies,
Possessed hand cramped and swollen
Until the thought is finished


Response to Colleen’s Weekly #Tanka Tuesday #Poetry Challenge No. 93, “Inspiration & Plan,” #SynonymsOnly.

Image is a detail from a 2nd Century Roman sarcophagus depciting the 9 Muses and thier symbols. They are, from left to right:Clio (history), Thalia (comedy and pastoral poetry), Erato (love poetry), Euterpe (flutes and lyric poetry),  Polyhymnia (sacred poetry), Calliope (epic poetry), Terpsichore (dance), Urania (astronomy) and Melpomene (tragedy).

Found at WikiMedia Commons.

The Feather

Feather by Justine Leys.jpg

A single white feather
Falling, flying; floating.
Ivory against an onyx sky.
Loosed from Lucifer’s wing,
Escaping un-singed
As he fell
In victory and defeat.


This poem was inspired by the above acrylic painting by my wife, Justine Leys. So far as I know she was just painting a feather, the association with Lucifer is just what sprang to mind when I saw it.

This is my 14th poem for National Poetry Writing Month.


Blood Into Ink

blood into ink

Blood is too thick to write with
When you tear open a vein
With a fountain pen
To fill an empty India ink bottle–
Coagulation in the ink well,
Blood clots smeared across the page–
Dilute with salty tears,
Cried alone in the dark.
Your pen will run smooth
Across the page,
Cauterizing the wounds.


This poem was originally published on the Blood Into Ink blog on 8/2/17. It was written in response to the Blood Into Ink Writing Prompt Challenge held by Christine Ray of Brave and Reckless.

Blood into Ink is “a safe, respectful, open and inclusive home for stories of survival from those who have lived through sexual abuse, rape, physical abuse, emotional abuse, child neglect, domestic violence and other forms of trauma. It is a place to share writing about our struggles and our triumphs.”

Since having this published on Blood into Ink I am very honored to have been invited to be a regular contributor to that blog. I invite you all to visit and check out the other talented writers that post there.

For Vincent van Gogh


Life is suffering,
Every day a struggle,
Tormented from within and without
Compulsed to share visions
No one else can see,
To paint portraits of a turbulent world
Through the lens of a turbulent mind
On a luminescent night in Provence
Shimmering Venus and Ares framed
By the Asylum window,
An ecstatic celebration of life,
Ever moving; never resting,
Using pigments of agony, anguish and madness,
Transmuting lead into gold,
Depression into sunflowers,
Tragedy into beauty,
Brief breath of life into immortality.

3/30/17 (Vincent’s 164th Birthday)



  • Self-Portrait with Straw Hat (Paris, Winter 1887/88) by Vincent van Gogh
  • The Starry Night (Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, 1889) by Vincent van Gogh

Tell Me What I Need to Know


Throne of gold up on high
The Ancient of Days sits
Appearing like a Son of Adam,
White woolly whiskers
Uncombed hair and dirty feet.

Winged creatures come and go,
Speaking to Him of the world below,
Thought, Memory, raven, crow,
Come tell me what I need to know

Noah sent a raven out from the Ark to find dry land;
There was none to be found, the rains washed it all away.
He fed on the rotting floating corps of an iron smelter,
Shat out an island for the dove to find and pissed a river.
At least that’s the story I heard from Utnapishtim’s raven
–I think his name was Neil
In a dream, while he dined on the rotted remains of a friend.

Ancient Allfather Asgard King,
One-eyed wandering Woden,
God of poets, inspiration and berserker rages,
Riding eight legged Sleipner across the rainbow,
A raven on either shoulder, whispering in his ears.

At dawn they fly away and go,
At dinner they report on the world below,
Thought, Memory, raven, crow,
Tell me what I need to know.



Inspired by the Daily Post‘s daily prompt: Ancient