Scrabbling for the last of the blueberries
bearberries, crowberries, crab-apple –
anything left of the dying autumn
to stock up your more than mountainous frame
copper sheen in a slanting sun
soon ready to curl up in a
bomb of a ball in a den.
But the berries now shriveled slip through your claws
into the brown of your wintry fur
you comb your way in, thrust in your nose
it’s in there somewhere your berry
between hair and more hair in the crook of your arm.
How did it get there?
You slope off with a huff on the heels of your paws
hungry, hungry the king of the mountain
trumped by a berry.



Feature picture by Heather Cuthill on Flickr


Jaeger Bird, Barrow, Alaska

He flies in ribbons like my hair undone
loosely in this arctic breeze
like a kite in the wind his long tail trailing
above melting icefloe, along costal freeze
alert eye searching to feather his nest
he swoops down, snatches my hair
off in a rush with his prize secure
and I rejoice that he ever dared
for my locks will be part of a new birth
here by the Chukchi Sea.


On the icefloe in Barrow, Alaska, by the Chukchi Sea. Photo : UNICEF/Vlad Sokhin. Source:



Cranes, Cook Inlet, Alaska

Like a queen’s downy bed fluffed up for the loving
featherlace wings drifting aloft
they glide with the wind
two graceful lovers sweep over Cook Inlet
calling to the snowbound range.
It echoes back beckoning
they sway over scree
brittle legged, stagger on stone
fold their wings trusting

Cormorant on the Westman Islands, Iceland

He hangs out his wings to dry
soggy his dive
lazy on lava he loiters, waits
for whatever flounder dare wander
in harbour waters
beneath his razor-sharp rock.
Hungry, daggerbeak hook-tipped
quick wing-tuck, neck-stretch
so sudden the plunge to survive.


Westman (Vestmannaeyjar) Islands, S. Iceland





Glow Worm

Cup in hand I take my tea at midnight
down a darkening track
lush chestnut oak and elm hang heavy
wheat field hushed, summer breeze between the husks halted.
Silence is a darkness too familiar.

Breath of cattle huddled by the fence
shadows sighing from their lazy sleep
disturbed by another passing shadow
shadowed by the lack of any future.
All lovelust gone our life expires.

No use in clutching wreckage of despair
I walk away – you drink too much
lift your glass, dismiss the issue
swallow truth.
There is no future us together.

Thick darkness wraps its cloth around the hearing
clink of glass on bottle mottled deadened to
relief of non-existence
lost in stars beyond defined horizons.

A star lies fallen at my feet
couched in the summer sunburnt fern.
Lured by its glow I lean down
to the widening circles of its shimmer-halo
wondering at the aureoles of light
blues and greens and phosphor-burning white.
I empty my cup, slip the creature in
it wriggles it illuminates the emptiness within,
the stains of tannin tracing fear across the porcelain
then dims.

Caged in my cup, your light goes out.


The male glow-worm gives out less light than the female;  but he can fly, whereas she cannot and depends on her bright glow to attract him.  They still glow down our lane each summer, however ephemeral their star-like lights are.