Sunday, August 23, 2020


"...I have let time pass, which..helps more than reasoning.”
~Queen Elizabeth I

I wake in the night
thinking of ruins;
not the makers
but their leavings: fort,
church, graveyard,
house, each
with no tomorrow of its own, yet
a casket full
of glass for magpies,
scroungers' stones,
writers' plots,
lovers' verses, shadow beds
for weary ghosts
and so must be content
to watch the walls fall down.

These rainy ruins
where ravens ride wrinkled sky
where nightfall black-backs silver-mirror moons
however weak you are,
you can stroll forever, 
muscular past for a walking-stick,
hearing a hundred private jokes
the ghosts still tell/will tell
to you or the next one
for nothing's
as constant as a ghost
or more hopeful
than a ruin.

~December 2017
Two old 55's, reposted for 
 earthweal's Open Link
 Image: Carpathian castle ruins, author unknown, via internet. Fair use.


  1. "Where ravens ride wrinkled sky" are a wizard of arresting imagery. I love your closing lines - I have never thought of ruins as hopeful before. But it is perfect.

  2. I've wondered why ghosts appeal so much to my verses these latter years. I guess I'm not alone. Their res and repository in ruins are here a healthful thing, a "muscular past for a walking stick" and the ghosts seem to enjoy our moody commerce there. Final lines of II round back to the Queen's verbatim, brooding on ruins 'tis more productive than thinking forward. What a joystick pair o' 55s, just the right touch of nightshade to perk up this gloomy overhot Sunday. A good time for all, up and down side o' the sidhe. How comforting. - B

  3. I’m hooked - love to visit ruins, encounter ghosts, and read about them, so your poem went straight to my heart and soul. I love the idea of each ruin ‘with no tomorrow of its own’ and the ‘casket full of glass for magpies’, something else I’m fond of. We poets are magpies scrounging bits of other people’s lives, deaths and remains. My favourite phrase is ‘shadow beds for weary ghosts’. I also love the alliteration and image in the opening lines of the second poem, rainy ruins and ravens are a magnet, as are the private jokes of ghosts!

  4. first, a great quote.

    then, a pair of finely crafted 55's, evoking not so much nostalgia, as a clear-eyed recognition of all that's built will one day fall. ~


"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats