Imagist by Paul Brookes

Worms Of

light bury through wooden clouds.
Insubstantial trees disappear, or are reshaped
by sunlight and gust. They bucket down leaves,
make the earth sodden with them. Rain making,
thunder making anvil shaped trees make rainbows.
You can see the grain in the clouds.

Depending upon how and where 
gust and light saw through wooden clouds, 
defines their grain, curly,straight or flat 
in relation to their growth rings.

I splish and splash paving slabs
sending concrete waves and ripples
to either side. Dive into the pavement,
backstroke through crazy paving.

Have You

seen the face of flowers?
A furrowed brow of lavender.
The skin folds of a rosebloom.
Gustblown fascinator of a Daisy.

A lily with its yellow tongue out.
A field full of closed mouth Tulips.
Climb a mantelpiece of mountains.
Pass the ornaments added to
by every visitor. Step carefully round
the opened envelopes of scree.

An affectionate crown of thorns
The gentle stigmata of a caress.
The spiked maiden of your hug.
Thumbscrews of our hand holding.

Look out of the windows of the moon
Let in a fresh air of stars. Street furniture
of an ancient wood. A sofa of raised roots.
Trees become lampstands ready
for the moonlight bulbs to be switched on
in their crowns, meanwhile sunlight bulbs move
from crown to crown. A shared lighting display.

What wallpaper did you choose for your face
before you went out? Large red open flowers
with a brown background? Anaglypta?
The red brick wall, or geometric lines?
Watch out for those with cat faces
who may use your face as a scratching post.

Skirting board round the hem of a room.
Are we under the dress of this lounge?
Or are we outside admiring the folds
of paint or wallpaper the room has chosen
from her wardrobe? Colour matching
the carpet and three piece suite
under or outside the skirt.

Walk carefully over the floorboards
of cirrus and nimbus. Especially,
at night when you don't want
them to creak and wake up
the house. Watch yourself
on the cumulonimbus,
one false move could see a downpour.
Your socks polish these clouds.
They sparkle, after mop and bucket work. 

Bone Colours

This morning sky is a blue bone,
winter tree branches untouched
by gust. Sky breathes easy
amongst the silhouettes.

Sometimes there are holes in the sky
and you can hear a bone flute
Naked branches become Aeolian harps,
plucked by gust, sky's breath.

The White bone walks
across itself using its body
as music. Hear the voice
of itself. The voice goes ahead

The body follows the sound
from bright light to bright light
from cirrus to nimbus
from gust to gale

The white bones is talking.
It walks across the sky.
A sunlight and moonlight path.
At night it is a black bone.

As if the sky is ash. A cremation
of the blue and white into grey.
Night is the burial time.
Day is the resurrection time.

The sky is a white bone
made of clouds.
Thunder is percussion
of lightning against bone.

A Knifeblock

Winter's knife block
is the key to unlock
sharp and keen edges
slice tracery and pages

of thin skin let flow
blood juice, let know
a thin line between
the bone and the dream.

Every Bone is

a word
We grow into, one
that may learn to stand,
Uncertainly before the first step.

Others may crash their words
against us, to show
how their strong
meaning and confidence,

might replace
our word with another.
Our words hold our frame up,
a scaffold to others.

Every word is a bone
coming out of your mouth,
wishbones, charmbones,
angerbones, lustbones.

Smallbones stick in your throat,
largebones make your mouth 
bulge as they muscle out
between your incisors,

bang against your molars,
restrict your tongue, breath
blocked, wordbones hard 
to utter through spit and mucus.

My Mop Bucket(Apologies to William Blake)

I create moods with mop and bucket.
My chiascuro is very expressive.
My brush is very free. I learn
from the Old Masters.

My floors are landscapes.
Spillages become portraits.
Accidents are worked in
In my head there is colour

on my mop that describes
dashes and dots. I'm a mophead
full of bright colours I dip into
and out of my bucket. No two

floors are the same.
I'm a buckethead.
Washing away the muck,
remaking it I imagine outside.

Different temperatures,
gusts, light. Bring them all 
into my bucket.

To see the world in a mop
And Heaven in a bucket.
Infinity in a dustpan,
And Eternity in a brush.

A One Eye

The sky is a skull.
One eye is the moon.
One eye is the sun,
The sky only uses one eye.
The one eye of the moon
waxes and wanes, sometimes
a crescent eye, sometimes full,
the blood eye, harvest eye,
wolf eye, hare eye, storm eye,
chaste eye, Blue eye, seed eye,
corn eye, snow eye, mead eye.
Ocean eye works the tides.
Draw down the eye lit
by light borrowed 
from the other
eye of the skull.

Bio: Shop Assistant. Writer and performer. Books include  Please Take Change,  A World Where, As Folk Over Yonder. Latest: Wonderland in Alice...
Twitter @PaulDragonwolf  for the Wombwell Rainbow Blog. 

our god sleeps by Paul Brookes – poetry

Israel, Galilee, Kin, Kineret, Kinneret, Tiberias

photo from Pixabay

First published in Rhythm N Bones Lit

our god sleeps

with his gob open.
When he opens his gob
It could be dawn, noon, or midday.
whenever we must awake
to work in the mountains.
The mountains of god's tongue.

They shake and gust blows.
We must find
our balance.
Hunt for food
on the undulations.

Never know
when god will close his mouth
for night to fall, again.

Sometimes night is short.

Folk say there is life
over the mountains
in god's teeth

None have returned.

Sonnet Series: “Wombwell Cemetery” by Paul Brookes

About Bats: The Chiroptera Sonnets by Paul Brookes

Folktober Sonnets by Paul Brookes

Guest Feature – Paul Brookes

3 Poems by Paul Brookes in Fevers of the Mind:   Her Fiftieth, Her Fur Elise, A Black Bead

Arachnida Sonnets by Paul Brookes (an occasional series)

The Insect Sonnets by Paul Brookes

Anthology Post: Finding a Wonderland in Alice by Paul Brookes (poetry)

Folktober Sonnets by Paul Brookes

Autumnal Green Man

Spiders thread my lips lightly together.
My leaves become their actual colours
and fall from my face, red, yellow, ochre.
My voice rustle of green leaves is no more.

I am the scent of ripe apple and pear.
I am the rain on sodden bark, slow time.
My days shorter, dark sooner, light rarer.
I am burning leaves. Face of Harvest time.

After the fires, my mouth nose and eyes spout green
shoots, new leaves bud and grow on my barkskin.
I flourish once more. An aspect of dream.
Memory of ice. Warmth without, within.

In stone, wood or paper I decay lose
definition, but still my image grows

2. Erl-King

Hear the gust music my air blows through this reed?
Inhabits your ear, delights all your senses.
A new birdsong, fresh animal track, beads
a sprightly beat, warm summer days, tenses

new sugar tastes on your tongue, blood hums your bones.
Now you see me, in rich purple, rare blue.
Your mouth opens, I reach out, touch your grown
laughter, imprison your youth in situ.

I am your first child who needs shelter, hugs,
clothes, your patience and long conversations.
I am your elderly parents that tug
at their recall more and more frustration.

Enticed by freedom find yourselves in chains.
I laugh and play a sprightly flute on your pains.

3. Freybug

"Be not afraid of fray-bugs which lie in
the way." so English martyr describes me
1555. I'm a frightening
 obstacle to overcome. Popery

railed against, authority imprisoned
him, requested he recant, he refused.
They ordered him burnt He welcomed
hugged stake said it was cross of Christ. And loosed,

" Welcome Everlasting life!" Not afraid
of me when he met me in various
ways. Burnt February of year he made
mention of me his words always pious.

Some say I'm reason, today's way who blocks
fanaticism, shows easy paths plot.

4. I, Ginny Greenteeth

I, Ginny Greenteeth invite all of you,
boys and girls to dance and play on this green
mat, I've laid out especially for you.
Look how the sun shines on it. The wild sheen

invites your feet to press upon it, fetch
football to its wonderful pitch, not
scuffed up and muddy but fresh and fine, stretch
your legs, leap on this cool turf goal spot.

Don't read those old, battered out of date signs.
Don't listen to uncool mam and dad bleat
to you about playing safe. Where's the fun time
in that? Risk it for a biscuit. Compete.

I will take you where you can play all day.
Step on this duckweed, don't do as they say.

5. We Were Green

tending to flocks of mother and dad's big cattle,
we hear clapping of bells, a call
to colour of bells, we fell into twig
of twilight, a dark cave of hammers fall.

They said our words were not understanding,
so we went with them, our garb they were not
knowing, and we were green and lazing
They took us with them to a big door knock.

Inside they passed foul tastes bruv and me were
having none of until we could split pods
roll the bean inside our strange tongues slur
and soon we were pink again and their god

taught us their way of understanding to
I can say these things. Am servant and do.

6. The Marden Mermaid

Bell banging, clattering keeps me awake. 
so rope that held it snaps and it rolls here. 
Sunk into my home this bright stream's intake. 
I wrap myself inside it, searchers near. 

I sleep while twelve white freemartins with yokes 
of sacred yew and mountain ash bands dredge 
and men bind rope to bell, drawn out by folk
in needful silence. Raised to river's edge, 

I asleep inside. Excited driver 
calls out, "In spite of all the devil's in 
hell, now we'll land Marden's great bell.", diver 
with bell I announce "If it had not been

for your wittern bands and your yew tree pin, 
I'd have had your twelve freemartins in!" 

*Freemartin was a sterile cow 

7. Sheela Na Gig

I sit in stone above this church door. 
You must crane your neck to see me carved here. 
I am bald naked my pendulous raw 
breasts hang just above my spread legs. Come near. 

Life enters and returns to me. What 
is it about me that fascinates you? 
Celebrate my fertility and shock 
of my age. Once I was hidden from view. 

I was in darkness, a cloth thrown over 
me. Somebody was ashamed of what they 
saw in me. Cloth lifted, life unsmothered. 
Folk passing through my door see my display. 

I don't know why I was placed so high up. 
I look down, vulnerable, opened up. 

8. I, Owlman

I, Owlman fly above the church steeple 
in corrugated cardboard wings made by mum, stapled and brown sellotaped in full. 
Didn't mean to scare those girls who walked by. 

My feathers are all soggy in the rain, fall 
apart. Soon owl will go, leaving just me. 
Mum took sharp scissors and curled all 
these brown paper strips now all soggy. 

Kitchen roll tubes are like a skeleton 
under my wings. My claws weren't very sharp, 
so I used kitchen knives after she passed on. 

My late mum is an owl now with a harp. 
I used to only go out in the dark 
as an owl. Now I, Owlman in my heart. 

9. Every Woman Needs To Be a Dryad

I am all my tree, and my tree is me.
Cut my bark, and I bleed. I float on leaves.
Lay your back against my skin, tell story
after story. Words are my memories.

I asked to be a tree when He refused
to leave me alone. Endlessly chased.
I got tired of always being abused.
He says my sexiness makes him sex crazed.

As if it is my fault He feels like that.
Told Him I don't make Him do anything.
He's responsible, His choice how He acts.
As a tree I hide, watch all happenings.

Every women needs a secret place.
A place where she has no fear to face.

10. The Standing Stone

I am just stood standing here. Don't know why? 
Folk gawk at me, as for a miracle. 
Run their fingers through spirals chiselled by 
someone who had a reason to channel

their beliefs into my solid body. 
Probably same folk who quarried and moved 
me here, raised me up here meaningfully. 
Stone doesn't hurt, doesn't bleed. Pressured

into what I am. You make me something special. Set me up for some strange purpose. - Once I must have had some meaning. 
I find meaning in holding up the skies range. 

I may topple over at some near time. 
Till then I'm stood standing, a weathered sign. 

11. A Jabberwock

Welcome, Welcome a frumly Jabberwock. 
Put away your leptimous gronky blade. 
Its harkless flames are spidgeons on umnous clock. 
Mouth your impsy words flunty pullisades. 

Welcome, Welcome a durkast Jabberwock. 
Offer it afterswoon tea and lockly scones, 
raise a swabbly glass to its fibblywock, 
raise another to its true coddlemoan. 

Lets celebrate one another's jull, 
in this grameless land where pomelders play 
amongst sundblast and tough crockly mimples, 
Sleep mafely in the grummidge of today. 

Only when we grell of ourselves in horkly, 
can we live gethertookness in borkly. 

12.  I'm a Hobgoblin

I help you out round the house at nighttime. 
I'm naked but for all these hairs on me. 
"You mucky bugger." Your wife sees my grime. 
"Your hairs all over the bloody bath. Look .See." 

She does not know me, per our old agreement. 
"Have you been washing livestock in this bath? 
These hairs are too coarse to be yours. I've spent 
too long cleaning up, after you. All faff. 

I'm better off on my own. You make work." 
Your wife's rant might mean I don't get fed. Neat. 
I'l sour your milk. Clog your drains. Can't catch jerk. 
I'm an ornament, I'm a bucket. Fleet. 

Can't trust you when you lie to your fine wife. 
She should marry hobgoblin, get a life. 

13. I, Blackthorn

My leaves in autumn yellow, winter fall 
leave me a stark twisted black skeleton. 
I dwell on woodland edge as thicket wall 
hedgerow. Hawthorn, Elder companions. 

My barkskin rough, scaly, bright orange flood 
under my dark grey surface, thickets dark, 
dense, thorny, sapwood light yellow, heartwood 
brown. Thorns long and sharp if pricked, turn septic. Mark

musk-scented small, delicate, white flowers 
oval petalled cluster into a star 
shape early spring. Blossoms, thin, rounder 
tooth edged white, with red-tipped threads. Globular

small blue-black or deep purplish, round lip glossed 
summer berries ripen after first frost. 

14. I, Nucklalevee

My mouth is wide, I breathe on your ripe crops 
make them wilt, breathe plague into your horses. 
My vein and muscle is not wrapped and topped 
by skin, poisoned and scalded by doses

of water from the black sky I retreat 
into saltwater waves back to mother 
who tries to keep me close bound to her sweet 
all the length of the hot days in summer. 

Come winter my hooves canter ashore, two headed, 
my horse head a living wave, tall 
as if a rider my body grown through 
the horses back, my other head, one eye ball, 

wide mouth agape, my arms trail down touch earth, 
I bring drought, disease, your prayers and worse. 

15. A Cerne Abbas Giant

Once fully clothed, a cape over my left
arm whose hand carried a head by its hair,
a knobbly cudgel in my right I heft.
Soon my carried head and cape is not there.

And someone carves an erect appendage.
First a stubby thing then made to include
my belly button. I reflect this age.
My chalk refreshed regularly. A prude

I can't be. Once they hid, tried to get rid
of this added bit. Now all is brightened.
I'm cared for, watched over, weathered, In spit
and shine, folk climb me, perhaps enlightened.

I'm what you make of me, you fetch yourself,
and all you've been through, your wealth.

16. By Peg Powler

You call me a hag. Foam flecks on water,
are my suds, thin layer here is my cream.
How beautiful are your ankles closer,
closer now to the edge of my fine stream.

Let me look. Let me see your lovely skin
and delicate bone. I had to grab one
to feel it's soft curve, to taste blood within.
Let me take you down, where there is no sun.

Come canny lads and lasses, you're my bait,
delicious food, playing close to the edge.
Let me take you to my place in the spate,
where no one tells you what and when, my fledge.

I'm more than a warning of dangerous water. 
I'll not starve. Kids are nutritious.

17. A Queen of Elfthame

I rule a nameless land, my glamour shines 
a clear skinned thin high cheeked young 
woman whom 
some human males boast conquered many times, 
will find a gift from faerie has its own boon. 

It will ask that they lose what they treasure most. 
More they stroke my thighs in private, more humans notice their magic measure, 
more kiss my full lips more public their fate. 

They name this land and define those within. 
It's name will stay unknown to them, as will life of those bairns from our togethering. 
These men will burn as witches, a deal fulfilled. 

I will coddle these halflings, my children. 
They'll be a bridge between our rich living. 

18. I'm An Apple Tree Man

invented as good stories to engross. 
Perhaps I'm real in imagination. 
I am wizenned as a rotting fruit loss, 
Muscled as toughest barkskins creation. 

Make up tales about me and this orchard. 
A penniless man sups his last cider, 
rests his back against one of my trees hard 
skin, I appear and find him gold and finer. 

Perhaps Lord or Lady of Dreams gifted 
you visions, that's why sources are hazy 
tales told so well, they are uplifted, 
so readers wish them authentic story. 

Telling false from true is necessity. 
A good tale told lives in the memory. 

19. The Sin Eater

As you die I'll feast on your thou shalt nots. 
My fried chips is your lust for another. 
My boiled egg is your envy of others lot. 
Roast beef is your thieving from your brother. 

This lean bacon is your Pride. So proudful. 
These baked beans are your endless gluttony, 
Laziness your job, turnip your Slothful. 
Salt and pepper Wrath forever angry. 

Thank you to your family and friends pence 
and free meal of bread and ale. The rest dream 
I dreamt myself with each mouthful. Have sense 
shun me now. Your dead Heaven bound serene. 

I'll heft these inside myself. Pale Hunger 
my constant friend for a short while longer. 

20.  A Mordiford Dragon

Her mum and dad told Maud don't bring that here, 
over our threshold, take it back where you got it from, so she returns me to a near 
wood, feeds me milk filched from fat cows and ewes. 

Grown out of milk, she fetches rats and cats. 
Soon my wings are broad and wide, I ascend. 
Maud is so small from here. I swoop on fat 
beef and tasty sheep to slaughter and rend. 

No, no, no. She screams at me. I'm hungry 
I tell her. Soon her friends the villagers 
are marching armed towards my wood, angry. 
One lances through my neck. Fatal damage. 

I imagine her parents saying I 
told you so. Maud weeps for me as I die. 

21. Dorset Ooser

I'm a mask. Two holes for eyes where there 
are no eyes. Inside these small spaces is a 
larger place where a brain would be where 
thinking would take place and a tongue to say

what comes to mind, instead I'm emptiness. 
When you wear me I don't have your brain, 
tongue, but you are different more or less 
from when you don't wear me, you're not the same. 

I have horns and a moveable jaw. When 
you speak through me, I don't speak. I always 
say nothing. You have all the words to bend 
to thoughts I never have. These word ways

are a mystery to me. How am I 
speaking now? I'm only a mask. So why? 

22. A Lincoln Imp

Tell you why I'm motionless here, grinning 
down at you. Satan let us out to play. 
Mate and I sat on a church spire twisting 
it. Chesterfield never had better days. 

Next we blew through that door. Tripped up Bishop. 
So serious. In the Angel Choir broke 
chairs and tables till angel out a hymn book 
told us to stop, so I lobbed stones at bloke

while mate scarpers to Grimsby, where angel 
catches him,smacks his arse, turns him to 
as he did to me. At least mate can waggle his smacked arse at visitors I'm alone. 

Need a bit of fun in this God given 
place packed full of all praying and hymning. 

23. My Wyvern

I am what you make of me. Make of me
what you will. In my wake is grass marked, 
slime, or frogspawn and flounders spawned? Angry
twine of my knotted tail, my temper dark
and venomous? An image on a shield, 
a tattoo on your skin. Bat winged, razor 
claws. I'm Tyrannosaurus Rex revealed.
or Pterodactyl, extinct become lore.
Mouth open forked tongue often out. Beware,
an image will attach itself to you.
It's not me. Simplifies me. You declare.
I'm more complicated than this crude view.
I'm called a dreadful creature, by some. Seen,
maligned by others . I'm found in between.

24. I'm Cailleach

I constantly move under my own weight.
I slowly deform, flow under stresses
induced by my own weight to create 
seracs, formed by intersecting crevasses.
Old hag's stick strike makes ice, hammer makes hills,
moves mountains. I am Queen of the Winter.
I freeze your bones, give you the shake of chills.
I'm earth mover, rock breaker, bone splitter.
I'm a one-eyed giantess with white hair, dark 
blue skin, and rust-coloured teeth. Glacier
I'm retreating, losing fight with heats mark
melts me increases ocean, disappear.
I'm a divine hag who is more and more 
absent.  Soon I will be myth and folklore

25. To My Will-o'-the Wisp

Follow my light my love. I will lead you home, where it's warm and cosy, a welcome
after bone crunching cold,that leads you askew,
after unsafe ground makes you slip, fall undone.

Succumb to my will-o'-the-wisp, Hope's way. This is not quicksand it is a loving
embrace. This is not a cliff edge but play
of freedom. A step into excitement proving

our Will knows how you can be the best
you can be. Lights in the dark are homely,
comfort when all around is danger's test.
Let our lights take you in. Don't be lonely.

Please, please, please let us lead your weary way.
Our aim in life is to lead you astray.

26. I, Black Annis

am an anchoress made scarer of children.
I am a woman on her own, my needs
alone with my God in supplication.
When a woman knows her own mind it leads

to folk being afeard. Folk start to invent,
as it's not normal how I am and act.
My long crooked fingers enter homes bent
to steal their naughty children, threat is fact.

Dead, my faithfulness to Him forgotten,
I am a warning story to control
their offspring, a monster to haunt dreams when,
a good, hard telling off doesn't work at all.

Price of a woman's determination
to live her own life in hibernation.

27. Wary Lunantisihde

Moon faerie they call us who guard Blackthorn.
Cailleach's stick. We worship her who only 
uncovers parts of her face, then full on
face. She is crescent, blood, blue, wolf, Barley.

I'm spiky like the gnarled thorns of our home.
We curse all who threaten our place, break her
inhabited heart, this beautiful crone.
lit by storm, chaste, seed, corn, dyad, mead, hare.

Red sap, white flowers, black bark. The year's, 
a life's, the moon's waning, celebrates all 
change with my long arms, legs and pointed ears.
I'm one you struggle through, a sharp wall.

Both moon and tree are our close belonging.
Bark, berries and leaves clean blood, are healing.

28. I Am Mari Lwyd

Horse skull on a stick carried door to door
by men anxious for food and drink. We sing
to be welcomed in, often more and more
as those within do not to let us in.
My eyes glass bottle bottoms. My skull dressed
in bells and ribbons, reveller beneath 
my sackcloth. I am the undead mare. Blessed
is home let's me in, responds to my brief
"Well here we come. Innocent friends. To ask 
leave. To ask leave. To ask leave to sing." And
in I will neighing gallop in my mask
round your home. Snap my jaw. Restrained by hand
playfully by my fellow mates to stop
me playin up a riot. And on we trot.

29. A Kelpie

Children see a horse beside this water. 
Tempted to come over and stroke my mane. 
I let them do so and their hand sticks there. 
They can't yank it free, I walk their pain

towards the water. They don't want to drown. 
Take out a blade. Cut and cut and cut. 
Blood merges with waves. I take his hand down, 
into the depths. Bloody stump lets up. 

Tomorrow, I'm a beautiful woman. 
Tempted to come over and stroke my hair. 
I let him do so and his hand holds on. 
I let him do so and his hand sticks there. 

Resist all but temptation these humans. 
I drown those overcome by emotion. 

30. Lambton Worm

Old bloke warns lad no good comes from missing 
church. As lad casts a line I snap maggot 
Service ends. Bloke tells him he's netting
a Devil. Lobs me down a well to rot. 

Lad now man is off to Crusades to do penance for his youthful and rebel ways. 
Well becomes poisonous as I grow too.
Local livestock delicious, kids good prey. 

Coil myself round a hill, then to Lambton 
Castle where lads father offers me milk 
of nine good cows daily. Twenty gallon. 
Soon son will return, kill me, curse his ilk. 

I am the ear worm for songs, a simple tale. 
Don't neglect your God, or your folk will fail. 

31. My Screaming Skull

Fetched back to my beloved hall. Tell all 
"I'll not rest, unless I, or part of me 
at least remain here, in our beautiful 
home as long as it lasts. My head must be

separated from my body and placed 
on a table in this hall." They bury 
me intact in our churchyard. I raged 
loud crashes and bangs in the night. Sully

my last wish will they? Disinterred they shocked 
to find my body detached from fleshless grinning skull. I'm desire to be home locked. 
I'm many wishes or else cause distress. 

Don't rip me out of my own belonging 
you'll find home a world you don't belong in. 

Sonnet Series: “Wombwell Cemetery” by Paul Brookes

About Bats: The Chiroptera Sonnets by Paul Brookes

Arachnida Sonnets by Paul Brookes (an occasional series)

The Insect Sonnets by Paul Brookes

Sonnet Series: “Wombwell Cemetery” by Paul Brookes


“A simple gentleman, the best of sports
men, and a very gallant soldier.” Your
superior F. A. M. Webster, sports
chronicler and soldier told what he saw.

Strength of your arm lob a training grenade
in an exercise seventy five yards
of a Bull Ring. Heard song your violin made.
Summer Olympics athlete field and track.

Your Somme bomber battalion got caught
leading way home exposed in the open,
between the wires. Ambulanceman, Sam sought
but never found his dead brother again.

Your mam died when you were two, her gravestone
now yours, a simple commemoration.

Struck Mr. Kay

5.20 a.m. on Tuesday it were.
I were walking to work through Wombwell woods,
when a great storm overtook us, fair
surprised us watta comin' dahn. I stood

wi Mr. Kay under a beech tree, known not
to be struck by leetnin. Not five minutes
when we were all skittled. Tell thee I'd not
heard crack, nor seen leetnin afore hit us.

Mark Kay were assistant colliery checkweighman at Wombwell. Awake and wick
first I went to gamekeeper's house for to see,
fetch help, on return. found his soul had flit.

Reet sorrowful for his wife. Distraught. No money comin. In God's hands her sorrow.

Fallen Angel

An angel once stood there, she was certain. 
They found its face buried in graveyard soil, 
body snapped off of its pedestal, one 
wing broken off. No record how despoiled. 

One stab into ground with a metal pole found her. Angels in the Bible are male. 
A child's face, a new wing, regains her role 
Head bowed, one hand clasps a wrist whose white pale

palm holds a wreath. The only angel 
in the graveyard. Disinterred and repaired. 
Children enjoy the graveyard tales we tell. 
Local heroes and tragic figures shared. 

Community folk remember the lost. 
recover our history, gain and cost. 

About Bats: The Chiroptera Sonnets by Paul Brookes

brown bat

photo by James Wainscoat (unsplash)

  1. The Alcathoe

Home high in splits, cracks and loose tree bark,
near water. I hear it in two ways. Crash
of tumble. Soft echo in our Hunting Dark.
Trees are Hardnesses in our flying Dash.

I may swarm He may chase me. We may
retreat to Darker and make young. Suckles
in my pouch. Then let it hang, while away
I skim leaves, snatch prey mid flight, food rustle

crunchy backed echoes, always hunt echoes
back. Amongst others know it’s cry and smell.
I hold it in my wings, soon its own wings
will learn flight in the Dark, it’s ears know well

a landscape of returning sound, nose scent
of prey, weathered woods, know home’s high ascent.

2. On Mexican Free-Tailed 1/3

To feed my baby I hunt from Lightdark
to Darklight. I remember its making.
He slowly, comes on grabs Her at the start
always by ear, the jaw, or neck, pulling
Her out of our crowd, moves onto Her back
biting scruff of Her neck. Holds Her. She yanks
away , He chirps faintly. She squeaks. Now back
with us Her face wounds bleed. She is pregnant.

He moves slowly onto my back, His ears
held low and eyes closed.. No neck-biting or
calls. I do not resist;  I groom myself, my ears
or sleep. Cold Time comes so we fly to Warm.

I give birth clinging upside down to stark
Dark thumbs and feet grasp. It wont fall to Dark.

Mexican Free-Tailed 2/3 Suckling
My baby is born naked, eyes open.
I carefully clean and nurse it. New-born
attached to me by thread. It'll be eaten
if it falls Below by hard scuttlers brawn.
I won't rescue it. We learn each other's
scent and voice before we separate. I
pull away to dislodge Bloodsac, unmother.
When dried it falls off child . Tenacious my
young use large feet and thumbs to hold on to 
Hard. It's tiny sharp teeth cling to mothers
or others. I put it among young, who
squeak, jostle, and crawl over each other.
After Hunt, find its call, muzzle top of it's head,
sniff, talk, raise my folded wing. It's breastfed.

A Mexican Free-Tailed 3/3 First Flight
I avoid several mid-air crashes
a breath. Rely on my untested guide
senses. Break my wings, get Belowed bashes
I'll be swarmed, stripped to bone in a breath's Wide.
First time I flew outside with our swarm, told
to watch for feathered claws that lie in wait
I found my first winged hard case, snatched by bold
one who jammed my echo. Learnt my mistake.
When Cold Time arrives we will fly to Warm. 
Gather outside entry to our Dark Home.
We will rise upwards, our gust makers form 
shapes in air in flight to our second Home.
We must rest and hang the journey, refresh. 
Mother says new home's food is tasty, fresh.

3. Barbastelle

All our food have ears, so we must use stealth.
They hear our echoes, make their own so we
hear theirs and think it ours. We must change depth
of our echo so they cannot hear. Free

to hunt, until they find new ways to stop
us. In flight I glean water as I skim
it, flit quick, echo up at Tallness top.
New echo works. Food is no longer thin.

Dark colder sooner. In Long Cold we must
enter Slow Time. Heart to few from many
beats, gathered together in Hard Dark roost.
All flitterers we ate feed our bellies.

Come Long Warm this heart will beat quicker, these
wings unfold hungry for flight and release.

4. The Golden-Crowned Flying Fox

I restrain Her from behind, bite Her neck. 
I approach Her, lick Her. She rejects me. 
I lick myself. Scratch my head, lick, flex 
my wing. Flap it. Flap it. Fan my body. 

It's too hot. As newborn my mother groomed 
me while she breastfed me. I lick my friend. 
We mock-bite, mock-wrestle. Recall she bloomed. 
Her wings shaking, Her chasing, biting ends, 

she rejects me. I hang sometimes by 
one foot, sometimes two, eyes open I stare 
around. I shake my wings, chase, bite, defy. 
Rub my neck or shoulder along branch share 

what's mine. Widely open my wings. Sleep, eyes 
closed wings around myself. Wake to more tries

5. A Bechstein's

I can smell the Tallness Tapper in Dark 
of its abandoned home. Come Dark outside 
I glean leaves to find food. Once our wings marked 
length, breadth of ancient Tallness in our glide.

It is ever less, and so are we. Shear 
beak carved out this roost in living Tallness 
beside water. Temporary home here 
we females move from Tall to Tall Darkness. 

beside water. Temporary home here 
we females move from Tall to Tall Darkness. 
He stays out there, sometimes on His own. We 
huddle together for warmth in Long Cold. 

When we swarm to find Him,to make babies. 
We make the New and listen to the Old. 
I hear the living Tallnesses tale tell 
amongst themselves about who stands who fell. 

6. Honduran White Bat

Briefly stay in many leaf homes we make.
First our teeth cut holes on leaf underside,
our feet and thumbs grab hold, our thumbs pull, take
it downwards, break some leaf fibers, decide

to abandon it. Continue others.
I and three more stay with Him in one, two
Long Darknesses, then move to another.
I cut and reshape other homes. Blown through

by gust or damaged by heavy rain I
abandon. He Often grooms himself, cuts
no work on our homes. Some groom and work. My
baby play shapes a broken leaf. Such

sharpen their making skills, use mouth and thumb.
Soon they will be shaping their own homespun.

7. The Ghost Bat

I see feathered ones silhouette against
Lightdark .It's chatter distinctive. In the 
Hollow Darkness I eat its head first. Wrenched
feet and wings pile up underneath me.
I brought it to ground, my thumb claws held 
it down, my wings enveloped it, my teeth
bit its neck, until it's squawk and flap stilled.
I suckled at mother's teat till my teeth
grew sharp. Sat and waited for prey with her.
She taught me how to call, hear their echoes.
Their croak and slither, skitter and flitter.
Told me invisible barbs, no one knows
when or how they appear will shred our wings 
no matter how we struggle against things

8. Brown Long-Eared

At rest I tuck my ears under my wings, 
or curl them back. I fly low and slow, 
hear their flutter, I follow tight stalling 
turns, my nose makes sounds returned as echo

heard by my ears, almost as big as me. 
I hover glean leaves, as I get closer 
whisper pulses echo a buzz. I see 
their uneatable wings that I'll render

onto waste piles underneath where I feast. 
Before Long Cold Her and I make a child. 
Then both of us will Slow Time, do the least. 
Start of Long Warm She births a nipple thrived. 

Holds to her and her milk while she hunts Dark. 
Her rich sup will bring it up to see its mark. 

Arachnida Sonnets by Paul Brookes (an occasional series)

The Insect Sonnets by Paul Brookes

Introducing the Marine Sonnets by Paul Brookes

The Unresolveables (An Heroic Crown Sonnet Sequence) by Paul Brookes at (sonnets 1-15)

Anthology Post: Finding a Wonderland in Alice by Paul Brookes (poetry)

3 Poems by Paul Brookes in Fevers of the Mind: Her Fiftieth, Her Fur Elise, A Black Bead

%d bloggers like this: