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against darkness and ice


beneath spangling skies our ancestors

battle against shortening days and biting ice

in flight and fight from claw and fang

generations    spurred by struggles


tease and hone to set a trap

watchful until the moment when

fire is caged by smooth round cobbles

                                  blaze controlled

                                  rage contained


fire performs when nudged

wood-fed poor dead things   empty of sap

laced with bobs of rabbit fur trailed from thickets

air razed to agitate and flirt the flame


dancing orange and yellow

traced with licks of blue-green

adding its own pitch of sizzle and hiss

                    small hunted edibles spit-turned

                    drip fat to flare 


after the exuberant display   

 fire feels the famine

 fallen furious into a box of lint and flint

                 destined to smoulder until revived again

                a nexus for every moment since 

                                                      good or evil  



and the rain fell


cooling microscopic droplets    gravity governed

collide and expand   density determined

they explode on earthly surfaces


that airplane is drenched as it cloud-slices

gaining height to avoid the tempest


those birds    preened slick    don’t even quiver

immune to the fall of tight packed molecules


unfazed the concrete city    glides to a rush in grey light

as water purges through gullies    silver-toned back to the sea


ancient trees are mist-crowned and cloaked in liquid diamonds

welcoming this essential dressing down    every time


it reaches into crowds of hunched shoulders and splish-splash feet

even the sugar-minded find a secret joy in this renewal


watertight the cars confirm their potency

waving away  the watery blur with each to and fro swipe


it falls on you    on the baby’s head

sitting on that bench   lucky brolly deployed


and throaty grumbles of countless cats rumble  

unlike Schrodinger’s they just want to exist in one state   dry


finally    racing along curved blades of green grass 

into the earth   the sky salve is delivered again



night fear


beyond the artificial  buzz of street lights

tar dark nights recast homely impressions


sweet tap of raindrops prattling along the downpipe

lunge to revamp as thick slick blood soured by the

butcher-sharp knives    mainlining mayhem into the earth


the jacket’s jaunty drape   loose- hung    on the door

refashions to a fearsome glaring figure   deep-set eyes

a crooked nose    half  hood hidden consuming the air


hypnotic washing on the line moves from a lazy flap

to reawaken wings of unspeakable night demons

whip-cracking and yowling in their wild ghostly rodeo


playful barks from neighbourhood dogs revise

their tone and timbre  fierce fangs froth

demanding the release of the hounds of hell    or else


the swing of branches ease into the swag of shrubs

revised in silhouette the sinister troupe crowd close

and closer still   ready to smother and crush  your world


twilight logic garbling clues once solved by daylight

spar in sticky treacle conjuring bone chilling alternatives

to thwart the release of sleep

Geraldine Fleming reconnected with creative writing after retirement. Her poetry and prose have appeared in many anthologies and journals. In 2022, two poems were published in Community Arts Partnership Anthology, Threshold, and her poem Cartographer was long listed for the Seamus Heaney Award. The following year a poem was published in the annual CAP anthology, Compass. She has published a short story collection, Curiosity, January 2023 and a poetry collection, Fractured Echoes, June 2023, both by Impspired Press.

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