May fair – poem for dVerse

I’ve seen her shimmer in the face
of the May Queen, just before she’s crowned,
and glimmer in the eyes of the guy
with the tattoos tracing up his arm,
and a pint to finish outside the Black Horse,
and tears in his eyes as he remembers
lost love, lost days.

I’ve seen her tangle the dancers’ ribbons,
and smooth them out with a smile,

and I’ve seen her hips sway in tatty denim,
in tight skirt, in a rustle of sugared petticoat,
in floral cotton, in checks and stripes,
and the curve of her moving
to the sound of the silver band,

and her scent is wild gorse – coconut ice –
and candy floss, and the sweat
of the working man,

and she’s the first kiss,
and the skirt up behind the waltzers,
and the splash of vodka
in a plastic cup
and a waft of weed
and the laughter of children
and the tinny sound of
the merry-go-round

and I’ve seen her marching
in knee high boots,
tossing her hair and
twirling her baton,
and I’ve seen her waving
from a carnival float,
and I’ve seen her dressed in white,
in pink, in blue, in yellow,
in white again

and I’ve seen her laughter rise
like a silver balloon
into the darkening sky.

Amaya’s hosting at dVerse tonight, and we’re thinking about Carnival – or at least the carnival spirit. We don’t have carnival here, but in my local town we have the May Fair. It’s a massive thing, the whole town shuts down, the schools are closed, and everybody comes out to party. It is mayhem, and there are always lots of stories to be whispered afterwards.

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Spring is coming – quadrille for dVerse

Old crone blackthorn
has veiled her spikes
in living lace,
crowned herself
with virgin blossom,
and black cat winter
has sheathed her claws.

Gorse is a yellow cry
on the hillside,
primrose
is a whisper

and there’s a bird singing
in every tree.

De is hosting at dVerse tonight – spiking poems, not drinks! We’re quadrilling – 44 words, including the word “spike” tonight.

The ocean joins us – pantoum by Sarah and Gina

The ocean here is cold, and fierce, and grey,
The waves create an imprint on the sand.
The shore you walk is many miles away,
Ripples connecting our earth end to end.

The waves create an imprint in the sand,
My footprints mark the way that I have come –
Ripples connecting our earth end to end,
One ocean glimmering beneath one sun.

My footprints mark the way that I have come,
The path ahead is long and yet unknown,
One ocean glimmering beneath one sun,
I see other footprints, I know am not alone.

The path ahead is long and yet unknown –
I wait for stars to shine and as I wait
I see other footprints. I know I’m not alone,
Yet I’m afraid to follow, I hesitate –

I wait for stars to shine, and as I wait
The shore you walk is many miles away
Yet I’m afraid to follow, I hesitate
The ocean here is cold, and fierce, and grey

Gina at https://alifelesslivedblog.wordpress.com/ is our host for this month’s dVerse form – the pantoum. In her excellent introduction to the form, she mentioned the Malaysian tradition of creating shared pantoums at weddings. I was intrigued, and invited her to join me in creating a shared pantoum – and here is the finished piece. We provided alternate rhyming couplets. I’m really pleased with how it worked out, and I think I learned a lot about the writing technique for pantoums while doing it. Thank you for sharing this with me, Gina – it was a great experience! I recommend it.

I got to choose the subject (and the title!). Gina’s blog has a picture of a beach, and I live near the ocean too. I guess the same water has rolled up on my shore in Devon, England, and Gina’s shore in Malaysia.

Time to – poem for dVerse

We’re not planting yet,
just digging. The long roots
of couch grass playing out
through the cool soil,
and the deep fingers
the dandelions send down
down down and the stones,
as if they were a crop themselves,
to be thrown in the barrow –
bell clang dull thud –
and the words strung
between us, planted like seeds,
the conversation growing
and drifting like those
parasol seeds from the
dandelion’s white clock.

Lillian is hosting at dVerse tonight, and we are thinking about this verse from Ecclesiastes:


“For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.”
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 American Standard Version (ASV).

Lillian is hosting at dVerse tonight, and we are thinking about this verse from Ecclesiastes:


“For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.”
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 American Standard Version (ASV).

March – haibun for dVerse

March is the toddler month – on the first day she brought us sunshine and led us out to the vegetable patch. On the second day she screamed a gale and threw rain clouds across the sky. I don’t know what to wear today, or what her mood will be like.

golden celandine

primrose tucked beneath the hedge

sunlight on the grass

Merrill is hosting at dVerse tonight and we are writing haibuns. I’m trying to make my haibuns shorter and tighter at the moment – as is traditional.

Sarah and Gina’s pantoum

The ocean here is cold, and fierce, and grey

The shore you walk is many miles away

Gina is leading us through the pantoum this month. DVerse is looking at different forms – we’ve had the sonnet, the rubaiyat, and now the pantoum. Go over to her original post for a really good description.

When I was reading Gina’s post, this caught my eye:
In Malaysia, my home country, the pantun is still very popular at weddings where the older relatives from both sides of the bridal party will exchange love “pantun” blessing the newlyweds a blissful first night together and a long happy marriage.

What an amazing idea – I would love to have had that at my wedding! Though I’m not sure what the in-laws would have come up with…

Anyhow, I wondered if we could do something similar online, so these lines are the A and C lines of the first verse of Sarah and Gina’s joint pantoum. We’ll add to it in the comments, and see how it goes!

Driving to the hospital. Pantoum for dVerse

I should know this by now, this stop and start
traffic that’s not going anywhere –
we surge and stop, just like a beating heart –
going nowhere, seeking somewhere.

Traffic that’s not going anywhere.
I’m trapped, like wasp in golden amber,
going nowhere, seeking somewhere,
wanting to get there, but not be there.

I’m trapped, like wasp in golden amber,
heading slowly, half wishing it were slower,
wanting to get there, but not be there,
wish it would start, or not start, or be over –

heading slowly, half wishing it were slower,
and the guy in the next car grins at me,
wish it would start, or not start, or be over –
I smile back. Why not? Smiles are free.

The guy in the next car grins at me,
he moves ahead, and then he falls behind.
I smile back – why not? – smiles are free –
he doesn’t know the stuff that’s on my mind.

He moves ahead, and then he falls behind.
but really, I’m not moving here at all –
he doesn’t know the stuff that’s on my mind,
the fear of stepping out, fear of freefall.

And really, I’m not moving here at all,
I surge and stop, just like a beating heart,
the fear of stepping out, fear of freefall –
I should know it by now, this stop and start.

Another pantoum – I was trying to think of things that ebb and flow the way the repetitions do in this form. Feedback very welcome on this one. It’s a bit rough and ready. For Gina at dVerse.

Pebbles – pantoum for dVerse

I’m thinking now of all the time we spent,

Heads together,with the wild gulls crying,

Carefully choosing – some stayed, and some went –

And all the while, the sea sighing.

Heads together, with the wild gulls crying,

We chose one if it gave us pleasure,

And all the while, the sea sighing,

As we amassed our glittering treasure

We chose one if it gave us pleasure

We brought it home, a fragment of our past,

As we amassed our glittering treasure:

A twisting shell, a sea-worn piece of glass.

We brought it home, a fragment of our past,

When you were young, and muddy, and ran wild

A twisting shell, a sea-worn piece of glass,

A stick, a stone, all treasure to a child

When you were young, and muddy, and ran wild

Carefully choosing – some stayed and some went –

A stick, a stone, all treasure to a child:

I’m thinking now of all the time we spent.

This is the first pantoum I ever wrote – all the way back in June 2016. I thought I’d include it for comments and feedback. WordPress has done that thing again, where it just ignores my formatting – sorry about that. This is being reposted for the dVerse form exploration. Get over there and have a look.

Eggs – Pantoum II for dVerse

I hold you up to see the eggs,
five of them, blue as April sky.
You cling on with your toddler legs,
observing them so solemnly.

Five of them, blue as April sky,
each one a fragile, freckled womb;
observing them so solemnly,
we hope that they will make it through –

each one a fragile, freckled womb,
holding an ugly, hairless thing.
we hope that they will make it through,
and in July, we’ll hear them sing.

Holding an ugly, hairless thing,
in need of food, and warmth, and love,
and in July we’ll hear them sing
of earth below, and sky above.

In need of food, and warmth, and love,
I watch you grow and learn new things
of earth below, and sky above,
and start to spread your fledgling wings.

I watch you grow and learn new things;
you cling on with your toddler legs,
and start to spread your fledgling wings:
I hold you up, to see the eggs.

My second pantoum for the dVerse form exploration, hosted this month by Gina. I have a love-hate relationship with pantoums. One day I will write the perfect pantoum, and then I WILL NEVER WRITE ONE AGAIN. It’s really hard to maintain sense and repetition, and keep it all flowing smoothly. This one comes close, I think right now, but doubtless I’ll come back to it in a couple of weeks, and shake my head over it. There are certainly a couple of continuity errors that I am hyper-aware of. However, this exploration is about growing as a poet and opening up to feedback, so I’m putting it out there. I’ve actually got less confident about it as I’ve written this explanation/justification, so I’m going to stop now.

Rooks – pantoum for dVerse

I watched a crowd of rooks fly by –
“They’re on the search for food”, I said –
black cut-outs on a paper sky,
we see them, and we think of death.

“They’re on the search for food”, I said,
a cheerful democratic crew,
we see them, and we think of death;
they make me think of people, too.

A cheerful democratic crew,
leaders and stragglers make their way –
they make me think of people, too,
out shopping on a winter’s day.

Leaders and stragglers make their way,
black cut-outs on a paper sky.
Out shopping on a winter’s day,
I watched a crowd of rooks fly by.

Gina is hosting at dVerse tonight, and we continue our exploration of forms. Gina brings us the pantoum – she’s given a really good description of it, if you want to read more. Basically it’s a series of interlocking, repeating couplets.

If you are an avid reader, you might notice that I have taken the start of this from my rubaiyat of a couple of weeks ago. I thought it would be interesting to contrast the forms directly. You can read it here https://fmmewritespoems.wordpress.com/2019/02/01/winter-rooks-rubaiyat-for-dverse/