Apple blossom

Me, I’m pink and wholesome
opening to the spring,
letting every bee come,
their buzzing kisses cling,
and the wild birds sing,

and when my blushes fade
see how my belly swells:
in every orchard glade
where I shed my pink petals
you will find apples

This is such a lovely prompt fromLinda at dVerse – she asks us to imagine we are a flower. I wanted to use a traditional form for such a pretty prompt, so I’ve opted for paired cinquains.

Prosery: between heartbeats.

If I concentrate, I can slip between the molecules in the wall. I can absorb the energy of a bullet, make it my own. There are moments caught between heartbeats when I can stretch time. I’m not sure what that makes me – angel? demon? blessed or cursed?

I’ve always done this: slithered out of my own body, wriggled under the skin of lovers. I have survived car crashes, conflagrations; I’ve sought vengeance: spread my fingers in the rapist’s brain; I’ve sought mayhem – guided the arrow that started the battle.

I have watched everything I love grow old and worn. I’ve moved on and started over a thousand times. I’ve passed through ice and flames. I’m not even sure of my own name now, wouldn’t recognise myself in a mirror – except for my eyes. There are galaxies in there, burning in the darkness. I’m lonely.

Kim is hosting the prosery prompt tonight at dVerse. What’s prosery, I hear you cry? A piece of prose, 144 words, incorporating a line from a poem chosen by the host. Tonight the line is from Louis MacNeice – “there are moments caught between heartbeats”


Hoping – poem for Earthweal

On days like this, hope’s easy –
it’s right there, in every swelling bud,
each new shoot pushing through,
each leaf unfurling. The robin sings it
and the fieldfare carry it on fluttering wings.

Don’t let Pandora fool you.
Hope’s the last demon in the chest,
the one that sends you walking blind
into oblivion, smiling. Hope’s the Fool’s card,
hope’s the joke.

Take that hope and weaponise it, then,
mix it with love and anger, braid them together
weave them into the plaits you wear. Take a stand.
Temper hope with knowledge –
sharpen it. Hope’s just a spark,
pressed out by a wet thumb. Nurture it.
Feed it fiercely, with the fuel of joy,
and light a candle from it.

All those candles, moving apart
and then together, forming a web of light
under the great dome of the sky.

Is that enough, now? Is it?

Sherry is hosting at Earthweal tonight, and our theme is “finding hope”.

On second thoughts, I don’t need your forgiveness – poem for dVerse

It sickens me, to see those silly men,
and women, too – let’s not forget
that women can be silly, too – waving
their silly flags, so happy
that the world got smaller,
and I realise that I’m out of step,
so out of step – that’s my flag,
and I’m wincing at it – me
with all my blithe assumptions
that the world would soften,
all those barriers would blur-
race, class, religion, gender,
it would all fade away,
and yet, these people love their walls,
they cling to them as if
that’s how they find themselves,
so when I see you wave your silly flag,
forgive me if I don’t wave back.

Amaya is hosting at dVerse tonight. She’s asking us to write “death sentences” – poems with 3 rules – they must be a story in a single sentence, based on an event witnessed or heard about that symbolises the end of the world, and they must be improvised.

I’m quite experienced in writing long, breathless sentences, but it’s hard to leave them alone. This poem is about the last session of the British in the European Parliament, and the pathetic antics of the Brexit Party, but I guess there’s a lot of flag waving about all over the place at the moment, so if it works for you…


we are stalks that will bend
and bend and bend…

Jamaal May: A Brief History of Hostility:
That’s the old wisdom of the grasslands,
of the soft skinned trees – to bend
before the wind, not to be broken –
to bow down. It’s easier to bend.

I can’t blame the grass. It’s what I’d do,
my coward soul creeping, seeking comfort
in a full belly, a soft blanket, a lover’s arms.
I’d curl my anger into my own abdomen,
I’d whisper my rebellion
into my pillow, I’d carve my own skin.

It’s hard to stand upright.
It’s hard to be a bright light,
a song sung full-lunged,
a shining blade. It’s hard
to straighten the bent back,

to grow glorious.

Anmol is hosting at dVersetonight, and celebrating Black History Month. He asks us to take inspiration from some poets of colour. I’ve chosen some lines from one of his featured poems – Jamaal May’s A Brief History of Hostility. 

When I was younger, I thought that if war or oppression came, I’d be a hero, standing up for what is right. As I get older, I realise how difficult that is, how easy it is to justify not standing up, not noticing oppression, turning away. But, of course, when you do that, you are siding with oppression.

Missing – poem for Earthweal

What I miss is aliens.

Not aliens, exactly, but the thought of aliens –
descending in their shiny spotless spacecraft,
making first contact and humanity responding –

love and peace? Maybe. A realising
that we’re human, all of us together,
that we’re adrift on this blue spaceship
but we can reach out –

grappling hooks and handshakes –

learn from others, find new ways to live.

I’m missing Captain Kirk.

That clean ideal of boldly going out
into the great unknown,
sharing the best that we can be.

Maybe I miss my own naivety.

Maybe I miss the feeling that we can be better,
that we can all reach out –
all those old cliches, building bridges,
building bigger tables, building love

when all we ever build are walls

and maybe it was never there –
maybe I’m yearning after something that I never had
and never lost.

Maybe it’s angels that I miss
or fair-faced elves, or fairy folk, or something else
to take away the isolation.

I’m struggling here. What changes?
The world, or me? or just TV?
Whatever. I miss you, James T Kirk
and all those heroes, flawed, but reaching
for the stars.

TheEarthwealprompt this week is “solastalgia” – homesickness for a vanishing world. I’m not sure about nostalgia – do we miss the world as it was, or ourselves as we were? Anyhow, this is my musing on it all.

Friday – poem for dVerse

Friday sits like a coin in my pocket
whispering to me. What shall I spend it on?
I could buy a kite, or a coffee,
or a pair of shoes. I could spend it all
on a book, or a poem, or a fragment
of something half written,
tossed away on the wind. I could take it out
and polish it in the sunlight,
roll it across a sanded floor,
send it spinning into a wave
crashing onto a shingle shore.
I could take a ride on a bus
to the end of the line,
or buy an apple and biting it
learn what good is, and what’s evil,
I could hold my hand out
to a cunning magpie,
offer my silver as a gift,
sacrifice it to an ancient goddess,
bury it beneath a hawthorn tree,
or I could hide it underneath my pillow,
feel the dull thickness of it as I read,
or I could slide it across the bar,
swap it for whiskey and a comfy chair,
or hoard it up, unused, unspent.
I could wait for moonrise,
show my coin her pearl-faced sister,
or spend it on a rainbow,
or wrap it up in mist,
or trace its outline
on an empty page.

It’s Tuesday, and that means poetics over at dVerse. I’m prompting. Come on over and be wowed.

First day of spring.

In Ireland, the first day of February is the first day of Spring – Imbolc to the ancients, St Brigid’s day to the Catholic church. I try to remember that as I look out at the pouring rain. Later, I walk up the lane. There are snowdrops buried in the dark hedgerow, and I see a single primrose, pale as February sunshine.

so much mud

I can hardly see

the snowdrops

A haibun for Frank, who is hosting at dVerse tonight. He asks us to look for the first signs of spring.