Rooting – for dVerse

The strength of the tree
is in its roots –
that dark mirror
that plunges into
the scented dark,
where strange creatures,
many legged,
dark carapaced,
nest among its
secret branchings.

The power of the tree
is there, in the fine,
searching threads,
all mouth,
blind nipple-suckling
water, seeking out
mineral sustenance
down there,
where the worm
glides silent
in its heavy medium,

and that depth
holds the tree,
supports the green,
dancing leaves,
the bright blossom,
the round, ripening fruit,
all nourished by
that subterranean
echo, that patient
force, stone splitting,
creeping down
into the darkest places,
finding life there.

 

Paul is hosting at dVerse tonight, and asking us to go underground. We are all rooted in Mother Earth, she holds the mysteries of life and death for us. 

News

drip drip drip
the tap fills
the sink until
drip drip drip
it overflows
and suddenly
it’s everywhere
and the noise
maddens
drip drip drip
and yet somehow
we can’t turn it off
can’t turn away
can’t look away
we must know
drip drip drip
what she wore
what he said
where they fought
drip drip drip
who made the error
who told the lie
drip drip drip
the flood
the fire
the bomb
the war
drip drip drip
the child crying

Poets used to carry news with them, we are told. I’m feeling a bit newsed out at the moment, but this is for the Toads. 

Hairdresser – for real toads.

Each chair holds a story
because we each hold a story
of love or lust or dreaming
and the blue flowers hold the sky.

The scissors click and clack
and the voices rise and fall
and each chair holds a story
because we each hold a story
of fear or pain or sorrow
and the blue flowers hold
the heart of the sky.

A silver tree grows
and crystals sound like rain.
My coffee tastes bitter
down to the last drop
and each chair holds a story
and the blue flowers hold
the soul of the sky.

 

Toad Susie asks us to find a poem in the world around us:

For today’s challenge I want you to write a poem from your immediate surroundings. For example where I am sitting there is a vase of   flowers,  silver thermos, a mailbox nameplate from my father’s mailbox, a window, a rather sickly violet, books, a clock, a tape dispenser, the whir of an air conditioner. I could go on and on.  Your poem could be a combination of what you see, hear, taste, feel, just pull from the spot where you are writing. 

      Imaginary Garden With Real Toads

 

Pain – for dVerse.

I knew pain
when she was a little girl
in a jangling orange dress
sobbing over a grazed knee.

Back then,
she smelt of hot tarmac
and her hands were sticky
with melted lolly.

Raspberry.

I met her later,
wobbly in high, shiny shoes,
buying a hangover
in a high, shiny bar,

and then again
in a sun-bleached square
in a foreign country,
afraid and alone.

I held her hand
when she doubled over,
blue hospital gown
open at the back.
Her breath was sour,
and her hair was wet
with sweat.

But yesterday, when
I reached out for her,
her cracked laugh,
her bitter scent
caught in my throat,

and there was only music,
played on a broken clarinet.

she had forgotten me.

Mish at dVerse asks us to play with our senses. 

I know that you can come up with many more of these and so I leave you to it! Choose something abstract such as a colour, emotion, idea, concept, a quality, trait or situation…and bring it to life using one or more senses. You could also choose something more concrete, as long as you are use senses that are not normally associated with it. For example, “moonlight”. How does it sound? I think you get the idea. Find new ways to dabble with the poetic magic of the senses.

From my poetic kitchen – haibun for dVerse (and for Steve)

It’s May, and I’m making mince pies. Tomorrow we are holding Steve’s leaving do. We love Steve, and Steve loves Christmas dinner, so that’s what he’s getting. He deserves all the love, all the turkey, all the stuffing, every single pig in blanket. He’s a great friend, a great colleague, a great therapist. He has made a difference, to my life and to many others: all through my chemo, years ago now, he drove miles out of his way to bring my son home to me from nursery. He brings all that love and care into the therapy room, where he has literally saved lives. He really has no idea how wonderful he is.

So, I’m making mince pies.

The mincemeat is left over from Christmas. I made it myself – it’s a Nigella recipe, that uses a little quince. I’ve just loosened it with home-made quince brandy, so it smells really fruity. The pastry is made my mother-in-law’s way, with lots of butter, and a little icing sugar. I’ve bound it with an egg yolk, the way she does. I’ve cut out pale discs of pastry, and loaded them with juicy mincemeat, and made the scraps into a tiny pasty for my son, who announced that he loves mince pies. Maybe something rubbed off on him on all those car journeys.

Nobody’s quite sure how the logistics will work tomorrow. Everybody’s bringing a plate of something. I think it will probably be a little chaotic. We will reminisce. There will be some laughter, and possibly tears, and lots and lots of food and love.

White hawthorn blossom
Snowdrifts in the spring hedgerow,
Scents the warm spring air.

Bjorn at dVerse asks us to write a haibun, starting from a recipe. Coincidentally, I made mince pies (!) tonight for a dear friend’s leaving do, so this is for Steve as well – though he’d better not read it until tomorrow.

A list of apple names – for dVerse

Slack ma girdle
Camelot
Billy Down Pippin
Winter Lawrence

There is a crunch
a fragrance
in these names.

Fair maid of Devon
Don’s delight
Glass apple
Golden ball

There is a girl
rubbing an apple
on her skirt,
to make it shine

Black Tom Putt
Cornish Gilliflower
Hangydown
Hoary morning

A boy tossing
A glowing apple
High into a blue
September sky

Sops in wine
Cotehele beauty
Pigs nose
Red ruby, Morgan Sweet

A woman peeling and slicing,
Rolling out pastry
Hands floured,
Cloves and cinnamon to hand,
Singing as she works

Paignton Marigold
Lucombe’s seedling
Pomeroy of Somerset
Farmer’s glory
Quench

The men picking,
crushing, golden juice
trickling, and then
the long wait
in the barrel.

Yarlington mill
Ice apple
Nine square
Hockings green

Old names,
Graced,
Echoing down years,
Sweet and crisp,
Sweeter for being stored.

Names of traditional apples from the South West of England. I’m ever so slightly obsessed with them – and these are only a few. I didn’t really need to add anything else, but I have attempted to explain my obsession. This is for Victoria at dVerse, who is asking for list poetry.

Echo – for dVerse

Echo was silent
but the moon called
across the water,

and there was a
mirroring in
our movements.

Echo was silent,
but we were
synchronous

and the rhythm danced
between us, and we
danced between
the rhythm,

giving and giving back.
Echo was silent.

De at dVerse is asking for quadrilles – 44 words – with “echo” as the key word.

Three flames

Photo by M. Bednar. Prompt from Imaginary gardens with real toads.  

The first flame
takes the leaf
the first leaf
and from there
it swings from
twig to twig
wild cat, bright
bird, moving
swiftly, yet
staccato,
bursting out
in unex-
pected spots,
a fever,
epidemic
of heat, raised
temperature,
wild passion.

The second flame
is a candle in a dark
window, waiting:
the quiet light
that calls the
traveller home,
drifts gentle through
the trees, spills
down the garden path,
wraps itself around you
like a warm robe,
a breath of love,
as the door opens.

The third flame calls the bullet.
The third flame
calls
the bullet.
The
third
flame
calls
the
bullet.

Psycho – for dVerse

Come in, take a seat, observe my domain –
You can see I don’t do this for financial gain!
So why do I do it? The thrill of the power
I feel as I sit here for hour after hour…

Hey, right at the start I let her decide,
If she wants to commit, then she’s in for the ride,
And I’m always surprised when they say that they will –
Why do they do it? I guess it’s THEIR thrill.

I’m reeling her in now, taking it slow,
Step by step, feeling how far she will go –
If she’s silly enough to get caught in my net,
Then I’m sorry, my friend, she deserves all she gets,

Her parents are blind, they just do not see
Her boredom, depression, her teenage ennui,
And her friends let her down. But I’m always there –
And the comedy is, that she thinks that I care.

And you’d be surprised at the things that she’ll try,
Random instructions from some random guy,
Yeah, you’ll be surprised at the things that she’ll do,
The pain she will take if I’m telling her to:

If I tell her to cut, watch her pick up the knife,
If I tell her to jump, watch her offer her life,
And I feel like a god, as I sit in my room,
Fingers on keyboard, dictating her doom.

 

We were talking at work yesterday about a sick social media game that encourages young people to experiment with self harm and suicide. I’m not going to name it. If you’ve heard of it, you’ve heard of it. If you haven’t, it needs no publicity from me. Modern day evil for dVerse where we are asked to offer a dramatic monologue in the style of  The Laboratory by Robert Browning.