The art of confession – poem for dVerse

You think that I will show you all my scars?
You want me to perform some sick striptese –
open my heart to you, reveal my flaws?
What right have you to see what no-one sees?
You sense me brooding over my dark times,
tell me confessing all will set me free,
as if the past can be re-made by rhymes.
The stories I hold hidden cannot be
left lightly fluttering, like butterflies –
what secret guilts do you think you’ll uncover?
I clasp the memories of the times I failed,
I hold those memories tight as any lover –
you’d mould my pain into some fairy tale,
for in the end, confession is betrayal.

Anmol at dVerse is challenging us to write confessional poetry. A lot of my poetry is confessional – I think that’s the nature of poetry. In fact, I probably reveal more about myself than I realise whenever I write. This is, of course, a poem that claims not to be confessional, but there you go. Read it as a confession of my secretive nature… It’s also the last of my sonnets for this month’s sonnet challenge. This is the terza rima sonnet – you’ll notice the interlocking 3 line rhyme scheme. I needed to get one written, it was bugging me.


Change – poem for dVerse

Some things
Or not.

Red is still red –
the pulsing beat of it,
bloated with significance –
blue is still blue –
woven through
with ice, shimmering,
the steady drip drip drip
of meltwater.

Here at the edge
everything is open.
Or not.

De at dVerse is asking us to quadrille on the word “change”.

The painting – poem for dVerse

if I could walk
down that white road
under that white sun,
with my shadow
sharp carved beneath me,
smelling the heat of the road –
I would step through this frame
and let my skin sigh
in the pleasure of light,
not looking back.

Lillian at dVerse asks us to write about something hanging on our walls. When we were in Goa many years ago, we bought a painting. At this time of year it makes me dream.

January – haibun for dVerse

We walked up the lane under the flat January sky, and stopped at the gate of the top field to watch the fieldfare feeding. At first you just see a crowd of birds, some on the ground, some fluttering just above it. After a while, you realise there’s a pattern to this: the birds are all facing the same way. The ones at the back flutter over the flock to settle at the front and feed there, and that’s happening continually, so that they gradually roll across the field. A few moments after we arrived, they suddenly all lifted up, and formed a spiralling cloud that made its way over to a neighbouring tree.

January is the month of flocks of birds. We had a great murmuration of starlings rustle over us this afternoon, and the field by the pond is white with herring gulls. Even the rooks are keeping closer together than usual. Strength in numbers at this hollow time of year.

starlings’ wings whisper
wind rattles naked seed pods
tales of the north wind

Everything’s a little out of kilter this week, but I’m trying to catch up! This is for Monday’s dVerse haibun prompt – thank you, Kim, for making me look more closely at January, and finding some beauty there.

Sonnet II – Sleeping Together

These early mornings when I cannot sleep,
I know the dull truth of that tired cliché –
you’re close beside me, but so far away –
if sleep’s an ocean, you’re down in the deeps;
if sleep’s a path, it’s one I found too steep;
if it’s a place, then I can’t find the way;
if it’s a tune, it’s one I cannot play,
if it’s a faith, I’ve lost all my belief –
yet there’s a pleasure in this lying here,
your presence, so well known, but always new
your warm skin, comforting as morning light.
I wonder if you know I’m lying near –
do you dream that I’m sleeping next to you?
Do you sleep better for my oversight?

My second sonnet – a Petrarchan sonnet – notice the different rhyme scheme. This is a new one on me, so thank you, Bjorn.

Sonnet I – Moving on.

Among the shots of faces that I care for
too many snaps of things I don’t recall –
I’m cleaning up my life’s hard drive, and therefore
I’ll make a conflagration of it all –
these shoes will never clack down marble halls,
that dress is meant for places I won’t go,
crochet, it seems, is not my thing at all,
and how that box set ends? I’ll never know.
I’m shedding all those lives I’ll never lead,
throwing away the clothes I’ll never wear,
divesting all those books I’ll never read,
discarding all the posts that I won’t share –
those unlived lives are beautiful as snow,
but snow must melt. It’s time to let them go.

This is my first sonnet for Bjorn’s‘s dVerse prompt. It’s a Shakespearean style sonnet – the kind I was brought up on. I’ve always found sonnets a little tricky – that final couplet feels like a punchline.

Life twists and turns – for dVerse

I’m not sure
I’d recognise the moments
when my life twisted
under my hands –

It’s just a place
we choose to start the story.

If I’d not missed that junction,
making me 20 minutes late,
we might have been
broadsided by some HGV
wheeled in, half conscious,
on a trolley..

In some other story,
maybe I ate the little cake
shrank down
was silenced.

If you had called a friend,
we might have never met,
I might be married
to some city guy,
with a gleaming steel kitchen
and a view over the river.

In some other story,
maybe I bit the poisoned apple,
fell insensible,
waited to be kissed awake.

If I had caught that bus,
I might have found a card
that would have led me to
a secret destination,
a man with clear blue eyes
and hair like a doomed poet’s.

In some other story,
maybe I didn’t drop my shoe,
ran home in rags,
swept up the ashes,
asked myself why –
led the rebellion
burned the palace down.

It’s the first dVerse prompt of the year, and Merrill is running the show. She asks us to think about the paths our life has taken, and whether the choices we have made have changed things for us.

Oh my words – poem

oh my words
where will you go?
spilling out of my mouth
like flies,
like moths,
like butterflies,
like all the winged things
that scatter themselves
on the breeze

oh my words
where will you find yourselves?
tumbled over oceans,
buffetted by hurricanes,
a line drawn
from my mouth,
my fingers
to those
ears, those eyes,
those distant minds

drawing us closer.

Another for Daily Inklings. 

The spice drawer – poem for dVerse

This drawer is full of magic –
I have witchcraft stored here –
tangled in the twisting scents of nutmeg
and vanilla, waiting to be stirred
into life with my long spoon –

all the colours of the desert,
and a slow line of camels
making their way westward –

and I have dreams, too,
dreams that crunch through
the snow, sugar under foot,
dreams that pirouette
across the table –
dreams of gingerbread,
and the fresh scent of pine trees;

and memories – these warm
memories, fresh from the oven –
the scent of cloves on Sunday mornings,
the smell of cinnamon, crisped with sugar –
a street bazaar that scatters
cumin and coriander
through the morning air,
the hot taste of chai
as the mist rises
and the first train pulls in –

this drawer is full of magic
waiting to be set free.

Gina is tending the bar at dVerse tonight and asks us to look for the magic in ordinary things. Christmas is coming, and the spice drawer is being raided on a regular basis in our house. I’ve always liked the idea that these exotic commodities manage to make their way to my muddy corner of Devon, bringing the sunshine with them.