Dawn – second – for dVerse

Dawn comes with a
quiet cracking
of darkness,
a silent shattering
of night,
a thin line of clarity,
a whispered light, memory of pearl,
slick fish flicker of fire,

breaking open, breaking out,
breaking through.

somewhere behind the trees.

Wait. The sky will burn.


And here is my second one. No filters. DVerse is on fire tonight. 


Dawn – first – quadrille for dVerse

It has just dawned on me
That this warm accommodation
Of lives, this joyful
Of shards and
shapes and
Into something new and bright,
Something that golden glows,
That this is love. And that
You held my hand through all
The darkness.


For Bjorn at dVerse, who is keeping the bar tonight. The best thing about this time of year is that here in the northern hemisphere the days are short enough to really see the sunrise. Mind you, I remember summertimes when the nights were short enough to see the sunrise, coming at it from the opposite direction…

#writephoto The enchanted castle – for Thursday photo prompt.

waiting“It’s a fairytale castle!” Miss Priscilla said, clapping her hands, as they pulled up outside Mandeville Castle. Her father laughed, and patted her cheek. Her mother said nothing. Prue, sitting up by the coachman, sighed inwardly. Miss Priscilla was 15, for goodness’ sake.

After that it was castles this and princesses that, and with nobody else to entertain her Miss Priscilla assumed that Prue would always be available to make “Just a few tiny fairy cakes for a royal tea party”, or to “just stitch some more lace onto this dress, and then it will be the perfect ball gown”.

Mrs Bennison looked up from her novel from time to time, and said “I’m sure Prudence has enough to do, Prissy. Prudence, do tell her if you’re too busy”.

And Prue nodded and bobbed, but kept quiet. She rather thought that it would not be a good idea to say “no” to Miss Priscilla. Not if she wanted to keep her job. Mrs Bennison would smile vaguely and go back to her novel until it was time to ring for tea.

By the end of the third day, Mr Bennison was referring to Princess Priscilla, and Miss Priscilla herself had explored half the castle, worn all three of her party dresses, and eaten enough cake to satisfy a whole tenement of children. That was when she discovered the library. There was a charming little step ladder on wheels that Prue could push around, and then hold steady while Miss Priscilla clambered up and pulled out dusty book after dusty book. Most of them were dull – hardly any even had illustrations. It was nearly teatime when she reached for the thick black-bound book on the seventh shelf up, and pulled it towards her. Prue heard the gasp.

“Prue, Prue, look at this! It’s a book of magic spells. Look!”

And she jumped down the last couple of rungs, and showed Prue her find.

After tea, Miss Priscilla went back to the library, and stayed there until dinner time. At bedtime she chattered happily to Prue, who was brushing her hair and folding her clothes, and not really paying much attention, until:

“So that’s my plan, Prudie, dearest. I’ll be the princess, and you can be the wicked fairy. I’ve written the spell out for you, so you can mix it up properly. “Sweetest singer”, it’s called – isn’t that charming? Tomorrow afternoon, about 2 o’clock, you can come and find me in the highest tower, and you can cast your spell on me!”

Prue sighed as she read the spell. It was all stuff she could find in the kitchen, she reckoned, though her reading wasn’t the best. There were a couple of words she was guessing at, but there! It was only a game, after all.

She sighed again, at the foot of the winding staircase up to the highest tower. It would have to be the highest tower for Miss Priscilla, but she hadn’t been on her feet all day, and Prue had already had words from Cook about doing what she should be doing, not making messes for Miss Priscilla. Still, the clock was striking two, and she set off, clambering up the stairs with a tray bearing one brown glazed jug full of magic potion, one glass of fresh lemondae, an empty sherry glass, and a plate of fairy cakes with pink icing.

Miss Priscilla was so excited to see her, and delighted with the magic potion.

“It smells perfectly horrid!” she exclaimed. “We’ll drink it first, and then we can have the cakes to take the taste away!”

“Oh, no, Miss, I couldn’t”

“Of course you could,” she urged. “Just think, you could become a famous opera singer! How wonderful would that be?”

And so, giggling, they shared the sherry glass between them.

When Mrs Bennison rang the bell for tea at 4 o’clock, nobody appeared. When she rang again, and then again, Cook presented herself, complaining that “that Prudence” was off playing games, and leaving all her work behind her. It wasn’t Cook’s place to serve tea. She was not happy at all. Miss Priscilla didn’t appear at the tea table, either, but Mrs Mandeville vaguely supposed she must be busy somewhere. It was Mr Bennison who became alarmed when Miss Priscilla wasn’t at dinner, and it was Mr Bennison who roused the household to search for her, and for Prudence, who also seemed to have disappeared – as Cook kept complaining.

It was James, the second footman, who climbed the highest tower, but there was nobody there. The girls had obviously been there, he reckoned, judging by the broken glass on the floor, and the tray of cakes and lemonade on the little round table by the window. He was a kind hearted lad, and he carefully opened the window and let out the two greenfinches he found pecking at the fairy cakes, and then went down the long spiral staircase to join the search of the cellars.


This is for Sue Vincent’s Thursday photo prompt.

Being requires exploration. By flowering, we heal.

She’d clattered up the stairs, along the corridor, and into his lab, clutching a black linen bag to her chest. She’d begged him for help. He still wasn’t sure.

“You realise it’s a particle/wave ionisation device? It will move you in time, or space, but it’s not perfected yet. You could end up anywhere. Any-when”.

They could both hear the footsteps in the distance, coming closer.

“There’s no other way. Please -” she begged him – “Do it”.

And he flicked the switch.

When the guards arrived, he was alone, tapping away quietly on his keyboard. They ripped the lab apart, but there was nothing to find.

Twenty-seven years later, he still thought about her from time to time – wondered if he’d done the right thing, why she was so desperate, where she’d ended up. Somehow it wasn’t surprising that, as he tidied up his desk, just after 6pm on Friday 17th June, she appeared in corner of the lab. She looked dazed, walked over to him and touched his cheek gently.

“You got old” she whispered. He nodded, silent.

She opened the bag, then, and showed him something he had thought he’d never see again. Bees. A roiling, buzzing mass of them. He turned to look out of the window, at the grove of almond trees, that had blossomed but not fruited for the last seven years.

When he turned back, she saw that he was crying.


This is for Jenny Maloney’s Wednesday challenge. She’s sent us to the New Age Bullshit Generator, to inspire ourselves with random New Age style ramblings. Hence the slightly weird title. I’d like to see a randon right-wing rant generator – except I think there might be one in the White House. Anyhow, it didn’t turn out very New Age, but there you go. It comes in at 250 words, which is fairly flash.

Eagle – for dVerse

I’m all coffee-ed up. I’m so caffeined
I don’t know what to do with it.

I twittered, but you never read me,
I facebooked, but you never upped your thumb –
I’ve me-ed it in the corner for a long time, baby,
But now I’m us-ing down the middle of the street:

See that sky? I’m going to sun it –
See that road? I’m going to bloom it –

Because today I’m lipsticked
In the red fire of anger,
I’m booting in bare feet,
I’m loving, joying, dancing –

I’m so super, just watch me nova,
And when I spread my wings –
I eagle.

Watch me.

A poem of verbification for Lillian at dVerse. I was surprised at how many of the nouns I thought of have been verbified already. Language moves and grows and transforms itself in our mouths. 

Waiting – haibun for dVerse

We are driving across Richmond Park, in a sad procession of cars. None of us want to be here, but we’ve all made our journeys, and here we are. The traffic’s stopped for a moment, and we are waiting here, right here, appreciating the pause – a space to breathe and be silent, before what will come next. It’s beautiful here. We can see why you loved it, why you came here when you wanted to breathe. It’s bleak, though. The January sky is bone white, and everywhere is grey – the trees, the ground, even the deer that gather and rest, so close to us, so tame. We are waiting to move off again, when suddenly there’s a flash of green movement – a parakeet – sudden, incongruous, wildly glamorous. It’s like a message from you, reminding us that life is fun – your favourite word – and that we should remember you with cocktails, and silk scarves, and laughter. One day we’ll manage that. I promise.

Sudden green arrow
Piercing the grey winter light
Promise of laughter.

This is for Raj, who walked away from us two weeks ago, and left the world a little duller, a little greyer, a little less glamorous. She carried her life like a bouquet of roses, and shared the scent and colour with us all. DVerse is asking for waiting haibuns. It seemed to fit.DVerse

Whisper – quadrille for dVerse

Santa Muerte

Stalks round the house

In a bone dry click clack

Pair of red stilettos,

Trailing discarded

Cigarette stubs,

Empty beer cans,

A whisper of dark scent,

Peering in at windows,

Waiting in shadowed


Smiling her constant smile

All teeth and eyes.

This is for De at dVerse. Slip in, order quietly and keep the noise down. We’re whispering in the bar tonight.dVerse



Back then I danced above the void

Dazzling myself with my daring

So delighted to be young

And strong, defying gravity. I posed,

One hip forward, like some

Model for a fashion shoot

On the Eiffel Tower, offering

Courage, my courage,

The bridge all gapped and gaping

And the river churning far below,

And me, in the dignity of youth,

The pride of me, here, now.

Me there, then, distant,

Laughing at fear, eyes on the far side,

Only the air below me.

This is for Lillian at dVerse who has asked us to write about bridges. Sort of.dVerse is a nice place to hang out. Check it out.


The Girl in Blue – 100 words for Jenny Maloney

This is for Jenny‘s Wednesday write.

We were seven sisters, so mum colour coded our clothes to make mornings run more smoothly. We’re not seven any more: Red ran off with a tight-rope walker and sends back pictures of herself in spangles; Orange keeps a hundred different kinds of chicken, and makes pots of unlikely jam; Yellow’s on an ashram in India, finding herself; Green is a corporate lawyer and only ever wears black; Blue – well, you know what happened to her; baby Violet is a tattoo artist in Birmingham; and me? I write angry love poems and wear whatever colour I please.


Childhood memory – haibun for dVerse

The school sick bay is cool and quiet, and I’m so sleepy. The wallpaper is a complex repeating patterns of swirls and curves in blue and green. I’m half awake and making patterns out of it – an owl, a woman, an owl, a woman. I wish I could look at plain white walls. I wish I could close my eyes.

Swirling blue and green
Of clouds and sky and wild sea
Waiting for nightfall


Another one for dVerse