NaPoWriMo 22 – a Georgic

Pruning the apple

It’s a winter job –

When the soul of the tree

Is curled deep in the roots – 

A slow job, of pauses,

Consideration, judicious.

A job calling for thought, and tea,

Stepping back, thinking twice,

Cutting once. Not a hatchet job,

Not at all. A coaxing and nudging,

Encouraging growth. You must

Think of a goblet, a chalice,

Designed to hold sunlight,

The warmth poured in,

Weaving its magic.

It’s more of an art

Than a science. 

Be patient.

NaPoWriMo 21 – something overheard

I only make things I like


I only make things I like, she said

As if life was as simple as that.

As if we could choose, cleanly

What we liked and disliked.


I only make things I like. I nodded.

You have to admire a woman like that,

Who knows what she likes,

Is firm in her conviction.


I wonder, though, if that really

Is the way to happiness? What about

Serendipity? The chance finding

Of a flavour? Hearing a tune


On a random station, wafting

From a car radio? Finding yourself

In an unknown park, where

Cherry blossoms float like feathers?


Tasting a different drink, in a different bar,

Kissing a stranger,  taking the wrong bus

To the wrong place, but finding something

That you didn’t know

And loving it anyway.



NaPoWriMo 20 – the sporty one


Simon says “Rei” and they all bow –
that breaks the silence, and the line,
and suddenly the dojo’s full of movement –
kids circling, looking for their zoris,
gis flapping white. Most are flocking
to their mums, but over there
two boys are grappling, practising
ran dori, and I hear talk of uchi mata, uchi komi.
One girl is cartwheeling across the tatame,
Revelling in her arms’ strength,
swinging a circle, and then landing,
bringing her feet down solid on the mat.

Out west, gannets are circling,
wings flashing white, weaving
above the waves. They swoop and dart,
Make sudden plunges – knives
through the water. I hear them calling,
and I think they must be joyful,
revelling in their wings, testing their strength
against the water and the wind.

NaPoWriMo asks us for a poem that uses sporting terms. My son is a judoka, so this is for him. 

NaPoWriMo 19 – a creation myth

The Orchard

I see her standing
in her orchard,
one small pip,
shiny brown, resting
in her right hand.

All around, the trees stretch out
as far as far, and there is birdsong
and the drowsy drone of sleepy wasps.

Apple trees don’t grow true from seed.
She knows this. And the fact
that you must plant 10,000 pips
to win the prize: a tree worth keeping –
an apple worth the eating.

So, she’s half laughing at herself,
but plants it anyway,
pressing it gently
into the nurturing soil.
Then waiting. She has time.

Warming it with the wild sunshine
of her joy. Watering it
with the soft raindrops of her love.

Dreaming that this could be the one
the tree that grows the perfect orb –
green flecked, and russet,
maybe clouded, wet with dew,
smelling of wholesomeness.

An apple to be held gently
and with respect – the flesh
of apples bruises easily –
an apple to be shared,
sweet as laughter,
with a tang of something longed for.
An apple to be loved.

I see her sitting, waiting,
in her orchard, patient
as eternity. Trees stretch out
all around. Blossom glints white
here, see, and there, shining
in the great darkness of infinity.

NaPoWriMo has reached day 19, and is asking for a creation myth. I hope this works as one. 

Postcard poem for dVerse

Thank you
for the coastline
you sent me –
headlands reeling west,
land as wild
and laughing as a jig.
I will stick it to
my fridge
and think of you
and the smell
of turf

a little postcard poem for dVerse where De gives us a gentle little task to soothe our souls during this wild and crazy poetry packed month of April. I pulled out the first postcard I could find – a map of Ireland – and wanted to add a picture, but the technology defeated me. Never mind, next time…

NaPoWriMo 18 – neologisms

Monday morning

I. The son.

Faraddagulate –
Badom, badom,
Garradaggle, gaggarate,
Badom, badom, badom.

Fiffle. Faffle. Foffle.
Badadom, badadom,
Fiffle. Saffulate.

II. The mother

Tarratta, tarratta.
Tarratta, tarratta.
Snarkle, garkle –
Tarratta, tarratta.

II. The father

Ungungle, urgle,
Scharple, schnumpf,


Schloop, schloop,



IV. The daughter

Sumgumgle, gurgulation,
Gumrumble, gumgungulation.
Fleekle. Ah.
Fleekickle. Grawk.
Smumble, smoogle,
Smoogle, fleekle.




NaPoWriMo asks for neologisms. I am aware that this is more of an avalanche of onomatopoeia, but this is pretty much the noise we make in the mornings…my son is a morning person, as you might have gathered. 

Haibun for dVerse – feel the fear

It’s hard to say what I was so afraid of. It’s hard to imagine what I was so afraid of. I was five hours’ drive from home, with one of my oldest friends, in a smallish room, with pictures lining the walls, and friendly people sitting at tables. We were sharing a bottle of wine, white wine, that we had brought with us. My friend smiled confidently at the master of ceremonies. She knew him well. “Ah, no” she smiled, in answer to his question. “I’m not reading tonight…

But my friend is“.

So perhaps I was afraid that nobody would listen. That they wouldn’t like my stuff. That they would realise I’m not a poet at all, I’m an imposter. The wine tasted sour in my mouth and I struggled to concentrate on what anyone else was reading. When I was asked to stand, I winced, but I went for it. I opened my mouth, and listened to the words spilling out:

“I used to think that poetry had to be about something big and important, but now I find I mostly write about rooks…”

And off I went.

the wild bird flies free
sunlight breaks through rolling clouds
a flower opens

Toni at dVerse has asked us to write a haibun about overcoming a fear. I did my first poetry reading last week, while staying with a friend who is a confident and seasoned poet and performer. It was terrifying, and then it stopped being terrifying and was great! I had committed myself to doing a reading this year. I might even do more…

NaPoWriMo 17 – Nocturne

We have lost the very last of the light
Seeped from the edge of the sky at last
But, see, the stars are so very bright

We’re not quite ready to say goodnight
And the wine has grown darker in my glass –
We have lost the very last of the light.

The moths are foolish, they feel no fright,
As the candle lures them in at last,
When, see, the stars are so very bright.

There are rustlings happening out of sight,
Perhaps a fox, swift stalking past,
We have lost the very last of the light

Now the moon is rising, a sliver of white,
A lantern hung on a midnight mast,
And see, the stars are so very bright.

We sat and talked, and laughed all night –
Hard to believe how quickly it passed –
We have lost the very last of the light,
But, see, the stars are so very bright.