For the 96

28 Years

She’s waited for years
Straining to hear his key in the lock
She waited all night
Holding the pillow, as if it would help
She sat down on the bed
Her heart did a flip in her chest
The commentary changed
The match was just starting
She was stripping the sheets from the bed,with the radio on
She went back to her work
He went out of the door with a smile
Afraid he’d miss the coach
She was fretting
He kissed her goodbye in a rush.


This is another blast from the past for dVerse OLN. It’s a backwards poem I wrote for NaPoWriMo 2016. The Hillsborough inquest has just finished, and people will be put on trial. The families have waited a long time for this. It seemed appropriate to re-post this today, with respect and sorrow. 


Alice on her adventure

Alice heads out
on her great adventure
with her hair tied back
and her boots laced tight,

she crawls under the
branches of the
her t-shirt, scratching
her shoulder,

and then slithers down
into the stream,
mud glazing her
left leg, boots
proof against
the water,

follows a butterfly
across the field
then stops
knee deep in buttercups
grass dusted

listens to a skylark

finds a hollow
in the hedge
at the top of the field,
settles in

eats two biscuits
drinks some water

waits for the sunset.

She’s never going back.

Alice again.

What counts as publishing?

I’ve been writing poems on here for a bit now, and it seems to be going OK. I’ve always thought of this as an online open mic session, rather than a digital chapbook. It’s been a great space for me to build up a bit of confidence in my work.

However, I’m now thinking about taking things a little further…dabbling in the world of competitions…maybe submitting poems to magazines…pushing myself a little. I’ve been inspired by a friend telling me that she was advised to aim for 100 rejections a year.

Obviously(!), the only way I get a feel for whether my work is OK or not is by putting it on here and hoping for feedback, so the first place for me to look for poems to use in this new enterprise is here. As I said, this is my online microphone. Am I right? Or does this count as publishing? And if it is publishing, am I allowed to revise stuff from here and treat it as new, or is that it?


A blessing for my son.

May you always
know the ocean,
the steady beat
of her waves,
the great width
of her strength.

Even if you live
locked in a
land-locked city,
may you dream of
the sea.

May you always feel
the joy you feel
at the first sight
of the blue sea
sparking in summer;
the awe you feel
at the power of
the waves
in a winter storm.

May you always know
the salt water
in your
own blood.

Morning blessing

May the morning light
drift over you
gentle as
golden silk

May your eyes open
on hope:
a green seedling,
an opening flower,
soft in the
morning light.

May your ears catch
a tumble of birdsong,
a whisper of breath,
in the morning quiet.

May morning enter
your ears, your eyes,
your heart,
filling your day
with the colour
of peace,
the peace of colour.

May your hands reach
into the light,
and fill themselves
with warmth.

May you taste the
of this new day,

May you smell the clean
of a new

May your first thoughts
be full
of compassion

your first words
full of joy
and love.

Paul Scribbles is running the show at dVerse tonight, and asking for blessings.

Summer – haibun for dVerse

We come here all through the winter. We’ve swum here on days when the sea has been a great, grey cat, tossing us like tiny toys. We’ve emerged shivering, glowing with cold and triumph. We’ve been the only swimmers, sometimes sharing the water with gleaming black clad surfers, sometimes sharing the beach with dog-walkers wrapped in coats and scarves.

Today, however, it’s summer. I’ve picked my son up from a hot coach, after a long drive back from a science fair. There’s a pair of shorts and a t-shirt in a bag on the back seat,and his swimming trunks are in the boot. We’ve collected his best friend, and an older brother who is wilting in the heat, and I’ve brought them to the beach. We’ve picked our way over the pebble ridge, clambering over the smoothly rounded stones, and slipped and slithered our way down the other side, carrying rugs, towels and ice cold drinks.

Up by the causeway there’s a gathering of people, brightly coloured, making their way in and out of the sea. Here, where we are, it’s quieter. We dump our stuff, and plunge into the water, relishing the coolness of it, looking due west, to where the hot sun will sizzle into the ocean in a few hours time. The solstice has brought us the longest, hottest day we can remember, and we are loving it.

Sun hovers, holds back –
cannot bear to leave the day –
gold path in the sea

Dverse is open, and the very graceful Grace is asking for summery haibuns. We had a mini heatwave last week, but we’re back to English summer weather now. Still, a girl can dream.

Ghosts at my table

there are ghosts at my table tonight
I write, not mentioning that
my table is a pale rectangle
of wood, so that perhaps
you picture your own table,
round, white, plastic –
or a dark mahogany oval,
and your ghosts are
the dark ring left by
a wine bottle, the last time
you had dinner with
a long lost lover,
or the scorched place
where you set down a pan
too quickly, the day
you heard that news
about your sister, while mine
are the assorted stains
and scratches left by my
children as they leave their
childhood, not quite ghosts,
waiting to fade.

Metafictionfor the Toads

Alice decides

Alice decides
that this is not wonderland
it’s just a space
full of spaced out people
and fractal music

but the friend she came with
has wandered off
into this wanderland
with some guy
with long ears
who murmured
“eat me”
as he led her away

and someone is shouting
her name

and somehow there are
scent staining the air

Alice decides
it’s time to go
no more
drink me
just running
into the clean air


I’m exploring the world of wordpress prompts. This is for Riding the Magic Mushroom – Alice inspired prompts on Wednesdays. 

Peppercombe – quadrille for dVerse.

We picked our way down
to Peppercombe bay,
where the cliffs are paprika
and the grey stones wait
quietly, to be ground by the surf;
through the green hush of trees
to the place where there’s only
the wide sky and the salt sea.

Kim is our  host at dVerse tonight. The prompt word is “pepper”. Peppercombe bay is one of our local beaches. You can find an image of it here.  We didn’t go to Peppercombe this evening, but we were just a little way up the coast – and there were peppercorns garnishing my gin and tonic, so there’s obviously something in the air tonight.