Put away.

Suddenly, all of those things
became things,

as if you’d been some fading princess,
giving them life. They’d glowed,
under your glances, your touches,

shimmered with memories.

Without you, all those stories
detached themselves, drifted,
and their anchors – bone china,
knick-knacks, Indian brass,
the Wedgewood plaque –
were dulled. Wrapped and packaged.

Put away.


Sarah Russell is hosting at dVerse. She set up bar last night, asking us to write a poem full of an unnamed emotion. 


Boxing Club – Friday Fictioneers.

The club was her second home. It had made her leaner, fitter. She’d watched the muscles grow in definition on her arms and abdomen. She felt stronger.

She trudged there through rain, sweated there on sultry summer evenings, slipped on snowy pavements to get her fix.

She was one of three women there. The other two met up for coffee sometimes, she knew that – probably talked about her, the tattoo on her shoulder, the scars on her arms. She didn’t care. She just wanted to hit out.

There was only ever one face on the punch bag. Her father’s.


For the Friday Fictioneers. 99 words this time! Photo by J Hardy Carroll. Prompts organised by the inimitable Rochelle. 

Burn – quadrille for dVerse

There is a fire
in the heart of everything –
the green wood will
one day burn:
the flame of sunlight
caught in the dark
centre of the tree
will be unleashed,
to flow like water
over the earth,
fire reaching deep
into the soil.

For Victoria at dVerse – a quadrille is exactly 44 words, one of which must be the prompt word. Tonight, it’s “burn”. What a powerful word. There might be more to come…

Door – stream of consciousness

All the doors at work are fire doors, so they are really heavy. I have to walk through 6 of them to get from my office to the waiting room, 6 on the way back. I wonder what we’re keeping in? Or keeping out? Technically, fire, of course, but there’s so much fear and pain and anxiety and anger in what we do, deal with, perhaps it needs to be kept in, perhaps at the end of the day the cleaners let it all out, in a great black writhing cloud that lifts up over the building and floats away, drifting in the air, heading out to sea, or over the moors. Maybe that’s why we have so much rain at the moment, it’s actually pain, falling down around us. Or maybe it just seeps into the walls, filling them up, so that they gently swell. Maybe one day the whole building will lift up, ballooned with anguish, and go flying off to somewhere tropical, or a desert, where all that stuff can dissipate. Maybe I’ll turn up to work and there’ll be nothing there, just a void. Or maybe I take it home, maybe it’s wafting out of the car window as I drive, the ultimate pollution, swirling down the plughole in the shower, spinning down the drain. Or maybe it just sinks down through the floor, deep deep deep to the centre of the earth. Does it really go away? Is it drifting out into deep space, a sobbing wail of dull despair? I hope it goes. I hope we’re doing something. It’s hard to hold on to, sometimes. But maybe the doors act to hold it in while we turn it into hope, or love, or determination. God knows, we need it. Anyway, there are 6 doors between my office and the waiting room, and I feel every one of them. Maybe they shut the world away, so as we pass through them we get to somewhere safer and safer, until we are in a safe enough space. Maybe that’s what they are for.

This is for Linda Hill’s Stream of Consciousness prompt. It’s the first time I’ve done this. It was really interesting to see what’s in my head at the moment…

The sunset gown

She reached out and gathered up the sky, dipping the thread into a vat of it, hanging it to dry, so that the room was filled with blues and golds and that strange green you sometimes see fading away on a summer evening.

She wove a piece of cloth from her memories of that sunset. The deep indigo of the sky, fading to burning gold. She snipped and stitched until she had made a dress that billowed and flowed about her as she moved. Her needle whipped in and out, until the dress was emboidered with masses of clouds, all gold and peach and cream and pink – the glorious colours of burning, endless love.

She stood in front of the mirror. Her hair was a dark ocean, streaming over her shoulders, and the dress was a fiery memory of the setting sun.

The day of the wedding, she took her place at the back of the church in her burning dress. He could only look at her. The bride was fair, and pale, and drooped like a snowdrop as he took her hands, but it was the girl in flames that he gazed at as he made his vows.

For Sue Vincent’s photo prompt #writephoto



Grim Fairy Tales

“…the last petal fell, and the beast was a beast for ever. Belle blamed herself, and never recovered. As her looks faded, she lived only for the stray cats she rescued”.

“Cinderella sat in the kitchen, listening as the prince rode away. He hadn’t even let her try the slipper on.”

“When the dwarves wouldn’t sell him the glass coffin, the prince rode away.”

Maddie threw the book aside. Her stupid brother had managed to scrape two gilded letters off the cloth binding. That “m’s” had made all the difference. These new stories were just grim.


This is for Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers prompt. Photo by Mary Gail Stratford. It’s such a detailed shot of such an unusual subject. 

Poems about drink for dVerse


This most mundane,
most exotic drink,
prosaic rescue remedy,
trailing clouds of steam
and history, linking me
in my untidy kitchen with
an empress on silken cushions
wielding a bamboo whisk;
a bending woman in
a saffron sari, nimble fingers
picking. I am drinking
history and geography,
a thousand wars,
an opium addict
in a back street den,
watching the dragon smoke
drift like a dream,
I’m drinking gold
and death, and
porcelain cups,
and a ration book,
and a church fete,
and pigs grown fat
on an Irish island.
I’m drinking my
mother-in-law’s first welcome,
and my great-grandfather’s pot
kept warm all day,
my father’s heritage
in clay, and yet
I disregard so casually
the sheer improbability
of this drink
cupped in my hand.

The very wonderful Paul has given us a drinking prompt at dVerse. It is a pub, so I was going to write about gin, but it’s early morning, and I really need a cup of tea. 

Grey – haibun for dVerse

Today was grey from the moment I opened my eyes. Today was a day without colour – grey sky blurring into grey land. I spent the day in a cloud of grey, distances blurred and lacking definition. A day of minor problems, mild irritations, a day of bland foods and tepid drinks.

first blossoms appear
I am still feeling winter
cold against my skin


A grey haibun for Bjorn at dVerse. Usually I try to flip the prompt and come up with something unexpected, but today was so very grey…