She slipped off her true self,
easy as a winter shawl,
went to him woman-naked

for the wanting of
his green eyes,
his clever hands.

He cherished her,
loving the dance
in all her movements,
and her sudden laughter.

The years passed, gentle
as a summer ocean.

He brought the sea home for her:
a smear of silver scales
on a black knife blade,
the wild smell on his clothes,

she loved the taste of him.

The years rolled, powerful
as a winter ocean.

She wondered who she was.
Those memories, of
ocean dancing – were they just a dream?

Some people dream of flying.

Earth became her element –
the four walls of the house,
the warm dough stretching in her hands,
peas to be podded, apples peeled.

The years roared, dangerous
as a storm-tossed sea:

the years took him, in the end,
dragged him down to the dark depths,
filled up his lungs
with months, weeks, days,
stuffed his mouth with time.

After they’d buried him,
she took the bundle down,
smoothed the soft skin
with her rough hands.

She went back to the ocean,
rocks painful on her
twisted feet. Said her farewells.
Slipped on the sealskin –
easy as a winter shawl –
let the waves take her

dancing again.

Bjorn asks us for narrative verse – a poem that tells a story. The dVerse bar is open for business!


Gaia’s dream


The world turned out of summer, and the land cooled. Leaves turned brown, and berries ripened.

High on the sacred peak of Mount Olympus, Gaia slept, and as she slept, she dreamed. She dreamed of small things – puppies, kittens, baby seals with big brown eyes. She dreamed of seedlings, pushing through the soil, green leaves opening in spring sunshine. She dreamed of eggs cracking, of baby birds in soft-lined nests. She dreamed of babies, mouths pursed and suckling, latching on to her great, bountiful breasts.

Far below the mountain top, two priestesses knelt before the sacred well.

“Milk again” one of them remarked. “And winter hasn’t even started yet. Spring is months away. Someone needs to wake her up.”


For Sue Vincent’s #writephoto challenge. 

Harbour – quadrille for dVerse

Curved arm walls
gentle sea, still wind –
so rest here,
in this harbour –
moon be your lantern,
wave be your pillow –
sleep peaceful,
where stars hang deep
in mirror water,
and mackerel sparkle
in high arching sky –
breathe in,
breathe out,
be the tide.


Lillian is hosting Quadrille Night at the dVerse bar tonight. Come and join us – we’re quadrilling harbours tonight. 

That one

That bitch

elbow deep in my sweat

eating my dreams

and the dark mouth on her

chewing chewing chewing

that one

looking now

at the bones on her plate

and her sharp teeth


as she smears my blood

across the table



Mish is hosting open link night at dVerse tonight. This is for that.

Tightrope walking

The trick is to not look down.

The trick is to find that still place deep in your belly,
and hold it firmly,
and let the world move past you.

The trick is to look straight ahead,
to the end of the rope.

The trick is to make nets,
festoon the world with tightly woven webs
so that if you fall, you’ll be caught,
held gently by your own foresight.

The trick is to hang above the void
and sparkle.

The trick is to keep it balanced –
work and life and kids and friends and keeping fit
and what’s for dinner and the school run and facebook
and shopping and sex and cake to take into the office
and ringing your mum and cleaning the bathroom
because you’re so wonderful and so on top of it all.

The trick is not to mind the pain.

The trick is to hold out your arms.

The trick is to hang suspended and smile
your brightest smile.

The trick is



I’m the ringmaster at dVerse tonight, where we are writing poems on a circus theme. Do come and join us!

Carry me

Or at least carry something –
the shopping, a tray,
this raw and bleeding heart
cut from my chest,
the burden

the burden of my
foolish choices, my misplaced faith,
the washing basket,

the drinks

I don’t know.


carry yourself
head high back straight shoulderblades pulled together belly tight chin up
point your toes
move your hands smoothly or keep them tight at your waist

carry me home with one shoe dangling swinging from my left foot,
or carry me off trussed in too tight dress and thrown sack over shoulder
or carry a tune
or a message in code that only I can decipher and burn after reading



Chasing rabbits with Ms Quickly today. Two words: “carry me”. 

Hold your breath – for dVerse

Everything stopped moving –
Feathers hung suspended,
Grass was green and frozen,
Held in that still moment:
Ice in a blue prism –
Just speak and it’s broken.


The lovely Lillian over at dVerse asks us to write an alphabet sestet – a six line poem, where each line begins with a sequential letter of the alphabet – in this case, E-F-F-H-I-J. Short but sweet. 


Free gift in every packet –

it might not be what you expect. Anticipate delight, or fear, or that bright tingle of desire that sets your fingers splaying –

in that anger you spilled
over the kitchen floor, there is
the seed of change –

rise up and use it. Breathe in deep and roar. Build roads and bridges, use your strength, haul on the rope, tighten your grip. Don’t let go –

 and in that weight of fear there
is some love,

as if they’re sisters, love and fear, arms linked, flip sides of the same coin of passion, an old coin, warm in your hand, sticky from sitting in your pocket –

and in that great, grey,
overwhelming grief, you’ll find

somewhere in that cloud, that blocks your sight and leaves you groping, hands out, blinded by loss, reading the air with your fingertips –

a memory of joy.

Hold out your hand.


This is for Amaya at dVerse. She asks us to take something we previously posted on a past 11 September and play with it. My original poem was published last year Free gift in every packet – for dVerse – and it’s here in italics. It was interesting to review an old poem.