Sunrises

Our first sunrise –
I was bubble-headed,
party-dressed –

and London was
a Camelot
of spires and towers
brightening
catching flame

midsummer sunrise
coming suddenly
catching us unawares

then, those weary sunrises,
early mornings,
lark-child singing,
rust-red sun
creeping slowly over
the city rooftops
day begun too early
child heavy in my arms

and now

fearful of time

I slip from our warm bed
as if I have
an assignation
with the cold-fingered
winter sun
who offers me
a pearling sky.

Oh, look who’s hosting at dVerse tonight – it’s me! Get over there and write some poetry.

After the rains

This is a dead city, and those of us who live here are just ghosts, muttering among the ruins.

When the rains moved North and the river dried up, we had the chance to leave, but some of us chose to stay until it was too late. Now we are trapped here, unable to cross the desert to find somewhere gentler to live, clinging to life in crumbling palaces.

This is the barrenness of harvest, or pestilence, I sometimes think. We sowed the seeds for this, we set loose the plague, and now we suffer as we deserve. Yet some evenings, when the air is cooler and the breeze has the taste of rain, I remember the sound of children playing, of laughter in shady courtyards, and I think then that death will be kind to me, will recognise that I am his already.

Bjorn is hosting at dVerse tonight, and it’s prosery time again! 144 words of flash fiction, including a quotation given to us by our host. Tonight he’s chosen two lines from Louise Gluck (can’t work out how to do an umlaut, sorry): this is the barrenness of harvest or pestilence. 

Head over to dVerse and check out the other writers there. It’s a great place to hang out.

softening – poem for dVerse

He drank a drink
that softened things,
blurred the edges
between now and then,
softened the world.

How easy, then,
to slip into that softness,

so seductive
to let that drink
slip smoothly down
the ragged throat,
sink into the soft pillow
of forgetting.

Frank Hubeny is hosting at dVerse tonight and asks us to consider polyptotony – the repetition of roots of words – he gives examples: I dreamed a dream, a song unsung.  

North Devon – poem for dVerse

For my eldest daughter I will take
Dart water, tumbling, and a flash
of Tamar, and a trembling dash
of Torridge water and of Taw
and in Berrynarbor we will pick
berries red and blue and sweet
and plump and ripe, and we will grind
red Peppercombe rocks
to add some spice
and in the early morning light,
we’ll go by way of Brandy Cove
to Widmouth Head and Burrow Nose,
and as the sun sets in the West
we’ll make our path from Gallant Rock
to Damehole Point by way of Stoke,
passing through Rosedown as the clouds
turn pink and gold, to Speke’s Mill Mouth,
and all this corner of the world
from Dipple up to Fairy’s Cross,
I’ll wrap it up and make it hers,
Lostmead, Foxdown, Blackchurch Rock.

Lillian is hosting Open Link Night at dVerse tonight, and looking for treats. This is a celebration of some local place names, and a nod (or more) to Edward Thomas and “If I should ever by chance”

Broad and majestic – poem for dVerse

We crossed the Shannon, heading west –
“the broad majestic Shannon” we said,
and laughed. I bet you know the writer,
you with all the facts right at your finger tips.

What does majestic mean, then? Slow,
smooth-surfaced, disregarding
of the common things – a thirst for coffee,
hunger, needing a wee, the trivia
of travelling. We were heading west
to bare our faces to the wind and rain,
and so we crossed the river, a frontier
between one way of being and another,
like every river, barrier and connection –

rivers make good borders. Here the Tamar
marks the edge, we cross it, and we always say
“how different it is here, can you tell?”.
Our family jokes, not funny, but obligatory.
We’re heading west again, towards the sunset
and the great obliviating ocean.

The dVerse bar is open, and we’re looking at all things majestic. There’s only one thing comes to mind when I hear the word “majestic” and that’s the River Shannon in Ireland. This poem isn’t really about majesty, it’s about rivers, and the crossing of rivers, and all that symbolises.

Locals

When you live here, you start to recognise the local names; local families. The Beers, the Griggs, the Heywoods, the Petherbridges. If you’re not one of them, or related to one of them, you’re not local. Beer is nothing to do with drink -it’s from Beara – a sacred grove. There are a few Bearas around as place names. Ancient remnants of pre-Christian beliefs, still lingering in my neighbour’s name.

the tree has long roots
thrusting deep into the earth
apples ripening

A haibun for Frank Tassone, who is our dVerse host tonight. We are celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day, and thinking about what it means to be indigenous. I’m an off-comed-un, not a local here. There are families that have been here for generations, which is about as indigenous as it gets round here.

Happy families – Pop poem for dVerse

A pop poem for dVerse – Victoria is hosting this month’s form for all, and we’re looking at pop art. I think you can see what I’ve tried to do  here.

Yellow breakfasts in a yellow kitchen sunshine family smiling laughing sunny-side up reaching for the marmalade reaching for the mustard with smiles as bright as bowls of custard we’re so happy in our family sunshine yellow sunshine happy Sky blue mornings made for running round the garden playing with water laughing joking water spraying rainbow making summer skies are always cloudless we’re so happy in our family sky blue happy summer smiling
Grass green afternoons we’re all sorting our recycling teamwork smiling podding peas and stealing some chopping veggies we’re so healthy so delighted with our garden neat and tidy we’re so happy in our family grass green happy garden grinning Warm red evenings on the sofa firelight flickering eating pizza watching movies all plugged in to our devices lots of snuggles cosy cuddles we’re so happy in our family warm red happy turn our faces from reality all we need is this nuclear family

Now – poem for dVerse

Use the good china
let your hands linger
on the smooth, cool curves
of each translucent cup

light those candles
wear your prettiest dress
set the table with the silverware
the fragile glasses
you’ve been treasuring
don’t let your pleasures
gather dust

A quadrille for Merrill – the word tonight is “set”. Set off for the dVerse bar, poetry on tap…

The heads of Cerberus

One head laughs, one growls, one bites –
past, present, future –
all those mystic, magic threesomes,

passing an eye amongst themselves

unspooling fate

one head grants wishes, one entangles,
one undoes – the third’s the charm

and we are slamming through the myths now
and the old magic

and one head snarls, one snaps,
one whimpers

and on the other side of this
is somewhere grey and dull
and all the dead whispering
their secrets to each other,
none of them listening,
only muttering, a tide of sound,
like waves rolling on a shingle beach
where there are no birds
nothing but pebbles
water rounded
stretching out

and on the other side of this
is the darkness of forgetting
words slipping from your grasp
the strange mystery of zips
the art of buttoning and unbuttoning
the murmur of a knife blade

and one head sighs, one shakes, one weeps

 

I’m vaguely keeping up with these prompts. Pick them up at the GoDogGo Cafe, and say thank you to Christine for putting them up.

10-5-2019