Couch grass – poem for dVerse

Our pale roots
tangling through
the dark soil

knotting and knarling
like a child’s
wild hair

we metastasise
our thick roots

plump, white,
in every crack

in every cranny
we push our
fat fingers


food water warmth
we seek, we seek,

pluck us
we break
we grow again

mocking mocking

our pale roots
our green shoots

clumping spreading

we will starve
the garden
with our pale greed

Kim is hosting at dVerse tonight. She asks us to look at contrasting, yet companion poems by Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath. You might say I’ve followed Hughes – I used to live just over the hill from Heptonstall, and now I’m just up the road from Dartmoor – but I’ve chosen to echo Plath’s poem. You can connect to the original through Kim’s dVerse post, and find lots of other poets there.

Couch grass is a vile and evil thing that mocks the gardener pitilessly with it’s sickening root system. If you leave even a millimetre in the soil it will regrow, and it’s incredibly friable. I hate the stuff. If you’ve ever tried to garden in England, you’ll know it.


Thank you biscuits

It’s a miserable day. The drive down to the city is messy and difficult – too much rain, too much spray from the road, poor visibility. All the autumn colours are washed out, greyed by the rain.

We take biscuits, shortbread in a fancy tin. I don’t know why we take them today – maybe we’re feeling particularly grateful to the nursing staff who pad gently round the clinic, who are always smiling, who offer comfort and reassurance. They are warmth on this bleak November day.

a red leaf

gold, disregarded

smoke in the air

Frank is taking care of the dVerse bar tonight. Thanksgiving is coming up and we are asked to consider gratitude. 

This poem

this poem

this pool
circles spilling

she’s scratching words
in joy
in fear
in desperation

paper thin
paper skin

the sky



This is for Frank’s prompt at dVerse, where we are encouraged to imitate a poet we admire. I’ve written a lot of forms in my time. I’m really exploring haiku at the moment, and I’ve a couple of other poets on the go, but this poem is in imitation of a dVerse regular. The dVerse poets are the ones I read most often, actually. I’m really enjoying November with our very own Whimsygizmo. She’s great at playing with words and breaking things up a bit. I’m not good at letting go of grammar, and this is my attempt at being more playful with the words themselves.

water and words

The water rises
and all the fish are birds
their feathers streaming

I am a cloud
pinned to a paper sky
each nail a twig
each twig a kiss
each kiss a moonbeam

you are a fork
spearing the mountains
that swirl and dance

the water rises
and each tree is a song

green words
in a blue bowl

I am a poem
written in milk

a song sung
in a great rhythmic haze
notes scattered like light

notes shattered like light

blue words
in a green bowl.

Linda is hosting at dVerse tonight and she asks us to let our inhibitions go and enter a world of surrealism.


Crick-crack –
old one-tooth gnaws a nut

winter hungers outside
wind whispers at the keyhole
and the snow spreads her cloak
on the roof of the house

but we are safe and warm
in our gingerbread cottage

and we have tales to tell.

De is hosting at dVerse tonight. It’s quadrille night again – 44 words, and tonight’s key word is “crack”. It’s November, time to cosy by the fire and listen to stories. There are dark things outside.

New birth

Eighteen years on, a birth is happening again:
the whole house labouring
as my daughter pushes and presses
against the walls, seeking to leave.

In fact I’ve given birth
each day for the last 18 years –
first smile, first steps, first day at school,
first love, first heartbreak –
each expansion a contraction.

And now my daughter’s giving birth
to her own self, and I’m her doula,
holding her hand, urging her on –
“Push!”, I say, “Push hard,
push on, push through –

one more

and you’ll be there”.

Amaya is hosting at dVerse tonight, and we’re thinking about birth, on every level.

The mothers speak

Do not neglect us –
the women whose children
were ripped untimely
from their wombs.
We did not give birth,
we had birth taken from us –
we gave our bodies over
to the men and women
in blue scrubs
and latex gloves.
We lay down quietly
to be sliced open
for our children’s sake –
our stitched up bellies,
patchworked wombs,
our scars, inside and out,
mark us as warriors, too.

Amaya is hosting at the dVerse bar tonight. She is blissed out on oxytocin at the moment, and asks us to think about birth – literally and metaphorically. Such a rich topic – this is my literal one.

Party animal – prosery for dVerse

He was so gorgeous. It was hard to believe – she’d met him on the train, mentioned the party – and now, look, here he was, putting up decorations. She couldn’t remember buying such life-like bats, or such realistic cobwebs, but the room looked amazing. Her fingers absently rubbed the sticky patch on her throat, where moments ago he had set his lips.

How beautiful he was, and how creative! He’d transformed her flat-pack flat into a dark, mysterious boudoir.

He turned and grinned at her.

“If it’s darkness we’re having, let it be extravagant” he murmured. “I can’t wait to meet your friends. Are they all as warm and beatiful as you?”.

He held out his hand and she drifted towards him, unable to help herself. She needed the feel of his mouth on her throat again.

Victoria is running the dVerse bar tonight, and introducing us to Jane Kenyon. It’s prosery night, and the weather here is awful – it’s cold and wet, with intermittent hail. The perfect night to sit around the fire and swap spooky stories. More stories over at dVerse – and the quotation we have to fit into our 144 word prose is “If it’s darkness we’re having, let it be extravagant”. Come and play.


Who even knows what liminal means?
Reading between the lines, I know
that when you use that word,
you’re trying to impress me, to just brush
me with your intellectual prowess
leaving me hanging halfway
between desire and disdain –
I know you want to almost
touch me, almost arouse me,
leave me wanting.

This is for Sammi’s weekend writing prompt – 57 words this time, inspired by the word “liminal”. When I hear the word liminal, I reach for my revolver.

Not really. I just don’t think I’ve ever used it in a sentence or a piece of writing before, and I’m not entirely sure I know what it means…