Evolution stutters.
Stuff banks up, then cartwheels suddenly.
Boys become men. A woman dies.
A red leaf spirals down.
The rain starts – did you feel a drop?
I think I did – and then we’re running
under cover. Apples ripen.

These empty streets –
are they tomorrow
or a week ago? I couldn’t say.
Sculpted skies, birds calling,
spring morphing into summer
morphing into autumn.

How much do memories cost, then?
They sink into the soil,
red ice-pops melting sticky
the ground mouth-gaping,
gulping at ersatz cherry juice.

Stuff banks up. A pushchair and a rainbow dress,
sunshine on water. Piles of books,
things fluttering through my fingers.

Wait. I scribble in a yellow notebook,
tap on a keyboard,
then a typewriter,
I paint my phrases
onto parchment, vellum,
press letters into clay,
I chisel words into the rock.

I draw a horse head
on a half-lit wall.

Tell me a story. I’m all out of words.

It’s Peter’s first night hosting at dVerse, and he’s given us an exercise in editing. You can read the details here:

I don’t do much editing. I spend a lot of time working a poem out in my head, so I think I edit before I commit anything to paper. However, I regularly write for Brendan’s earthweal prompts and I find those poems tend to be a bit more relaxed and free-form than my dVerse poems. This was originally an earthweal poem. Do check earthweal out.

I don’t look in mirrors any more

I carry my face
like a bowl full of water
fearful of spilling.

The world is full
of broken mirrors,
twisting screens
suncatchers spiralling
so that my face
surprises me
my body
shocks me

with its cold distortion.
Time drops stones
in the still pool
of my reflection.

The prism holds
a rainbow,
fans it out across
the kitchen floor.

I’m hosting at dVerse tonight, and asking for self-portraits. This is mine.


stops and starts –
the way change banks up,
unnoticed, then breaks through suddenly,
cartwheeling. Boys become men.
A woman dies. A leaf falls.
The rain starts – did you feel a drop?
I think I did – and then we’re running
under cover. Fruit ripens.

Empty streets – are they the future?
or the past? I couldn’t say.
Endless blue skies, birds singing,
spring slipping into summer
slipping into autumn. What
are memories worth? They cling,
they float away, they sink,
ice-pops melting stickily,
the soil opening to take
the cherry coloured sugary
synthetic juice.

A pushchair and a rainbow-coloured dress,
sunshine on water. Piles of books.
Fluttering through my fingers,
scraps of something, anything.
Scratching the words on rock,
pressing them into clay,
the art of writing onto vellum,
parchment, the tap-tapping,
bell-ting typewriter,
the keyboard that I’m using now,
the notebook that I scribble in,
what are we doing?

A horse drawn on a wall in semi-darkness

Tell me a story. I’m all out of words.

For Brendan at earthweal – thinking about evolution and change and stuff like that.