#DeepTimeDay

It’s #DeepTimeDay, marking the publication of Vol 2 of the Deep Time poetry project. If you head over to Twitter, that hashtag will lead you to a feast of readings by a bevy of wonderful poets. Matthew at Black Bough Poetry has curated/created something wonderful here. I’m so proud to be part of it.

Halloween Haibun!

My childhood Halloweens smelled of burnt turnip – much harder to carve a lantern from than pumpkins, but much spookier, too. They tasted of wet apples and toffee. My husband’s Halloweens were colcannon and barmbrack, and handfuls of nuts and raisins. My children had a bit of all that, over-laid with pumpkins and cheap sweets and tacky costumes.

My son was never bothered about Halloween. He doesn’t like dressing up and doesn’t like sweets. He was cajoled and coaxed along by his big sister (who knew he’d hand his booty over to her). The last costume she persuaded him into consisted of his usual clothes and a single black line drawn around his neck. “I’m the ghost of someone who had their head cut off”, he announced at every door we called at.

amber light
a hand reaches out
darkness falls

Frank is hosting at dVerse tonight, and we’re writing Halloween haibuns.

A charm against serpents and other dangerous creatures

I wake alone, too early in this pale heat,
the petalled dawn glimmers around me, and I
am fox-curled,
snake coiled,
eyes hawked,
sleepless and dreamless.

What would you have made of me?
Garnets from blood,
sapphires from eyes,
white pearls from tissue,
opals from bones?

I was your diamond mine,
your jewellery box,
I was red velvet, crushed,
I was blue satin,
torn and plundered.

The consumed moon curls like a day-old crust of bread,
and I lean back into my yellow dreams,
my azure slumbers.
I dream of lemons,
nightingales,
of broken glass and
dripping honey.

This is solitude’s wish,
this empty bed,
these smooth, cool sheets,
and these white petals,
morning blossoms
falling, falling, falling,
so tender on my fevered skin.

This is for Laura at dVerse, who asks us to look at the work of Samuel Greenberg, in particular Loose Pages. I’ve taken five of his “charms” and tried to emulate his listing poem – but WordPress isn’t mad keen on fancy formatting. Oh well, I tried.

Grown up – quadrille for dVerse

My muck magnet
mud splattered
puddle stomping
jam smeared
crumb dropping
sticky fingered
paint splashing
pen scrawling
finger printing
juice spilling
boy
became
smart shirted
svelte suited
shiny shoed
smooth socked
slick haired
sparkly smiling
sweet scented
freshly shampooed
softly spoken
smooth talking
man

A quadrille is a 44 word poem. We write them at dVerse. De is hosting tonight, and our magic word is “magnet”.

Writing the wolf

I’m writing again.

I’m writing a wolf.
I write that his coat gleams like ice,
that his eyes shine like sunlight on snow.

The wolf says “no”.

I write his hunger. I write his belly
clenching against his spine,
his teeth biting down on air.

No.

I write the scent of life
clinging to leaf and twig,
a red thread running
through a labyrinth.

No.

I write the paw prints
ink on paper
the trail cutting away
to the horizon

I am drawn to writing about wolves at the moment. I don’t know why. I’m just writing it out of my system. This is for the dVerse Meet the Bar night.

The Storyteller speaks.

When we look at him through the wrong end of the telescope of time, what will we see? A lazy, luxury loving coward? No – I can’t allow that. History will see a brave and handsome prince who sacrificed himself for his people. And her? A square-jawed, argumentative woman? No, a fragile flower who takes the throne after her brother’s death in battle.

I make the stories, and the stories become truth. I bend things a little here, twist them there: our last queen was rescued from a tower by the king. That’s a good story that became history. Everyone knows it.

I invented it.

I don’t care about the kingdom, or the king, or the princess. I only care about the story. The prince will die in battle, his sister will become queen, and future generations will weep to hear it. Fetch my pen. 

Kim is hosting prosery at dVerse tonight. A story told in 144 words, including a quotation: “We look at him through the wrong end of the telescope of time”.

I lost you

I’ve considered the shade of your lips
as they fade from rose-red to bone-white
and reached for your cold finger tips
in the depths of the shuddering night

I have cried, I have screamed, I have wept,
I have watched for the pale light of dawn,
I have dreamed that you lay there and slept,
I have woken and found you were gone

I have heard the cold song your blood sings
on wild nights, when the moon rides the clouds
and a blade is a beautiful thing
when you choose from a veil or a shroud

I have curled in a ball on the ground
I have stretched from the earth to the sky
I have searched, but I never have found,
I have lived, but I never can die.

Lucy is a guest host at dVerse tonight, and asks us to write a dark ballad.

Hold me

Weave me a blanket
of moonlight and mist,
of sea-fret and sunbeams,
to wrap me and rock me
and soothe me to sleep.
Fill me a pillow
with starlight and shadows,
with snowflakes and whispers,
to coze me and doze me.
Good night.

A little quadrille for an autumn evening. Merril is hosting at dVerse tonight, and our word is “blanket”.