Up on “The cure for sleep”

Tanya Shadrick has written a book called “The Cure for Sleep”. It’s due to be published in January 2022. As part of her project she is publishing extracts on Substack and encouraging other writers to respond to them. You can find her website here: https://thecureforsleep.com/

I love Tanya’s writing and I’m really looking forward to the book being published. In the meantime, I’ve managed to respond to a couple of her extracts. You can find my latest response on “choosing” here: https://thecureforsleep.com/the-cure-for-sleep-june/#SarahConnor

And you can find more stories here: And there are more stories here: https://thecureforsleep.com/beyond-the-book/

Summer solstice – haibun for dVerse

The solstices suit me. I’m not balanced enough for the equinoxes – I’m drawn to long days, evenings stretching out like shadows, the scent of roses, pipistrelles flittering overhead, the rooks chattering comfortably. I love the winter solstice, too, – the early darkness, the nights of frosts and stars, the nights when the moon hurtles through cloudscapes, the call of owls.

I like coming at sunrise from the wrong direction.

I like staking a claim on night.

On this solstice day, the everything is bursting with life. June has brought roses and honeysuckle, the trees are leaf-heavy, the fields are re-growing after their first mowing, the hedgerows are frothing with elderflowers and Queen Anne’s lace, with dog roses and wild campion. It’s our moment to dance at the top of the year.

shadows stretch
I am a goddess
flower-crowned. 

A solstice haibun for Frank at dVerse.

June dreaming

It’s June, and I’m dreaming of roses –
roses that murmur
in all shades of pink,
from the whispers of kisses
to the bright brazen hussies
that hang over the path.

There are roses here
for all of your dreams:

the striped ones,
that trumpet
a thousand big tops,
tatty but tempting,

or that pure white wildling
escaped from the hedgerow
that carries me homeward,

or, buxom and wholesome,
the rambler that climbs,
and blushes and nods
as you enter the gate

or the red one that carries
the rich smell of wine,
and the softness of lipstick,
the warmth of a dress,
the gloss of a nail. .

I could drown here, you know,
I could drown in this garden, that’s
heavy with petals heavy with rain.

It’s June.
and I’m drowning in roses.

Dreaming for the solstice with earthweal.

Rooks at twilight

We are waiting for the rooks to rise
the way they rise each evening
the way they rise as the light falls
the way they rise as one
rolling bowling calling squalling roiling boiling swirling whirling
mass of birds
wings spread like hands
against the darkening sky
circling once
twice
then settling again
black leaves
black fruit
black birds
carved out of nothingness

and I wonder what stories
they tell themselves
about how it is
to be a rook.

For Lill at dVerse OLN.

Thrill

I was always…….teetering
drawn to the edge…

where safety ends
and danger…….. starts

I liked………I feared
the air under my hands

waves……..crashing

the swooping gulls
the dip slip flip……..of my belly

I was caught……..by my own gaze

I swayed………..stayed safe
through luck……not care

until you reached……..for me
your arms…….my rope

my safety…….your love

dVerse has a guest host tonight. A poem about risk, for Tricia Sankey.

Apple

I’ve peeled so many apples now
my hands know the firm roundness of them,
the movement of the blade around them —
a sharp satellite, trailing yellow juice.

I cut from stem to calyx, downwards:
the knife runs cleanly through.
There is a wholesomeness to apples:
the white flesh crisp, fine-grained,
the sweet, sharp scent. The skin.

I’m echoing older, defter hands –
All Hallows spiral; petals sliced
from fine white apple-flesh,
fanned out and sugared,
blanketed in dough or pastry,
motherhood enfleshed, enmeshed;
the shimmering crescents splayed
beside a piece of cheese. I know
you cut along those lines
of longitude, stem down to calyx,

but sometimes, secretly, the witch in me
slices across the apple’s midriff,
just to view the secret star
all apples hold inside them.

Just to remind myself it’s there.

A fruity little number for Kim at dVerse

The art of cutting back

This is our craft: we cut, we prune, we thin –
we carve away unnecessary stone.
We open up the space that lets the light flow in.

We card the wool, we comb it, and we spin
stories. And then we cut them to the bone.
This is our craft. We cut, we prune, we thin.

We paint our canvases, we keep the colour thin,
as if the shadows that we see have blown
and opened up the space that lets the light flow in.

We write our poems, verses clear as gin,
and cool as ice, compact as cherry stones:
This is our craft; we cut, we prune, we thin.

We prune our orchards, treat our trees as kin,
we tend to them because they are our own,
we open up the space that lets the light flow in.

We are the guardians, firm against the wind
that breaks and tears, that seeks to overthrow –
this is our craft – we cut – we prune – we thin –
we open up the space that lets the light flow in.

For Brendan at earthweal. I thought I’d write a villanelle, as that feels like a crafted form.

I’m also putting it up for Laura’s dVerse prompt on repetition. Do check out both prompts – both are consistently interesting, exciting and inspiring!