About sarahsouthwest

I'm now in my early 50s. I started writing again as a way of exploring the world, and feel that over the last 2 years I have really grown as a writer. By day I work with children and young people with mental health difficulties. I juggle my own two children, my work, my writing practice, generally managing to keep all the balls up in the air.

The dream – poem for dVerse

The dream slipped through
my fingers
like wet glass

– sunlight striping the pillow –

leaving me just the feeling
that something strange
and true had happened –

and you were there

there was a bus
or, no, a fish

and a deep colour blue
and a strange, twisted tree
that might have been a cloud,
and birds, or candy canes,
and you

it meant so much

the feeling haunted me
all day
I couldn’t shake it
but I couldn’t name it

Lillian is hosting at dVerse tonight, and we are dreaming dreams.

Wild – quadrille for dVerse

Well, you know I like things a little wild –
the lawn fraying at the edges, daisies,
a path that swoops into the woods,
a man who builds a fire out of driftwood,
the waves rolling in, and the sea-mist spraying.
A little wild.

Kim is hosting at dVerse tonight. It’s quadrille night and we are writing 44 word poems including the word “wild”.

Polar bear as the ice melts

So, maybe I’m the bear,
and the fear I see is my fear,
and the bewilderment is mine.,

as if I’m swimming hard
in a dissolving world, where all
those age-old certainties are melting –

that the world is ours,
that I am good,
that this place is bountiful,
and beautiful, and bottomless.

Maybe we’re all the bear,
realising that our home is shrinking
to a small space that can’t support
our weight, can’t feed us,
but we can’t step on
without disaster,

and the world is screaming.

The truth is that
the bear is the bear.
She swims on. I don’t know
if she feels hope, or fear,
and I can’t claim her
as a metaphor. She’s flesh and blood
and bones protruding,
she’s hungry
and the ice is melting.

Sherry Marr is hosting atEarthweal,and asks us to think about the animals affected by climate change.

River love

What do we mean, then, you and I?
You say you dreamed
of me, I dreamed of you.
That’s true, at least. I dreamed your sinews,
hard cords, as your arms stretched,
the skin hiding the power beneath.
I dreamed your hair, silky,
smoother and softer than cat’s fur,
each hair a thread leading
through the labyrinth, leading me,
pulse pounding, heart jumping.
I reach for you, I lean
to be held, your muscles
taut, the skin hiding the power beneath,
like lake water rippling
as the wind moves towards
the waterfall, the flow, irresistible, the
long suck of the current: underwater jungle.

I’m not writing as easily as usual at the moment. I’m lacking inspiration. Maybe it’s the weather, maybe it’s that life is busy, maybe it’s because I’m doing a project outside of these prompts. I don’t know. It was a push to get something down tonight, and I ended up using a form.

You’ve heard of a Golden Shovel poem? Well, this is, strictly speaking, a Jade Shovel. I stole the line end words from Jade Li’s poem, posted on dVerse tonight. This is for the dVerse open link night, too.

Adeline begins an adventure.

Darkness fell, and Adeline was alone in the forest. She shivered. The full moon shone on the rock face in front of her, and she started to climb. Up high, she’d be away from predators, and in the morning she’d be able to get an idea of where she was. She rubbed at her eyes with a free hand, and decided to cheer herself by singing. She could only remember a rousing hymn that her aunt sang with gusto:

“…the Rock cries out to us today…”

“You may stand upon me, but do not hide your face”.

Adeline froze. The rock itself had spoken. Had she woken it, with her singing? Or was she dreaming?

There was movement. The rock spoke again.

“Don’t be afraid, child. Trolls don’t eat humans”.

Adeline considered. A troll was definitely preferable to her aunt.

Frank is hosting Prosery at dVerse tonight, and gives us a quote from Maya Angelou:

The Rock cries out to us today, You may stand upon me, But do not hide your face.

That is a tough one, you have to admit.

Water again.

Water trickles from the base of the cliff –
it’s found its way along fault lines and cracks,
smoothing its own way down, whispering
of storms and oceans and wide green rivers,
muttering of the life that moves through kelp
and grass, the strength of trees, the softness
of apple blossom, murmuring of rain,
patiently wearing a path, carving a gorge,
a cave.

Water, soft as a lover’s finger tip.

One drop of water.

One tsunami crashing.
The drowned sleep,
embracing emptiness.

Water slaps solid liquid hard as steel,
crushing, unstoppable – it will always find a way,
like love, like anger, like grief, it is
a metaphor for its own strength.

This wet country, where the water coils and swirls,
carving the cliff edge, leaving raw rock, stones spilt
on a stony beach.

“I’d sleep in the back bedroom” we say,
looking at the house at the cliff edge, waiting to fall.
We imagine we’d escape.
We won’t.

A poem for Earthweal,where we contemplate the state of this beautiful planet, and the climate catastrophe we have created. Thank you to Brendan for this prompt.

The last of the celebrations

It’s not a bad way to see off the celebrations,
as we must.

We must fold away all the
brightly coloured cloths, and shut them away
from the light. We must take down
all the shiny things, and the sparkly things,
and the bright, glistening things
that turn gently in the candle light,
and we must finish off the good food,
the rich food, the creamy food,
the cheese and the brandy flavoured butter,
and sigh, and pat ourselves, and dream
of crisp white cabbage leaves and
slices of onion, eye-stinging, and we
must swallow the last of the wine,
and that sweet drink, that everyone wanted
and nobody drank, and we must drain
the dregs of the good coffee,
and let the last
of the chocolates melt on our tongues
and we must turn off the music,
and let the silence in,
and we must turn out the lights,
and say a last good night
and leave the room.

Mish is hosting at dVerse tonight, and asks us to write a poem inspired by the last line of a book. It can be any book, she says, so I took her at her word and picked up the nearest one. It happened to be The Kitchen Diaries by Nigel Slater – one of my favourite food writers. The last line of the book is It’s not a bad way to see off the celebrations and I just took it from there.

January mornings.

These white mornings
when the wind roars
rattling the bare branches
of all the ash trees
and the rooks
ride the wind
like crazy kids on bikes,
these are winter,
the mud splashed
January winter of
empty lanes
and full ditches
and creeping dark.

De’s behind the bar tonight, and we’re quadrilling with a roar. Pop over to dVerseand scribble along.

Haunted

If there are ghosts, then I think
they are the ghosts of children.
They must be the ghosts of children –
the sounds you hear are a slap dash
of running feet, a shard of laughter,
a moment of song.

Children who sing.
Children who slide into small spaces,
who creep through the dark
and then emerge into sunlight,
children who dream of full bellied sleep,
children who can still dream.

If there are ghosts, I am haunted
by the ghosts of children,
all the lost children, snatched
by the ocean, left behind
in the deep dark of the world,
the wraith children who faded away
in silence. Only their breath.

We are hunkering down as Storm Brendan passes overhead. This is for the other Brendan and the Earthweal project.