All evening, she circled the pool
of light and conversation. I watched her,
or at least, I noticed her,
from time to time, darting,
sparkling. She bubbled
like prosecco bubbles.
She dragonflied around the room,
one moment here, one moment there,
a flash of something, an energy –
taking her prey so swiftly
that it almost felt like love.

I’m hosting dVerse tonight, and we’re looking at animal verbs.


Hunting for stars

Image by Erik Johansson https://www.erikjo.com/work

All those years I spent
looking upwards, seeking out
the stars. Searching for them.
I grew old, not realising
stars were blooming
all around me.

I could have gathered them,
held them like a child
holds a smooth stone,
piled them in buckets.
i could have marvelled
at them, but I chose
to chase the lights
that were so far away –

I wonder now
if they were ever stars?

Mish is hosting at dVerse tonight, and gives us some amazing pictures from surreal photographer Erik Johansson to inspire ekphrastic poems. Do check this out – the pictures are fantastic and I think they will generate some great poems.

Single, today of all days.

May Day. I could hear the music – the main street would be full of couples, lining up to be joined, and then to dance. As a child I’d wondered what it would be like to be, on this day, without a date. On a back street, dusky bags beneath my eyes, I found out.

One last glance at the other singles. No. I wasn’t going to tie myself to one of them for life, not even to stay. To walk the same streets every day, between a house I’d been assigned to, to a shop I’d always known? To have children who’d grow up to live here, here and nowhere else? I shrugged. Maybe this was better.

The gates opened. Someone was crying. I hugged my parents tightly, and then walked on, into the world outside. The gates closed behind us. We were alone.

A quadrille for Lisa at dVerse. A quadrille is 144 words of flash fiction incorporating a quotation from a poem. Lisa has chosen:

On this day without a date,
On a back street, dusky
— Charles Simic, from My Friend Someone

Spring cleaning.

We haven’t yet attended to the ground.
Well, I’ve been busy. It’s been on my mind,
but now it’s May. The May Queen has been crowned,
and still we haven’t touched it. I’m resigned
to a poor season, though I think that you
are not. But the house is clean, the dust
is blown away, the windows shine. Who knew
there could be so much light? We lost
ourselves a little in the dark. You know, we love
the sun, we open to it, and we spent the winter curled
up tightly, we were seeds ourselves. And I approve
this spring uncurling, reaching for the world.

A poem for Laura at dVerse. You can find the challenge here: /https://dversepoets.com/2023/05/04/take-a-four-line-alternate-rhyme-scheme-its-a-steal/. I really struggled with this one. I spent ages looking for “end words” I could work with, and then thought “Pff!” and went with the Edna St Millay “Dirge without Music” that Laura features in the prompt. I love St Millay – she has such a deftness of touch, and works so well with rhythm and rhyme – so it was hard to get away from her original piece. Those rhyming words really dictate the poem in many ways. Or maybe that’s just how it feels when you take it apart.

Mole’s lullaby

Hush now, my child, and listen to the dark:
it’s soft as velvet, soft as midnight fur.
We’re safe here, curled in our small ark.
The beetle’s scurry, and the earthworm’s shirr
promise us supper. We’ll eat well tonight –
the crunch of shell, the slip of skin on tongue.
Your teeth are made to snap and bite
and you’re a mighty hunter, though you’re young
and the dark knows you, like a mother does
and nurtures you. What is there you could need?
Up there, the world is bright, and chime and buzz,
down here is quiet and comfort, sleep and feed.
Your teeth are sharp, like tiny crescent moons:
you are night’s baby, cradled and cocooned.

For Kim at dVerse: a poem about an animal that makes a home for itself. I went for a sonnet about moles. Don’t ask me why.

If you like this poem, you might be interested in my first chapbook, The Crow Gods, available from Sidhe Press. The launch is this Friday – tickets are free from Eventbrite.

On journeying

All those unmapped journeys –
or the ones where the map
was a scrawl, and the one
where the map was a voice
saying here, no, here,
and the one when the map
was a song, half forgotten.

We were OK. We were always OK.

A quadrille for De at dVerse. Forty-four words, and tonight the keyword is “map”.

It’s late spring.

My mother’s bed is next to the window. If she sits up, she can look out at the greening trees beyond the rooftops. If she stood up and walked to the window, she could look out at a pair of pink candyfloss cherry trees that have blossomed while she’s been here. As it is, she’s too tired to sit up most of the time, let alone stand. If she turns her head, she can see the sky. That’s something, I guess.

This year, spring has got on with its business without my mum. Last year we drove up the lane to see the bluebells in the hedgerow. This year, that’s unimaginable. She hasn’t seen the tubs of bright red tulips, or the daffodils come and go. She hasn’t seen the primroses scattered across the green verges.

I hope my mum sees the treetops today. I hope the sky is blue for her. I hope there are birds.

Petals fall
New flowers open
Petals fall

A haibun for Linda Lee Lyberg dVerse, on late Spring.

Learning Spanish

Yellowness is intrinsic to the lemon.

Me, I’m sometimes happy.
sometimes sad. You’re
always young and fair. You’re kind.

The door is open sometimes,
sometimes closed. I’m sometimes here.
Sometimes I’m there. I may be tired,
emotional; I’m always elegant.

This rose is always red. It’s beautiful.

The lemon is sweetness, sourness,
yellowness. That’s what a lemon is.

Inspired by my own dVerse prompt, and by Duolingo! Come and join in.

Prosery: the poem

I was aware of it all day. The seed of a poem lay dormant in my heart, but I had no time for it. A poem is a frivolous thing: I had memory cakes to bake, and wafers to layer with joy and dreams – delicate work that requires concentration. Nobody wants dreams at a funeral, or sad memories at a wedding. I had to weave words carefully into each layer.

“Later”, I said to the poem.

But I spent the afternoon mixing luck into biscuit batter and gathering sunshine to knead into the morning bread. It wasn’t until I closed the bakery that I could look at my poor poem.

I planted it, and watered it. It will revive. I’ll have a fine display by market day, ready for those who hanker after fancy pens and pretty notebooks, but can’t grow their own poems.

Prosery at dVerse. 144 words of flash fiction, this month hosted by Mish.

Mish chose the following line to include in our prosery.

“The seed of a poem lay dormant in my heart.”

~ from “Winged Words”, Valsa George


My father’s eyes
came from his mother –
not handed down,
father to son. My brother’s
eyes are blue, and mine are, too.
My father’s eyes are brown.

My daddy’s hands
came from his mother.
He passed them on to us –
big knuckles, broad
working hands.

My dad can’t sing,
but he’s a raconteur –
my brother, too –
but I can’t tell a joke.
Nor can my mum.

That’s how things go.

For Punam at dVerse. A poem with four fathery song titles incorporated. Can you spot them?

My father’s eyes: Eric Clapton

Father to son: Queen

Daddy’s hands: Holly Dunn