Rooting – for dVerse

The strength of the tree
is in its roots –
that dark mirror
that plunges into
the scented dark,
where strange creatures,
many legged,
dark carapaced,
nest among its
secret branchings.

The power of the tree
is there, in the fine,
searching threads,
all mouth,
blind nipple-suckling
water, seeking out
mineral sustenance
down there,
where the worm
glides silent
in its heavy medium,

and that depth
holds the tree,
supports the green,
dancing leaves,
the bright blossom,
the round, ripening fruit,
all nourished by
that subterranean
echo, that patient
force, stone splitting,
creeping down
into the darkest places,
finding life there.

 

Paul is hosting at dVerse tonight, and asking us to go underground. We are all rooted in Mother Earth, she holds the mysteries of life and death for us. 

Pain – for dVerse.

I knew pain
when she was a little girl
in a jangling orange dress
sobbing over a grazed knee.

Back then,
she smelt of hot tarmac
and her hands were sticky
with melted lolly.

Raspberry.

I met her later,
wobbly in high, shiny shoes,
buying a hangover
in a high, shiny bar,

and then again
in a sun-bleached square
in a foreign country,
afraid and alone.

I held her hand
when she doubled over,
blue hospital gown
open at the back.
Her breath was sour,
and her hair was wet
with sweat.

But yesterday, when
I reached out for her,
her cracked laugh,
her bitter scent
caught in my throat,

and there was only music,
played on a broken clarinet.

she had forgotten me.

Mish at dVerse asks us to play with our senses. 

I know that you can come up with many more of these and so I leave you to it! Choose something abstract such as a colour, emotion, idea, concept, a quality, trait or situation…and bring it to life using one or more senses. You could also choose something more concrete, as long as you are use senses that are not normally associated with it. For example, “moonlight”. How does it sound? I think you get the idea. Find new ways to dabble with the poetic magic of the senses.

From my poetic kitchen – haibun for dVerse (and for Steve)

It’s May, and I’m making mince pies. Tomorrow we are holding Steve’s leaving do. We love Steve, and Steve loves Christmas dinner, so that’s what he’s getting. He deserves all the love, all the turkey, all the stuffing, every single pig in blanket. He’s a great friend, a great colleague, a great therapist. He has made a difference, to my life and to many others: all through my chemo, years ago now, he drove miles out of his way to bring my son home to me from nursery. He brings all that love and care into the therapy room, where he has literally saved lives. He really has no idea how wonderful he is.

So, I’m making mince pies.

The mincemeat is left over from Christmas. I made it myself – it’s a Nigella recipe, that uses a little quince. I’ve just loosened it with home-made quince brandy, so it smells really fruity. The pastry is made my mother-in-law’s way, with lots of butter, and a little icing sugar. I’ve bound it with an egg yolk, the way she does. I’ve cut out pale discs of pastry, and loaded them with juicy mincemeat, and made the scraps into a tiny pasty for my son, who announced that he loves mince pies. Maybe something rubbed off on him on all those car journeys.

Nobody’s quite sure how the logistics will work tomorrow. Everybody’s bringing a plate of something. I think it will probably be a little chaotic. We will reminisce. There will be some laughter, and possibly tears, and lots and lots of food and love.

White hawthorn blossom
Snowdrifts in the spring hedgerow,
Scents the warm spring air.

Bjorn at dVerse asks us to write a haibun, starting from a recipe. Coincidentally, I made mince pies (!) tonight for a dear friend’s leaving do, so this is for Steve as well – though he’d better not read it until tomorrow.

A list of apple names – for dVerse

Slack ma girdle
Camelot
Billy Down Pippin
Winter Lawrence

There is a crunch
a fragrance
in these names.

Fair maid of Devon
Don’s delight
Glass apple
Golden ball

There is a girl
rubbing an apple
on her skirt,
to make it shine

Black Tom Putt
Cornish Gilliflower
Hangydown
Hoary morning

A boy tossing
A glowing apple
High into a blue
September sky

Sops in wine
Cotehele beauty
Pigs nose
Red ruby, Morgan Sweet

A woman peeling and slicing,
Rolling out pastry
Hands floured,
Cloves and cinnamon to hand,
Singing as she works

Paignton Marigold
Lucombe’s seedling
Pomeroy of Somerset
Farmer’s glory
Quench

The men picking,
crushing, golden juice
trickling, and then
the long wait
in the barrel.

Yarlington mill
Ice apple
Nine square
Hockings green

Old names,
Graced,
Echoing down years,
Sweet and crisp,
Sweeter for being stored.

Names of traditional apples from the South West of England. I’m ever so slightly obsessed with them – and these are only a few. I didn’t really need to add anything else, but I have attempted to explain my obsession. This is for Victoria at dVerse, who is asking for list poetry.

Echo – for dVerse

Echo was silent
but the moon called
across the water,

and there was a
mirroring in
our movements.

Echo was silent,
but we were
synchronous

and the rhythm danced
between us, and we
danced between
the rhythm,

giving and giving back.
Echo was silent.

De at dVerse is asking for quadrilles – 44 words – with “echo” as the key word.

Psycho – for dVerse

Come in, take a seat, observe my domain –
You can see I don’t do this for financial gain!
So why do I do it? The thrill of the power
I feel as I sit here for hour after hour…

Hey, right at the start I let her decide,
If she wants to commit, then she’s in for the ride,
And I’m always surprised when they say that they will –
Why do they do it? I guess it’s THEIR thrill.

I’m reeling her in now, taking it slow,
Step by step, feeling how far she will go –
If she’s silly enough to get caught in my net,
Then I’m sorry, my friend, she deserves all she gets,

Her parents are blind, they just do not see
Her boredom, depression, her teenage ennui,
And her friends let her down. But I’m always there –
And the comedy is, that she thinks that I care.

And you’d be surprised at the things that she’ll try,
Random instructions from some random guy,
Yeah, you’ll be surprised at the things that she’ll do,
The pain she will take if I’m telling her to:

If I tell her to cut, watch her pick up the knife,
If I tell her to jump, watch her offer her life,
And I feel like a god, as I sit in my room,
Fingers on keyboard, dictating her doom.

 

We were talking at work yesterday about a sick social media game that encourages young people to experiment with self harm and suicide. I’m not going to name it. If you’ve heard of it, you’ve heard of it. If you haven’t, it needs no publicity from me. Modern day evil for dVerse where we are asked to offer a dramatic monologue in the style of  The Laboratory by Robert Browning. 

Haibun Monday – the song we sing along to.

For a while, it was everywhere, and it became our sing-along song. I wonder why? It’s catchy, yes, but so are lots of songs – that’s why they become big hits. I think it’s the fact that Ed Sheeran is singing about growing up in the countryside, and suddenly it’s a world you recognise. You are country children. You understand rolling down hills, finding your fun where you can, hanging out with a motley group of friends – not much choice for you about who you are close to. You’ve stopped to watch the sun setting. It’s a song about nostalgia, and I imagine you both in 10, 15 years’ time, hearing it unexpectedly on the radio, and being swung back to this car, these roads, this bit of your live. Nostalgia squared. It’s not played so often now, but we still belt the chorus out together, driving down these country lanes.

Gull flies on white wings
White blossom in the hedgerows
Memories of spring

For Hayesspencer at dVerse . This is one about the songs we sing along to in the car. At the moment, there’s only really one…though I hadn’t seen the video before, and it just made me cry. 

Limerick – for dVerse

A lady called Marie Harel
Made a thing with a terrible smell
If you want to know where,
It was in Camembert,
But it’s now in my fridge – can you tell?

For Frank at dVerse. A limerick. I really wasn’t going to do this, but Google inspired me. It’s Marie’s 256th birthday – another unsung female hero. But I must do something about the smell in the fridge…

Still – quadrille for dVerse

Grace at dVerse asks us for a quadrille – 44 words including the prompt word – “still”.

Still

still crazy,
still dancing,
still chancing,
still charming,
still telling stories,
still looking for stars,
still watching the changing moon,
still putting on one more tune
still trying something new
still soaking up sun,
still dreaming,
still learning,
still singing
still caring
still you.