The spice drawer – poem for dVerse

This drawer is full of magic –
I have witchcraft stored here –
tangled in the twisting scents of nutmeg
and vanilla, waiting to be stirred
into life with my long spoon –

all the colours of the desert,
and a slow line of camels
making their way westward –

and I have dreams, too,
dreams that crunch through
the snow, sugar under foot,
dreams that pirouette
across the table –
dreams of gingerbread,
and the fresh scent of pine trees;

and memories – these warm
memories, fresh from the oven –
the scent of cloves on Sunday mornings,
the smell of cinnamon, crisped with sugar –
a street bazaar that scatters
cumin and coriander
through the morning air,
the hot taste of chai
as the mist rises
and the first train pulls in –

this drawer is full of magic
waiting to be set free.

Gina is tending the bar at dVerse tonight and asks us to look for the magic in ordinary things. Christmas is coming, and the spice drawer is being raided on a regular basis in our house. I’ve always liked the idea that these exotic commodities manage to make their way to my muddy corner of Devon, bringing the sunshine with them. 


Solstice – poem for dVerse

I’m struggling with these long December nights,
can’t bear the shortness of the winter days,
I celebrate the bravery of the lights

the sky’s a thousand different shades of grey,
I’m duller than the dullest cloud myself,
can’t bear the shortness of the winter days

I’d like a jar of sunshine on my shelf,
even a bowl of stars would be enough,
I’m duller than the dullest cloud myself –

so deck the halls with multi-coloured stuff,
with golds and reds and greens that shine and glow –
even a bowl of stars would be enough –

outside the rain falls, and the cold winds blow,
so fill the house with spicy scents all day,
with golds and reds and greens that shine and glow –

let’s feast the solstice – send it on its way,
I’m struggling with these long December nights
so fill the house with spicy scents all day,
and celebrate the bravery of the lights.

Oh, my goodness – more repetition. Thanks for a great prompt, Jilly – I do like the challenge of a form – it appeals to the bit of me that likes crosswords. Here’s a terzanelle – my very first. There’s lots more repetition going on over at dVerse. 

Secret ingredient – poem for dVerse

I’m not like her, she’s
like a fish, flickering, caught
in a fine net, somewhere between
sunset and sunrise, childhood
games long gone, and
nothing to show but the
scars left by the world
as it whirled past, wielding
its laughter like a blade, like nothing
that can be held. But
even so, I’m like her, as a
bird is like a fish, a pair
of darting curves, of
nestling pom-poms.

A poem for Amaya’s dVerse prompt last night. The secret is that I’ve borrowed a verse from De’s poem for her own Quadrille prompt on Monday. I always feel a Golden Shovel has a secret ingredient in it…

Waiting – haibun for dVerse

The waiting room was full today – full of people, and of stories. A couple holding hands, age-knotted fingers tightly intertwined. A mother and a daughter, clinging so closely to each other, I couldn’t tell which was the patient, which the protector. A dapper man in a trilby and a winter coat, dropping in from some noir movie. Two blondes sharing a single magazine, heads together.

The waiting room was full today. Full of fear, and love.

world is frost-whitened

each blade of grass sharp and clean

waiting for sunrise

Imelda is keeping the bar at dVerse tonight. It’s haibun night, and we are writing about waiting.

Skin – poem for dVerse

My bare feet are cold against the kitchen floor.

I chose soft clothes today,
as if my body is a child
in need of comfort.

I’ve held on tight – the kettle handle
smooth beneath my palm –
me clinging on, like it’s
a lifeline linking me
to planet Earth

my feet are bare against the cold kitchen floor

I closed my hands around the cup –
heat almost pain,
pain almost heat –
but nothing warms me –

I trailed my fingers
over the wooden table,
letting the faint, fine ridges
of the grain be felt
letting the texture soothe me

my cold feet bare against the kitchen floor

I chose soft clothes today,
to hold me like a mother’s arms,
cradling me.

I’m hosting at dVerse tonight, and we’re exploring the sense of touch. Come and join in – it’s the poets’ pub, and it’s alway good to spend time there.

Winter afternoon – a poem for dVerse

The sky is a piece of paper,
crumpled and smoothed out
by grubby hands, smeared
with grey, mottled by time

all meaning rubbed away

the gull is a blade,
slicing through the air,
each feather sharpened
by the wind, each turn
drawing blood

the sky is a dirty
sheet of paper.

the gull is a
feathered blade.


Bjorn is behind the bar at dVerse tonight. It’s a Meet the Bar night, and he’s asked us to think about metaphors. 

I actually think it would be harder for me to write a poem without metaphors, and for it still to be a poem. 

Utopia is a library – poem for dVerse

The man on the radio said
the council will be cutting down
on non-essential services

I remember the smell
as you climbed the stairs:
fat radiators pumping out heat,
and shelves of books

We have to make sacrifices,
he said.

but I remember the new library,
and the light that came in
from the tall windows, and the
plump red seat

We will be cutting down
on fripperies and frivolities

and I remember my children
choosing picture books
from the primary coloured box

and I want to scream

and I remember all the pale wood tables
in rooms full of books
where I’ve sat and worked
and read and worked
and studied and written
and worked
and the worlds that have opened up to me
and the journeys I’ve taken
and the lives I’ve tasted
and the mountains I’ve soared over
and the oceans I’ve drowned in
and the stars I’ve gazed at
and the kisses I’ve felt

and I want to live in a place
where everyone knows that


Amaya is the bartender over at dVerse tonight, and she’s asking us to write about Utopias. I’m not sure this exactly meets the brief – and it’s the poem I never wanted to write – the one inspired by “something I heard on the news today” – that’s a heartsink at a poetry reading – but there you go. Sometimes you have to write about important things. I’ve been mulling over the fact that libraries are “non-essential” services all day, and realising that that is NOT the world I want to live in.