Joy is water – poem for NaPoWriMo

Joy, then, is water –

clear water bubbling like a mountain spring –

water that can’t be carried with you,

freezing changes it, and trapping kills it

Consider the movement of water,

the music of water as it tumbles over rocks,

the coolness of water in the heat and dust,

the way it makes the seed unfurl,

the gift of green.

Joy, then, is water,

drink it deeply,

then move on.

Trusting that there

will be another spring

to drink from.

A meditation on a powerful emotion, for NaPoWriMo. It’s the penultimate day.


So what exactly is a poem? NaPoWriMo 28

A poem is just words

and spaces.

I write the words, but
the poem grows
in the spaces,

like the wilderness
at the edge of the park,

like the wolf
in the dog

like the weed
pushing up
through tarmac

like the seagull nesting
on an office block cliff.

Day 28 of NaPoWriMo, and we are asked to write a “metapoem” – a poem about poems.

Maybe this is actually a poem about metaphors. It was originally going to end with “the poem grows in the spaces”, but I can’t stop the words, sometimes.

Three wishes – NaPoWriMo 27

Three wishes, and the third’s the charm, as
April fills the woods with green, and
perfumes everything, like some mad woman
in a posh department store. You promised me
three wishes, and I whispered them,
hot breath, up close against your skin.
June’s on us now, and that hot breath has
burn’d me more than you. Three months
since you first made that promise, and the
first wish was granted. And the second?
I don’t know. It’s cooled a little, in the waiting. I
saw a life without you, and I think that
you saw something, too. No charm, then, but
fresh wishes, cooler ones; new dreams.

Day 27 of NaPoWriMo and the prompt today is to take inspiration from one of Shakespeare’s sonnets. I’ve taken a couple of lines from Sonnet 104. I guess this is 14 lines, so you could stretch the definition and call it a sonnet but I haven’t followed any other rules.

Three April perfumes in three hot Junes burn’d,

Since first I saw you fresh.

Where have all the orchards gone? – NaPoWriMo 25

Spring answers the question
in a pink and white flurry
the orphan tree in suburban garden,
pretty as a fair maid,
a glory of petals
by the farmhouse door,
a wildling in the hedgerow,
and a haze of slack-girdled bees
with their low throbbing hum.
A capful of petals
floats like silk,
and a sackful of flies
like confetti – petal storm –
faintest scent of honey
in the spring air.

All the ghost orchards
are awake now,
oaken pins and gilly flowers,
all the lost trees
are found again,
and the world is
pink and white.

A spring poem for NaPoWriMo Day 25

We are asked to write a poem that is specific to a season, uses all 5 senses, and includes a rhetorical question. I’ve used the question as a title, and included some references to traditional Devon apple varieties, too .

All you took – poem NaPoWriMo 24

We were the roofbeams of this house –
together, you and I – and when
you raised yourself above me,
on your strong arms, I was
protected from the world,

and I gave you the key
to all my secret spaces –
led you in, let you roam freely.

You were the table that we sat at –
talked at, ate, drank at –
sharing time, and food, and love –

and you were the music in this house,
the flickering colour, movement,
the sheer joy of song, and living.

Now: nothing. You took everything,
and I am left alone. One feather,
dropped, careless, as you left, mocks me,
mimicking a tear.

It’s Day 24 of NaPoWriMo, and this is not what I expected to write. The prompt was to take a reference book, open it randomly, and be inspired by something on the pages in front of you. I chose Brian Cox’s “The Human Universe”, and opened on a page that was about the development of Newtonian mathematics. It was quite interesting, I could feel something stirring, maybe. Then I read on, and we got onto early writing. The earliest known piece of writing is about a court case between two priests. One left their shared house, taking a key to an upstairs room, two wooden beams, a table and six birds. That’s a poem in itself.

Cat – poem for NaPoWriMo – 23

The cat is melting into the wall,

like treacle: viscous slide

into the horizontal,

eyes closed, paws limp,

she’s an old t-shirt

washed a thousand times,

she’s silence,

still as a dark pool,

dreaming of dreaming.

The cat is still

as a dark pool,

tense as a blade

quivering with desire,

eyes open, holes to let

the light shine through,

and eyes, ears, nose –

all senses pointed

as a dagger,

pure focus.


NaPoWriMo prompts us to write about an animal. I bet you thought I was going to write about a rook, didn’t you? If you know anyone who wants to publish a rook chapbook, let me know. I do have a slight poetic obsession.

On listening to my son playing the piano – poem for NaPoWriMo

Somehow, the notes fall into silence,
or rise, and somehow you are still,

and you are never still, you squirm and wriggle,
fingers tap-tapping, always on the edge
of movement, and yet now those fingers
draw the image of the music
on the keys, and the notes rise,
or fall, each in its own sphere of silence,
bubbled in stillness, and your hands –
muddy in my memory, waving sticks –
move delicately, are the thing
that calls out the silence, and the music,

and somehow the notes rise into stillness,
or fall. And somehow you are silent.

Day 22 of NaPoWriMo and we are asked to write poetry about creating another art form.

Today is a little crazy – poem 21 NaPoWriMo

On Monday you sent me a letter – written in words of cloud on a bright blue sky and on Tuesday your love was a shower of birdsong, piercing my skin and today the sea is a forest of words and your words are an ocean, and the paper waves slice across the world like knives bladed with rainbows, like a smile, like a fish cutting through a waterfall, and each rose is a story, and each story is a bird, and each bird is a glass of clear water and my dreams are full of pinwheels, spinning out moments of joy, and rain that glimmers as it falls, and everything reminds me of something, and nothing is a stone I can hold in my hand and the weight of nothingness is the heaviest thing of all.

For NaPoWriMo 21 – a poem of wild imagery.