Who Stole the Tarts?

I know who stole the tarts
because I saw her – jam-smeared
mouth, red as a raspberry,
and fingers all sticky –
I saw her slipping out
into the garden, crumbs
trailing her.

I know who stole the tarts
because I met her
by the sundial,
where the roses
sun themselves,
all red and white,
and she smelt of sugar

and she was smiling.

In the house of the Duchess.

In the house of the Duchess
the Duchess sleeps
in a white room, dreaming
of lambs, whipped cream
and white gardenias,

while Alice flickers
like a flame
down endless

where the carpets
are soft white moss
on naked feet,

past the room filled
with spirals of blue smoke

and the one
where music tumbles
heedless, needless,
across the threshold,

past a row of mirrors,
reflecting Alice
like a ticking clock,
and all those
ice white
marble statues,
straining to move,

down endless twisting
stairs, past windows
that look out
on snowy lawns,

past the room
of purple tears,
and the one
where strange plants
coil and creep,

until, finally,
she leaves the scent
of lilies far behind.

Another ride on the mushroom.

Humpty Dumpty – RTMM

In this photograph, Alice
is sitting on the wall,
glossy hair tied back,
clearing her solemn face.

Looking at it now
she can remember being set there,
by two strong hands, gripping
her waist, over her tartan skirt,
swinging her up, effortless.

She can’t remember whose the hands were.
So many jolly uncles, laughing cousins.

Alice is not laughing. She
is contemplating flight.
If she jumped now, would she fall,
a great fall, crashing down,
crumpling like a broken doll?

Or would she soar
upwards, white socks and patent
leather shoes skimming
the tree tops, white blouse
bright for a moment
against the clouds?

For Riding the Magic Mushroom. Humpty Dumpty is the prompty dompty.

Lily – RTMM

Alice holds the lilies
across her arms, admiring
the smooth, cold curve
of them. Snow flowers,
she thinks, and shivers.

She sets them neatly
in a vase, steps back,
sighs, thinking
they were not meant for
here. This room.
They should be somewhere
white and empty,
not here, where the eye
snags on an open book,
gets tangled in a red scarf
slung across a chair back,
lingers in a half full glass –

and they’re not for her,
but for some other Alice,
calm and collected, a girl
of simple shifts, and shiny
hair. Well cut.

Alice observes the lilies,
like a message, knowing
they have made
the first crack
in the eggshell of her love.

Back on that mushroom. Today’s prompt is ‘Lily’.

Bread and butterfly

Alice observes the plate
of bread and butter, wondering
if this is her destiny –
to sit, in a series of comfortable
rooms, quiet and still,
sipping tea from thin china cups,
translucent as her own hand,
crumbling madeira cake, fruit cake,
victoria sponge, the bland variety
that only emphasises sameness,

and all the while
glancing under downcast lids,
sideways, out at the summer garden,
where butterflies stop and start
above the tumbling roses,
and the crisp cut shadows
lengthen imperceptibly
through the long, sleepy afternoon.

Alice observes the plate
of bread and butter, dreaming
one day of breaking out
of this chintz covered chrysalis,
where time is kept, well preserved,
in a glass cabinet – she’ll
spread her wings, gaudy and gauzy,
knock over a tea cup
in her careless haste,
leaving the gold stain
seeping across the white cloth,

and fly high, over the garden wall,
away to where smoke
smudges the horizon.


Another ride on the Magic Mushroom. I am enjoying playing with Alice. It’s an open prompt. I’d love to see what you write. 

Running out of time

Alice is always running out of time.

Sometimes she has to run quite fast
to get there.
Sometimes she just steps, as idly
as a woman making tea,
icing a tiny cake.
Sometimes she twirls there,
dancing to a silent tune.

Mostly it’s not important,
it’s just an hour or so,
but once she stayed
outside of time, drifting there,
more than a week, and often
whole nights go by
and she has kept herself
untouched by time’s
cold fingers.

Alice is always running out of time.

It’s still all about Alice.

Alice on her adventure

Alice heads out
on her great adventure
with her hair tied back
and her boots laced tight,

she crawls under the
branches of the
her t-shirt, scratching
her shoulder,

and then slithers down
into the stream,
mud glazing her
left leg, boots
proof against
the water,

follows a butterfly
across the field
then stops
knee deep in buttercups
grass dusted

listens to a skylark

finds a hollow
in the hedge
at the top of the field,
settles in

eats two biscuits
drinks some water

waits for the sunset.

She’s never going back.

Alice again.

Alice decides

Alice decides
that this is not wonderland
it’s just a space
full of spaced out people
and fractal music

but the friend she came with
has wandered off
into this wanderland
with some guy
with long ears
who murmured
“eat me”
as he led her away

and someone is shouting
her name

and somehow there are
scent staining the air

Alice decides
it’s time to go
no more
drink me
just running
into the clean air


I’m exploring the world of wordpress prompts. This is for Riding the Magic Mushroom – Alice inspired prompts on Wednesdays.