Wine

I’m yearning to sit
in a golden square
in the late afternoon light,
in that warm silence
that comes out of love
and needs no words.
I’m longing for a sip
of yellow wine, cold,
with condensation forming
on the curving glass.

It’s Monday, it’s quadrille night at dVerse, and Linda has given us the word “wine” to play with.

Easter Sonnet Sunday #2: Easter Eggs by Sarah Connor

How could you think of Easter without eggs?Shiny, foil-wrapped, hidden around the garden,small girls in nighties with their sturdy legsand boys in jammies, seeking, ardent?And boiled eggs, with their brightly painted shellswaiting for you to crack them. Inside, white and gold,like spring itself – blossom and daffodils.Winter is suddenly something we can holdand crack wide open.…

Easter Sonnet Sunday #2: Easter Eggs by Sarah Connor

Eagle Haibun – dVerse

I have always liked those old lecturns made in the shape of eagles. I like the idea that words will fly into the distance, that they will soar above us, that they have their own power. Give words wings, let them fly.

rising on sunlight
seeing the earth spread below
spotting a mouse dart

A haibun for Frank Tassone at dVerse, where our theme is eagles.

Spring in the woods

Let’s go to the woods. We should go now
because the woods are full of candles,
lit for a celebration. Small flames somehow
pushing up through thick soil, spangles
of red fire on dull brown twigs,
fat green candles, plump and swollen
gasping for life, waiting to be lit.
The woods are burning, green smoke rolling
over the hedgerows, just blurring those
sharp scratched winter lines. The woods are singing,
full of music. Don’t ask me how I know
I just know that we are candles, flinging
light across the space between us, light
that will burn and spread, flames that take flight.

This is for the earthweal prompt – a prompt centering on Imbolc, the start of spring, and all that energy. It’s my own prompt, and I’m really looking forward to seeing how people use it. I’m still wrestling with the sonnet – I think I’m starting to be able to think in sonnets, though I know my use of metre is a bit d

A Poem A Day – January

Ingrid at Experiments in Fiction can be found on Twitter @Experimentsinfc. She has started A Poem A Day challenge over where the bluebird flies – tweet a poem every day. When I first read her post about it I was very clear with myself that I was not going to get sucked into that! However, here we are. Not quite a poem a day, but here is my January poetry diary – in no particular order, just what Twitter threw up.

Dawn slumps in
sullen
doesn’t meet
my eye

left her fags
in the kitchen
last night

no matches
no light

still exhales
greyness

Let’s go as close
to the edge
as we can –

to where the sand
and the sea
and the sky
and the sand
and the spray

are one great
glorious roar
of wildness

last night
a lemon-peel moon,
this morning, frost
and hungry birds

sunrise
and all those branches
scratching at the sky
begging for light

and it’s always hard
to step into coldness
yes but you must
unfurl

the wood
silent as
a temple

suddenly
a hare
racing like
a heartbeat

the sound of starlings
wheeling and whorling –
that rustle is winter

pause listen
breathe

January
and it’s easy
to wake before
the sun

to lie
in the
sullen dark

dreaming
the world
awake

today
the world
overflows
with the sound
of water
running water
all life
and movement

filling the house
with the scent of spice
cinnamon and ginger
cardamom and cloves
warmth worth its weight
in gold

not even sure
the sun
is rising

the sky
all sludge
and river mud

if you could
plunge your arms
into those clouds

they’d come out
gleaming
sticky

Press your fingertip
into the clay
and map the
mountain
of your story

contour lines
like a labyrinth

because
we are all
seeking the
silent centre

3am
bitch-squats
on my chest

not the gale
or the rain
clattering

not pain
or grief
or fear
or anything

just the night
whispering
in my ear

what kind
of fool
keeps a wolf
in a cage
of bone?

not enough thread
to stitch
my story together

leave it

ragged
tattered

free to fly
with the wind

today
everything screams
be alive

the hail
shouts into
my face

the wind
grabs me
shakes me

the sea roars

be alive
be alive
be alive

the world
silver
moth wing
the sky
tasting of
nothing
I could crush
these clouds
silver juice
scented
with snow

I love
the suddenness
of flames

how they open out

how they create
themselves

our footprints
melted in
the sunlight

as if we’d never
walked together
up the lane
beyond the
shadows

the world ends
at the end
of the lane

beyond there

dragons
things with
teeth and claws

mist
the absence
of colour

charred
remnants

ice

I don’t know

I turn back
before
I’m forced
to see

I am a comma
curving a brief
pause into
the word flow
of the day
cat-curling
round the lines
between
the stories

Prosery – In the beginning

She looked at her work, and sagged a little.
“Sometimes the great bones of my life feel so heavy” she sighed.
Mother took the hammer and chisel from her hands, and hugged her.
“Come and play a little.” Mother led her across the studio and and handed her a tiny brush and a tray of colours.

So she played. She painted carapaces that shone like jewels or glimmered like moonlight, rainbow wings and feet with microscopic hooks. Around her, her sisters created birds with clean-cut flight feathers, or concentrated on the precise dappling of a cat’s fur.

As the evening light slanted through the window, Mother clapped her hands. Everyone looked around.

“The Work is good” she told them, and together they blew Life into what they had created. Earth was ready to be populated.

How beautiful her insects were. How beautiful.

Prosery – 144 words of prose, including a quotation from a poem. This session is hosted by Linda at dVerse, and our line is from Mary Oliver: “Sometimes the great bones of my life feel so heavy”.

I really needed to write something joyful.

Day 16: seven

Seven silver birches guard the ancient forest gate
Where seven feathered ambassadors obscure the entrance to this strait

Know your lore
Read the bark
Never barefoot wander
Never whistle in the dark

Look askance at the glade
Await the call
In summer’s amber
And winter’s blaze
Autumn’s angles
And spring’s tirade

Up with the sap
Out with the hour
Seven silver birches guard
The key to this season’s bower

This poem is from Chris Jelley, who is part of the phenomenon that is No 7, Dulverton – bookshop, cultural hub and purveyors of beautiful things.

Chris is posting a poem every day during advent – you can find him at @TalesArtPlay and @SevenFables (Twitter / Insta) 

Day 11: Lanterns

In the dim classroom,

sliding towards solstice,

translucent paper is

cut into coloured squares—

arranged slapdash by one half

while the other struggles for order.

The smell of white glue on the tressel table,

caked on children’s fingers,

hardened under uncut nails

for mums to scrub and curse tonight.

A piece of red crepe, drenched and discarded

streams across the white plain.

The teacher and her assistant

orbit in opposition 

around the table and aprons—

cut shapes, recap felt-tip pens,

speak to disorder

as though words could smooth

the rough edges of our Christmas lanterns.

At last, lights raised,

we squint through the 

kaleidoscopic glass,

and see our Christmas futures 

slowly draw near.

Stuart Rawlinson is a British poet and musician, currently based in Brisbane, Australia. His poetry has been published in several publications including Black Bough Poetry, Nightingale and Sparrow, Wellington Street Review and Adelaide Literary Magazine.

Day 6: Polyester

Slippered feet on the stone hearth,
feeling the glow. Across our street,
the sky rested on rooftops, heavy,
full of a solstice harvest, hanging.
I was drowning in heat, like a Christmas
pudding drenched in brandy. Then I heard
a sizzle, a crunch, felt fire
licking my hair, hugging my back.
Before I was engulfed by fear
and flames, she threw me on the floor,
rolled me in the mat,
brandy-snapped and smoke-smothered.
Christmas morning, the clouds were bright and empty.
Among the presents was a dressing gown
as white as snow, folded neatly, ribbon-bowed, and labelled
one hundred percent brushed cotton.

Gaynor Kane lives in Belfast, Northern Ireland. She came to writing late in life, after finishing her
Open University BA(Hons) degree with a creative writing module in 2015. Mainly a writer of poetry,
she has had work published in journals and anthologies in the UK, Ireland and America. In 2018,
Hedgehog Poetry Press launched their Stickleback series with her micro-collection ‘Circling the Sun’,
which is about some of the early women pilots. Gaynor released her chapbook ‘Memory Forest’, also
from Hedgehog Press, in December 2019. It is a thematically tight collection about burial rituals and
last wishes. She has just released her debut full collection, Venus in Pink Marble, also published by the Hedgehog Poetry Press. She received an
Arts Council NI grant in 2019, which allowed her writing time, mentoring and editing services.
Gaynor is a member of Holywood Writers Group, The Irish Writers Centre and Women Aloud NI.

You can contact Gaynor on Twitter @gaynorkane and read more about her full collection on her website http://www.gaynorkane.com/venus-in-pink-marble

Day 1: Advent

Advent is here. Its cello-wind notes
close the concert of the year. There are
flurries of snow at night, the tracks of a fox,
imprints of birds that vanished before dawn.
In this new world, the north-wind numbs
to the bone; a crimson-breasted robin plays alone.
 
This holly wreath is sharp, its leaves
lustrous. In the street, trussed-up walkers
stoop to and from the town’s limits
like hunched Lowry figures. Sun sets
polar blue in mid-afternoon.

It’s wonderful to have Matthew M. C. Smith kicking off this Advent Calendar of poetry.

Matthew M. C. Smith is a writer for Swansea. He loves winter Christmas and wants to write more festive poetry. Matthew has just edited Black Bough poetry’s Christmas and Winter edition, available on Amazon.

If you are looking for a book of poems that sums up this time of year, you should slip this into your stocking. It’s beautiful.