Childhood ocean

Even inland children crave the sea –
these were my waters, cold Cornish coast, me
coming out shivering, blue-toed,
letting my crabline drop through
harbour water, long sunny days
sitting on hot stones, reading,
ice-creams and pasties, and all
the jolly little fishing smacks.

But sometimes, down there,
where the sun slants greenish
through the water,
I brushed against a myth.


“We’ll know as children again all that we are
destined to know, that the water is cold
and deep, and the sun penetrates only so far”
~ Jim Harrison from Death Again

Jilly’s keeping going, and so am I. Day 17 of 28 days of Unreason. Jim Harrison – the gift that keeps on giving.



This mask –
once a god’s,
dripping – ah! –
down through
eternity’s lead wall.
Oceans boiling away,
scented with destruction –
just an echoing stone,
the song a passing curio.


I’ve been admiring other people’s erasure poems and vaguely waiting for the right poem to come along so that I can play with it myself. I read Brendan’s piece here, and some words just popped out at me, so I decided to go with it. I would describe Brendan as a “big” poet – his poems are not just physically big, they have big themes, big references, big resonances. I hope I’ve managed to keep some of that “bigness” in this very small poem. 

Senses – NaPoWriMo 26

We won’t get that scent of you again –
that’s gone for good. Nowhere
on this earth will that particular mixture
of Dove soap, and skin, and biscuits
be smelled again.

that’s part of the strangeness of death.
That lizard squatting in the middle
of our monkey brains, tasting the air,
frowns in confusion. Eyes see – the face,
the hair, the hands – we know them
like we know our own, better maybe –
but there’s no smell. Or what smell
there is is cold, carrying the bitter
echo of the undertaker. All wrong.

Death tastes bland. We salt it up –
ham rolls, and gala pie – but still,
it strips flavour out of everything.
It’s bright lights and dark corners,
and too much noise. Cars keep on driving,
someone sounds a horn, a child is talking,
there’s a sudden splash of rhythm from
an open window.

We are set apart
in formal clothes, uncomfortable shoes,
some of us too warm, some of us too cold.
We’re not dressed for the weather,
the real weather, but for something
outside of weather, normal life suspended,
we in this bubble of mourning, looking inwards.

It won’t last long.

But then, sometime in the way ahead,
I’ll smell that smell, no, not that smell,
just something that is close to it
and suddenly I’ll see you,
hear your chuckle, or catch a glimpse
of your hands, slim and capable,
and you’ll be there, and gone again
before I recognise you.



Day 26 of NaPoWriMo, and this might be the last I get to do this year. That’s a shame, but sometimes life gets in the way. I’m not usually a miserablist, but we are in the middle of bereavement, and that is surprisingly time consuming – as well as consuming thought and energy and all that other stuff. I’m aware that I’ve been writing about this, on and off, at some level for a while. That’s OK. We work with what we have. Anyhow, here’s the prompt. It’s about using our senses:

And now for our prompt (optional as always). Taking our cue from today’s craft resource, we’d like to challenge you to write a poem that includes images that engage all five senses. Try to be as concrete and exact as possible with the “feel” of what the poem invites the reader to see, smell, touch, taste and hear.

Happy writing!


Lingering day – haibun for dVerse

You called and I could hear the pain in your voice. It’s hard for you, to have to travel so far, and face such sadness at the end of the journey. It’s not a burden I can share. All I can do is check you in, hold the fort, do the washing, make sure this moving back and forth is as easy as possible. I wish I could do more.

Nobody warned me that the future always comes at such a price. We move on, gaining and losing all the time. We have no choice in this.

roses are fading
light lingers in the garden
twilight comes gently

I think there might be mermaids – NaPoWriMo 8

There’s a pool here that is always still.

If you look in, you’ll see your face
framed in gold green seaweed.

I’ve been alone down here –
it’s not a busy beach,
the path too steep and stony
to attract too many families;
outside of summer I often
find it empty –

and heard a sound, a call,
that’s not a herring gull,
and not the swirl of water.

Sometimes, I’ve caught
a silver glimmer
from the corner of my eye,
moving swiftly out of sight

and once I saw a shape
that could have been a seal,
but there are no seals here,
not for miles. I checked.

On my shelf at home,
I have a little fishbone comb.
I found it by the mirror pool.

None of this is proof
of anything, of course.



And let’s all give a sigh of relief, because NaPoWriMo has given us a prompt that doesn’t require too much brain twisting. We are asked to write about the mysterious, the fantastical, the unexplained, and offered a dose of Shelley to  help us on our way. 

Egg – quadrille for dVerse

My child sleeps
nested like an egg
smooth skinned
full of the future

my child curls
in the unheeded
sprawl of sheet
head covered
full of dreams

my child is warmed
by this home
of soft feathers
full of hope.

Easter is coming, and the birds are nesting in the hedge, and there is a general feeling of spring in the air, despite the cold wet weather we have been having. Kim asks us to write a dVerse quadrille – 44 words, including the prompt word – egg.


Carrot cake is the way to a man’s heart.

Look at him. He’s gorgeous. And now, look at her – slim, blonde, elegant – and he’s all over her, begging eyes,  like a dog that wants a biscuit. Makes me sick.

Cappuccino and carrot cake for him? Black coffee for her? Worried about her figure, obviously. It’s all right – I’ll serve them, I say.

“Two coffees, and one cake”.

I set it down in front of him. He doesn’t even look at me. Not until the first mouthful, and then he looks around, and meets my eyes.

She doesn’t stand a chance.

99 words for the Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge. Carrot cake. 

The green chapel

Winter sleeps in a cave in the mountains, on a bed of ice. She creeps in there as the snow melts, and takes her long rest, lulled by birdsong and the scent of green, growing things. She wakes as the leaves fall in showers of gold and red, and emerges, scattering frost around her. She walks under winter skies pierced full of stars, and dances in wild December storms.

If you find the cave, and enter it, you will see her sleeping there, pale as a snowdrop, lips like holly berries, hair as black as the bare branches of the beech tree in January. Don’t wake her – one touch of her white hand will freeze your soul, and leave you bound, another stone sentinel to guard her bedchamber.

For Sue Vincent’s #writephoto prompt.