Murmur – quadrille for dVerse

Murmur your words
so no-one can hear
because we’re keeping
secrets tonight.

Orion is just a
silver tattoo on
an indigo thigh,
and the moon is a
whisper of light,

time ticks a
silent fandango,
and your skin is a
hidden delight



a murmuring quadrille for dVerse – 44 words, including the all important key word – tonight it’s murmur…



Midnight on the underground, and we gather – whispering, chittering, rustling, in all our different forms of darkness.

Soon we’ll ascend, to swoop and play in the city streets, dancing past empty windows, leaving no reflection in the dirty puddles, seeking our different forms of pleasure.

They are waiting for us, in night-clubs, in sleazy bars, on street corners. They just don’t know it yet.


For Sonya’s Three Line Tales. Photo by Samuel Wong via Unsplash.


They looked back at the small temple. There was no sign of the bus station that should be behind it, and the noise of the city was absent. Sam frowned, puzzled.

“Why are all these trees in blossom?” she asked.

Jason shrugged. He wasn’t that interested in the temple. It smelled of piss, and somebody had left a load of old chocolate wrappers in there. Maybe it was the same person who had scrawled their name on the wall, and something obscene about a girl called Angela.

“It’s the middle of September”, Sam continued. “Those are magnolias, I think, and that’s cherry blossom”.

She pointed at something white and something pink. Jason shrugged again, and started to head back towards the bus station. They needed to be on the 2 o’clock bus, or his mum would know they’d been skiving. He was hungry, too, and he fancied some chips for the journey home. Sam followed him, still looking round and wondering.

They made their way round to the back of the little temple, still not able to see the bus station. In fact, they couldn’t see anything. A white wall of fog hung behind the temple. They kept walking, until they were back at the entrance. There was a statue inside, Sam noticed. Must have walked straight past it before.

They heard voices behind them, and turned. A group of people in fancy dress were coming up the hill towards them. The women were wearing white, floaty dresses, and the men were in dark coats and trousers that stopped at the knee. They were laughing and chatting, and passed by the two kids without acknowledging them. One of the men was obviously showing off the temple, and the others were all admiring it.

Then the rain started. The group of – what? actors? weirdos? – dashed to shelter under the temple terrace. Sam and Jason followed them, stepping into the temple itself.

“That IS weird”, Jason said, looking round. No smell, no chocolate wrappers, no graffitti.

What the hell had happened?



I have a picture of you
in your first shoes,
taken by an eager
shop assistant. You
are angry, trying
to climb out of them,
as if they are the first
of many shackles.

I recall that you, –
my early walking,
ever mobile,
bouncing baby –
refused to take a step
for me, or for
the nice, kind lady
with the camera.

You eyed us balefully.




For Poets United, where the midweek motif is “shoes”. 

Rats and Poison

When both Granmas wanted houses, we couldn’t build out, so up we went. They got on “like rats and poison”, daddy said, eyes rolling.

Rats was fat. Weird things came out of the water in those days, but she turned them into feasts. Poison had a small still. After Mamma left,  Rats’ cooking and Poison’s liquor kept the place going.

Rats began her day clashing pans together. Poison ended hers playing the banjo,  keeping Rats awake. They never spoke.

They died the same year. After Rats went, Poison gave up the banjo, and just faded away.

Photo by JS Brand. Prompt by Rochelle, 100 words for the Friday Fictioneers. 


If I told you

If I told you I loved you
would that be enough?

If I told you I loved you
I love you
If I told you I love you
would that be enough
to make you open your arms
heart to me?
To make you open your
heart to me?

If I tell you I love you
will you smile that clear joyful smile that makes me
lean in
lean in to your warmth?
Will that be enough?

If I tell you
I love you
will that make you
Will that be enough?

If I don’t tell you
If I didn’t tell you
If I never told you

would that be enough?

I should never have said
I love you


For dVerse. Tonight we look at “pentimento” – the changes and modifications an artist makes, and the marks they leave behind. The times we changed our minds. The creations we regret.


The shrine – a tale from Leverett Island

There are a number of ‘holy’ wells on the island. Several are associated with saints, but some are called ‘fairy wells’ by the locals, and have never been adopted by the church. Up towards the north west corner of the island is the well called Three Sisters. It’s a place for women – a place to go if  your baby isn’t thriving and you need to make more milk, or if your husband seems to be watching another woman’s walk, or if you want to bring him to the point. It’s a place to go if a child hasn’t come yet. You must take something white – milk, or cheese, or white flowers, or a white handkerchief. The hawthorn that grows by the well is all hung with white ribbons, mostly faded or stained green with time now. You must ask the Three Sisters for their help with whatever you want.

If you see three geese flying together on your way home, you’ll know they’ve listened to you, and they will answer your prayers. If you find a white feather, that’s lucky. Keep it.

It must be seven years ago that Danny Cumiskey was digging some roots out near the Three Sisters, when his spade hit against a big stone. He tried to dig it out, and realised it had been worked. He’s a very curious man, Danny, known for it, so he kept on digging, came back the next day with a tractor and a couple of fellows, and pulled this great stone out. See the three birds? The Three Sisters. Proof it was all true, the women of the island said. Danny set it up next to the well, and the visitors come and take photographs of it, but we know the real power of the  Sisters is in the water, not the stone.


It’s taken me a little while to get tot his, but this is for Sue Vincent’s Thursday photo prompt. 


This weekend my brother and I danced to songs I hadn’t danced to for years, and I was reminded of the shabby nightclubs of my teenage years, smelling of cigarette smoke and sexual frustration. We danced under ultraviolet light, round piles of handbags, drank vodka and lime, and hoped we’d get a partner for the final slow dance of the evening. We  always went to the toilets in pairs.

You see, I’m a small town girl, from a place that’s a punchline in a joke about the North. I come from a town of terraced houses and tripe stalls; a town that ripped its own heart out 30 years ago in protest at being destroyed. People are always surprised to hear that’s where I’m from. I left a town that nobody ever leaves, my accent softened, my horizons expanded. I think the town has changed more than I have, though. The pits closed, the community drifted. The old, family run businesses faded away, and the chain stores moved in.

I bet the nightclubs are still shabby, though, and still full of teenage girls hoping to find love in the darkness.

snow melts in the sun
spring tiptoes between the trees
small buds start to swell

A haibun for Mish, at dVerse. Two or three tight paragraphs and a haiku. Pop over to the dVerse bar. They’re serving poetry. I won’t be drinking vodka and lime, though…I added the Youtube video because I suddenly realised where that tiptoeing spring came from. 

Bull – TLT

Last night I dreamed I rode a bull,  through a land of myth. A black bull, that sweated, stank and snorted beneath me.


I rode past a girl garlanding a white bull with flowers; past a heifer with human eyes lowing sadly; past a woman with a cow’s head and open hands; past a queen suckling a bull-headed baby, until I reached a woman with wild red hair and a knotted crown, who looked me up and down, and handed me a spear of iron and bog oak.


I woke up clutching the spear to my chest: I’ve carried it all day, walking noiseless through the forest of the city, knowing I carry death in my hands.

photo by Jacco Rienks via Unsplash

prompt by Sonya at Three Line Tales.