North Devon – poem for dVerse

For my eldest daughter I will take
Dart water, tumbling, and a flash
of Tamar, and a trembling dash
of Torridge water and of Taw
and in Berrynarbor we will pick
berries red and blue and sweet
and plump and ripe, and we will grind
red Peppercombe rocks
to add some spice
and in the early morning light,
we’ll go by way of Brandy Cove
to Widmouth Head and Burrow Nose,
and as the sun sets in the West
we’ll make our path from Gallant Rock
to Damehole Point by way of Stoke,
passing through Rosedown as the clouds
turn pink and gold, to Speke’s Mill Mouth,
and all this corner of the world
from Dipple up to Fairy’s Cross,
I’ll wrap it up and make it hers,
Lostmead, Foxdown, Blackchurch Rock.

Lillian is hosting Open Link Night at dVerse tonight, and looking for treats. This is a celebration of some local place names, and a nod (or more) to Edward Thomas and “If I should ever by chance”

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Feathers NaPoWriMo 24

I have my grandad’s eyes –
“They’re angel’s eyes”, my daughter says –
Those golden flakes, like feathers,
Falling soft against a clear blue sky.

A funny kind of angel, then, my grandad,
Cough sweets, and Errol Flynn moustache. A sweeter soul.

Here’s how it is:
Things drift away, I’ve lost so many things,
Life is a constant sloughing off,
Those golden flakes, like feathers,
Falling soft against a clear blue sky.

I don’t have much of his
To pass on down. His handiwork
All broken up and burned,
His memories blurred to stories,
Then to myth, carved fragments
Almost lost on wind worn stones,
Those golden flakes, like feathers
Falling soft against a clear blue sky.

But still, I’ve passed these on,
These angel eyes. I’ve seen them
Looking from my daughter’s face –
The only part of her I recognise.
That stubborn DNA, hanging on in there,
Stronger than human memory,long lived,
scrawling its signature across our lives,
Those golden flakes, like feathers,
Falling soft against a clear blue sky.

NaPoWriMo suggests an elegy that contains a little bit of hope. I hope this fits the bill. I’m also linking it to dVerse, where Kim asks us to  write about heredity, specifically body parts we’ve inherited. 

On the anxieties of owning an orchard – NaPoWriMo 4

And so we made it through March –

those late frosts, threatening –

and now the quince tree

is dreaming about leaves,

spring green, wax crayon.

 

My daughter’s upstairs,

studying for exams

 

I’ve walked down through

the orchard – they’re all there –

even the baby Bramleys are OK.

They’re on the brink

of blossoming.

 

We’re going to look

at prom dresses this week.

 

It will be bullfinches next,

apricot bellied, almost

forgiveable, stripping

the flowers on the

crab apple. I can only watch.

 

My daughter’s got a place

at college, for September.

 

And then the blackbirds,

those egg yolk yellow beaks

plunging and pecking

at the ripening fruit.

 

And me. Hovering

and flapping, like an

anxious angel, watching,

waiting, holding back.

 

Trusting their wisdom.

 

Day 4 of NaPoWriMo, and we are prompted to add specific details to our poem, to ground it in reality. NaPoWriMo 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A blessing for my daughter…

I am casting a brick here, for Jilly . I have borrowed this form from Imelda,, who used the form for her challenge last month. This is what she said then:

When I was thinking of a challenge to post in Jill’s collaborative poetry challenge, I was thinking of writing a Quatern.  I love the repeating patterns in a Quatern.  I think I love shadow poetry in general.  But, as I was reading about Quaterns again, I came across another shadow poetry form that I have not done yet, a Retourne.  I thought it will be a lovely form to try.  Essentially, a Retourne is  a poem that has 4 quatrains with 8 syllables on each line. The lines do not need to rhyme.  In a Retourne,  next three lines of the first stanza become the first line of the succeeding quatrains.  As you can see, I used the second line of the first stanza to begin the first line of the second stanza.  So, the third stanza should have the third line of the first stanza as the first line, and so on.

I think it’s a lovely form for a collaborative poem. I’ve just done the first stanza for you. It’s a blessing – for my daughter, who will be 16 tomorrow (gulp!)

May your heart sing like the ocean,
May the air be clear around you,
May your midnight flame burn bright,
May your feet find firm ground to stand…

Haibun – journey home – for dVerse.

We dropped her off for her first shift in her first job. Waitressing – a good place to start: learning to deal with the public, to cope with pressure, to stay polite. She was excited, and a little bit nervous. Not sure what to expect.

I went to pick her up at the end of her shift, four hours later. I was a little bit early, and she was a little bit late, so I watched her for a few moments, through the window. She was laying tables so they’d be ready for breakfast in the morning. She was in uniform – black trousers, black shirt, black apron – hair pulled back in a plait. She didn’t look like a little girl. She looked like a young woman, working in a restaurant.

We drove home, down the dark country lanes, narrow and twisting between high hedges, and she told me about the shift, the welcome speech she has to make to customers, the specials menu she has to learn. She’d had a great time, she’s looking forward to her first pay packet. When we got home, we both paused for a moment and looked up at the sky, dripping with stars, so tightly packed you couldn’t get a finger between them. Light spilled from our own kitchen window. We went inside.

Sky laden with stars
Light falls from an open window
Journey is ending.

Toni at dVerse has asked us to write a haibun on a topic of our own choice. The last few days have been all about my daughter. She’s had a lot going on, a little run of successes. I’m being a proud mum at the moment. Hey – it’s allowed! Be glad we’re not on Facebook, where you’d have to see proud mum pictures. 

 

The first time I saw my daughter – for dVerse

All of that anticipating
Nine months waiting
Fell into place:
I saw your face

And knew at once that that was who
Had to be you –
You were yourself
And no-one else

Children of imagination,
Expectation,
Faded away –
You came to stay.

This is for Grace at dVerse, who prompts us to write about first times. I think this is the first time I’ve done a form for a dVerse prompt (!) – it’s a minute poem. I struggle not to sound like Dr Seuss when I do these, but there you go.

15 reasons to celebrate my daughter

1. Your marvellous smile, like a spotlight, like sunshine,
That lights up the room, and my heart, and the world.
2. The look on your face when you first tasted chocolate
Your eyes opened wide, like you’d fallen in love.
3. The times when we laugh like we’re both 10 years old,
and the way that you get me when I’m being daft
4. All of the times that you spotted things first,
You use your eyes well, you’ve learned how to look
5. The times that you laugh at yourself
Knowing you’re crazy and doing it anyway.
6. The way you use words, those poems you write,
the fact that I don’t think you know quite
how brilliant they are
7. The times when you suddenly make up your mind,
and the glint that you get in your eye when you wind
yourself up to it.
8. The moments of quiet, when you lean up against me,
There’s no-one as comfy and cosy as you
9. The way that you look at the world, and you want to know more.
10. The fact that you see the injustice I’ve learned to ignore
And you want to know why.
11. The sigh that you heave when I ask you to tidy your room,
and I know that I’m cruel, but I also remember
12. The sigh that you heave when you’ve finished
and know you’ve done well.
13. The times when you’re terribly sensible, holding
The world in your practical hands
14. The times when you’re clowning around, when you dance round
The room, or blow bubbles, or double up laughing.
15. And the fact that I know I can trust you to always be you.
.

Walt asks to celebrate at dVerse. In the middle of all the celebrations he describes, my daughter had her birthday, so this is for her. I’m concentrating on the delightful, wonderful, amazing, life-affirming side of teenagers here.