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”


Broad and majestic – poem for dVerse

We crossed the Shannon, heading west –
“the broad majestic Shannon” we said,
and laughed. I bet you know the writer,
you with all the facts right at your finger tips.

What does majestic mean, then? Slow,
smooth-surfaced, disregarding
of the common things – a thirst for coffee,
hunger, needing a wee, the trivia
of travelling. We were heading west
to bare our faces to the wind and rain,
and so we crossed the river, a frontier
between one way of being and another,
like every river, barrier and connection –

rivers make good borders. Here the Tamar
marks the edge, we cross it, and we always say
“how different it is here, can you tell?”.
Our family jokes, not funny, but obligatory.
We’re heading west again, towards the sunset
and the great obliviating ocean.

The dVerse bar is open, and we’re looking at all things majestic. There’s only one thing comes to mind when I hear the word “majestic” and that’s the River Shannon in Ireland. This poem isn’t really about majesty, it’s about rivers, and the crossing of rivers, and all that symbolises.


When you live here, you start to recognise the local names; local families. The Beers, the Griggs, the Heywoods, the Petherbridges. If you’re not one of them, or related to one of them, you’re not local. Beer is nothing to do with drink -it’s from Beara – a sacred grove. There are a few Bearas around as place names. Ancient remnants of pre-Christian beliefs, still lingering in my neighbour’s name.

the tree has long roots
thrusting deep into the earth
apples ripening

A haibun for Frank Tassone, who is our dVerse host tonight. We are celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day, and thinking about what it means to be indigenous. I’m an off-comed-un, not a local here. There are families that have been here for generations, which is about as indigenous as it gets round here.

Happy families – Pop poem for dVerse

A pop poem for dVerse – Victoria is hosting this month’s form for all, and we’re looking at pop art. I think you can see what I’ve tried to do  here.

Yellow breakfasts in a yellow kitchen sunshine family smiling laughing sunny-side up reaching for the marmalade reaching for the mustard with smiles as bright as bowls of custard we’re so happy in our family sunshine yellow sunshine happy Sky blue mornings made for running round the garden playing with water laughing joking water spraying rainbow making summer skies are always cloudless we’re so happy in our family sky blue happy summer smiling
Grass green afternoons we’re all sorting our recycling teamwork smiling podding peas and stealing some chopping veggies we’re so healthy so delighted with our garden neat and tidy we’re so happy in our family grass green happy garden grinning Warm red evenings on the sofa firelight flickering eating pizza watching movies all plugged in to our devices lots of snuggles cosy cuddles we’re so happy in our family warm red happy turn our faces from reality all we need is this nuclear family

Now – poem for dVerse

Use the good china
let your hands linger
on the smooth, cool curves
of each translucent cup

light those candles
wear your prettiest dress
set the table with the silverware
the fragile glasses
you’ve been treasuring
don’t let your pleasures
gather dust

A quadrille for Merrill – the word tonight is “set”. Set off for the dVerse bar, poetry on tap…

We have always lived in the castle

With its high walls and heavy gates
that open with the gleam of gold
the flash of plastic
we have always lived here
secure in our large vocabularies
and convoluted grammar
and our knowledge of which fork to use.

We have always lived here
and wondered why others choose
to live in crowded tenements
and walk on muddy cart-tracks
to smoke on street corners
take pills and shit
to manufacture moods

when here, in this high tower,
the views are wonderful
and the breeze brings scents
of moonlight blossoms

come up come up
we call
then shut the door

For Christine’s daily writing prompt at Go Dog Go Cafe – and for the dVerse  open link night.

Christine prompts us to write a poem inspired by the title of a book. 10-3-2019

Deprivation – poem for dVerse

She always offered food
instead of love
when we craved kisses
we got cake soft
sweet light-as-air
as yellow as an egg yolk
sugar sweet too sweet

or crack-faced cookies
chocolate studded
clinging to our teeth

she fed us well

we ate
shame faced
knowing we didn’t need
this sweetness butter sugar eggs
in all their varied combinations
sharp shards of toffee
apple tart soft raisin studded dumplings

our stomachs ached
and we swallowed
hugs and kisses and cuddles and
warm pats on the shoulder
and brushed hair and smiles
and cosy fireside chats

gulped them down
as muffins fairy-cakes
toasted tea-cakes
dripping butter

we would have eaten her


Lisa (Jade) is hosting Poetics for dVerse tonight, and we are writing poems inspired by food.


Heat death – poem for dVerse

The extinction
of the last light
will leave us
in the dark

we blew out each candle
each flame
each lamp
and now we reach out

fingers touching
tip to tip
and we whisper our fear
in the cold
and endless night

Quadrille night rolls round again. Linda is behind the dVerse bar tonight, asking us for 44 -word poems including the word “extinction”.

Pilgrim – poem for dVerse

Such a small boat
to set sail in, so far
across the world,
such a small cargo
of faith and hope
and not much else

and the white petals
drift like sea-foam

and such a small boat
leaving a small town,
the water shimmering
beneath the bow
and not much defence
against storms
except that small cargo
heavy with hope
weighted with faith

and the sea foam
drifting like white petals

and all the while
gazing for the horizon
and someone vomiting
and always the sound
of someone praying
and the sound of a child
sobbing, and the call
of the sea-birds
and the stink of the hold
and the salt pork
and the cracked skin
on your hands,
held up always
in supplication

and the sea foam
and the white petals

and the homecoming

Lillian is hosting at dVerse tonight, interrupting her holiday to tend the bar. She’s in Province Town on Cape Cod – head over to see a fantastic video of a whale watching trip, and some great holiday snaps. The Pilgrim Fathers landed there first, but didn’t care for it (why???) and moved on.

Interestingly, my local town has a tradition of building ridiculous bonfires, and over the next couple of years the town Cavaliers are going to be finishing off a replica of the Mayflower. You can see what they are doing here:

They’ve built various other things in the past – HMS Victory, the Great Fire of London, a castle, the local church (the one that was blown up in the English Civil War). They raise loads of money for charity. They put a huge amount of work in, and it all culminates in a massive bonfire and fireworks display. They do it in a spirit of love.

Our next nearest town, Bideford, was the port from which the first colonists of North America left to establish Roanoke.

This poem was inspired by those brave people setting out in those tiny boats to travel crazy distances, and it’s a little link between me in Devon and Lil in Cape Cod.

Waiting room – poem for dVerse

I’m good at waiting –
I’ve been practising –
honing my skills in darkened car parks,
railway stations.
I’ve done the pre-dawn bus run
for the bus that’s always late,
I’ve sat in front of sports halls,
sprawled on river banks,
watched the arrivals board
and wondered where you are –

but now, this waiting is for me –
I’m good at it, I’ve practised it –
this book, this too-strong cup of tea
is mine. The soft-soled nurses
metronoming by, are all for me,
the seats set introspectively,
the tatty-cornered magazines
that I won’r read, they’re here for me,
the smell of fear and disinfectant,
that’s for me; the clock, tick-tocking,
scalpel-handed, slicing up my time,
that’s mine. I’m waiting patiently.
I’ve practised it. I’m good at waiting.

I’m hosting at dVerse tonight, and we’re writing poems about waiting.