So what exactly is a poem? NaPoWriMo 28

A poem is just words

and spaces.

I write the words, but
the poem grows
in the spaces,

like the wilderness
at the edge of the park,

like the wolf
in the dog

like the weed
pushing up
through tarmac

like the seagull nesting
on an office block cliff.

Day 28 of NaPoWriMo, and we are asked to write a “metapoem” – a poem about poems.

Maybe this is actually a poem about metaphors. It was originally going to end with “the poem grows in the spaces”, but I can’t stop the words, sometimes.


All you took – poem NaPoWriMo 24

We were the roofbeams of this house –
together, you and I – and when
you raised yourself above me,
on your strong arms, I was
protected from the world,

and I gave you the key
to all my secret spaces –
led you in, let you roam freely.

You were the table that we sat at –
talked at, ate, drank at –
sharing time, and food, and love –

and you were the music in this house,
the flickering colour, movement,
the sheer joy of song, and living.

Now: nothing. You took everything,
and I am left alone. One feather,
dropped, careless, as you left, mocks me,
mimicking a tear.

It’s Day 24 of NaPoWriMo, and this is not what I expected to write. The prompt was to take a reference book, open it randomly, and be inspired by something on the pages in front of you. I chose Brian Cox’s “The Human Universe”, and opened on a page that was about the development of Newtonian mathematics. It was quite interesting, I could feel something stirring, maybe. Then I read on, and we got onto early writing. The earliest known piece of writing is about a court case between two priests. One left their shared house, taking a key to an upstairs room, two wooden beams, a table and six birds. That’s a poem in itself.

Cat – poem for NaPoWriMo – 23

The cat is melting into the wall,

like treacle: viscous slide

into the horizontal,

eyes closed, paws limp,

she’s an old t-shirt

washed a thousand times,

she’s silence,

still as a dark pool,

dreaming of dreaming.

The cat is still

as a dark pool,

tense as a blade

quivering with desire,

eyes open, holes to let

the light shine through,

and eyes, ears, nose –

all senses pointed

as a dagger,

pure focus.


NaPoWriMo prompts us to write about an animal. I bet you thought I was going to write about a rook, didn’t you? If you know anyone who wants to publish a rook chapbook, let me know. I do have a slight poetic obsession.

Today is a little crazy – poem 21 NaPoWriMo

On Monday you sent me a letter – written in words of cloud on a bright blue sky and on Tuesday your love was a shower of birdsong, piercing my skin and today the sea is a forest of words and your words are an ocean, and the paper waves slice across the world like knives bladed with rainbows, like a smile, like a fish cutting through a waterfall, and each rose is a story, and each story is a bird, and each bird is a glass of clear water and my dreams are full of pinwheels, spinning out moments of joy, and rain that glimmers as it falls, and everything reminds me of something, and nothing is a stone I can hold in my hand and the weight of nothingness is the heaviest thing of all.

For NaPoWriMo 21 – a poem of wild imagery.

Over and over – poem for NaPoWriMo

It’s been a year.

Your death has found a shape, now:
I can’t always hold it –
it turns liquid in my hands,
or burns, or twists
into another death, a different grief,
over and over, rolling –
but still

my lizard brain will always
feel the loss of you –
that smell of yours is gone –
and while I will catch fragments of it,
over and over, at odd moments,
I’ll never catch the whole of it –
that mix of soap and skin and scent –

peculiarly yours, and perfect –

and there are stories that I’ve lost,
already – the detail of them,
stories you told me, over and over,
but now I rummage for them,
and they’ve faded.

It’s been a year.

NaPoWriMo 18 – a poem about grief.

Rook looks down – poem for NaPoWriMo

I see you, limited by gravity,
by that tracery,
that web of mud and tarmac
branching across the land.
I see your nest, too heavy,
squat and solid,
battling the wind,

and I see you,
weighed down by things that have no meaning,
seeking significance –
when I have all the wide sky to play with,
and the wind to ride

I’m back in the NaPoWriMo saddle. April has been interrupted, but I’m picking up the challenge again. This is for Day 17 – a poem from an unusual viewpoint. I’m not sure this is unusual for me – I write a lot of poems about rooks – but I enjoyed it.

Empty – NaPoWriMo 4

The photo’s gone, the wall is bare;

the Sacred Heart’s been packed away,

leaving the faintest shadow where

the striped wallpaper didn’t fade,

and the piano’s out of tune,

silently waiting all alone

to be polished up and moved,

make music in another home.

The kitchen smells of nothingness.

It once was filled with cake, and chips,

and family rows, and happiness,

and sugared tea that burned your lips.

All of the things that made this home

are packed away, or lost, or gone.

Day 4 of NaPoWriMo, and we are asked to write a sad poem in simple words. They suggest we might think about writing a sonnet. This is a sonnet rhyme scheme, without any syllable count, and without a volta. A sonnot, maybe?

It’s Open Link night at dVerse tonight, so I’ll link this there, too.

Orchard:time – NaPoWriMo 3

I’m blossom-greedy, circling like a bee,
counting my chickens well before they hatch,

and, yes, the blossom – pink and white,
and the faint scent – sakura, yes, my sister

this time of year, I look for them,
the wildlings, litter-planted –

feed the soil, we say, and throw it
out the car window, tumbling down the bank –

the remnants of old orchards, standing
in suburban gardens, Orchard Avenue,

Meadow Grove, all those names recalling
the old farm, and the olden days.

We planted it 10 years ago, this orchard,
this small orchard, and it’s grown since then, added

my birthday Slack-ma-girdle, two small Bramleys
grafted for us. A sweet chestnut, in memoriam –

it was a raised fist, a defiance, an act of living
in our long, cold dying.

Come summer, we’ll be apple-greedy,
scrabbling for windfalls, peeling, chopping,

gloating over the Farmer’s Glory – sweet and heavy
on the branches, overwhelming –

by September, we’ll be glutted, gluttonous,
the whole house full of apple scent;

us and the wasps, reeling with sugar,
and the white star in Pomona’s heart;

October, we’ll have picked the last of them,
leaving just the topmost for the blackbirds

measuring time by our son’s reach –
he’s our climber, stretching highest –

January, we’ll survey them, prune them,
form the cup to catch the sunlight

that does all the magic. Yes, we’re pagan –
apples our religion.

Day 3 of NaPoWriMo, and I’m still here! Today we are asked to write a poem that covers a long period of time.

How to write a poem – GloPoWriMo 1

First, find the soul of your poem

How do you find the soul of a poem?

It may rise, serene as a soap bubble as you wash the dishes,

it may slip into the seat next to you as you drive to work,

it may flutter past the window or scream from a screen,

or be scrawled on a toilet wall.

Second, you must open up the soul of the poem

You may do this as delicately as a surgeon wielding a scalpel

or with the sweep of a hunting knife,

with a fine needle, a shard of glass,

or your own teeth and nails.

Third, you must gather the words

Because the words are there,

trembling in the tips of your fingers

echoing from your phone,,

trapped in the book by the side of your bed,

spilling from the lips of the woman beside you,

shimmering in the sunlight, the moonlight

Fourth, you must write the poem

So many ways to write the poem –

with a blunt pencil in a favourite book,

with black ink on the skin of your lover,

on the sand, to be washed away by the tide,

on the walls of the tower, in the blood of the wolf

who died in your arms.

On the sky.

Last, you must finish the poem

Stop writing the poem. Let it be.

It’s not yours. Stop writing the poem,

or you’ll find it’s no longer a poem,

it’s your life.

It’s April so it’s Na/GloPoWriMo. This is a poem of instructions.

NaPoWriMo 30 – something that happens every year

So here it comes again,
my Beltane birthday,
when spring and summer touch,
and the goddess throws on
her greenest gown
and whirls into the dance.
My fire-crackle, spark fly
birthday. Here it comes –
my sakura birthday,
pink foaming cherry flowers
floating and flying,
and look out – it’s my
apple blossom birthday,
when the secret fruit trees
flower in the hedgerow.
Here it is – my hawthorn birthday,
banks frothing with cow parsley –
sing it loud, it’s my
chocolate cake birthday,
my candles and cards
and morning cuddles birthday.
Watch out, it’s here,
my last day of April,
wash your face in dew,
dream of true love,
wake me early in the morning,
jump through the fire with me
birthday. It’s today.

It’s the last day of April – the last day of NaPoWriMo – and my birthday! And today’s prompt is to write about something that keeps on happening. So what better subject?