GoDogGo – measure twice, cut once #2

Even blindfolded, I could tell what fabric I’m cutting from the sound it makes. This is heavy, made to drape like snow across a girl’s hips. I know, because I wove it.

I wove it over the winter, a special commission. Pure white, reflecting the colours of the world. I didn’t use white thread, though – I used the soft grey wool from a lamb’s throat, jaybird feathers, words torn from old love letters, wisps of grass, dried violets, a single thread of my own brown hair. As I wove, I whispered old words over them, san fold songs – songs of snow and ice, of clouds and gulls and seafoam. I made white through my own will.

Now I’m sewing a wedding gown for a princess. She will look like a rose flowering in the snow. The prince will turn and look at her, and his face will light up, as it lit up when he used to look at me.

I smile as I stitch. I embroider this smooth, white cloth with snowdrops and lilies, with white roses and lily-of-the valley. When it’s finished, there’s only one flaw – that single thread of my hair, dancing across the train. I leave it there, just to remind him of me.

This is for the Writing Workshop Challenge at GoDogGo Cafe, facilitated by Tanya Cliff. I posted version I of this a week (ish) ago. We’ve been asked to reduce our word count by at least 10%. That meant I needed to lose 22 words. I’ve cut it down by 23. It’s hard, because I think this piece depends on the piling up of images – and I’m not a very good editor. However, I’m learning.


The heads of Cerberus

One head laughs, one growls, one bites –
past, present, future –
all those mystic, magic threesomes,

passing an eye amongst themselves

unspooling fate

one head grants wishes, one entangles,
one undoes – the third’s the charm

and we are slamming through the myths now
and the old magic

and one head snarls, one snaps,
one whimpers

and on the other side of this
is somewhere grey and dull
and all the dead whispering
their secrets to each other,
none of them listening,
only muttering, a tide of sound,
like waves rolling on a shingle beach
where there are no birds
nothing but pebbles
water rounded
stretching out

and on the other side of this
is the darkness of forgetting
words slipping from your grasp
the strange mystery of zips
the art of buttoning and unbuttoning
the murmur of a knife blade

and one head sighs, one shakes, one weeps


I’m vaguely keeping up with these prompts. Pick them up at the GoDogGo Cafe, and say thank you to Christine for putting them up.


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 dVerseĀ  open link night.

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