Grown up – quadrille for dVerse

My muck magnet
mud splattered
puddle stomping
jam smeared
crumb dropping
sticky fingered
paint splashing
pen scrawling
finger printing
juice spilling
smart shirted
svelte suited
shiny shoed
smooth socked
slick haired
sparkly smiling
sweet scented
freshly shampooed
softly spoken
smooth talking

A quadrille is a 44 word poem. We write them at dVerse. De is hosting tonight, and our magic word is “magnet”.


New birth – haibun for dVerse

It was not long after my daughter’s 18th birthday. She’s my eldest. She was writing her university applications, planning her future after leaving home. I was very aware of the fact that she had become an adult, and found myself thinking about all the different relationships we had had over the years. In the very beginning, I carried her insde me – I was everything she knew. Now I was part of the childhood she was leaving behind  – and I had – still have – such mixed feelings about it. I’d love to keep her close, but I know she needs to spread her wings, to try new things, new places, new people, new ways of living. It’s my job to encourage her to leave me.

eggshell shattered
fledgeling spreads new feathered wings
nest is empty

This haibun is written forKim’s dVerse prompt. We are asked to reflect on an autobiographical poem and turn our reflection into a haibun. My original poem can be found here:

Eggs – Pantoum II for dVerse

I hold you up to see the eggs,
five of them, blue as April sky.
You cling on with your toddler legs,
observing them so solemnly.

Five of them, blue as April sky,
each one a fragile, freckled womb;
observing them so solemnly,
we hope that they will make it through –

each one a fragile, freckled womb,
holding an ugly, hairless thing.
we hope that they will make it through,
and in July, we’ll hear them sing.

Holding an ugly, hairless thing,
in need of food, and warmth, and love,
and in July we’ll hear them sing
of earth below, and sky above.

In need of food, and warmth, and love,
I watch you grow and learn new things
of earth below, and sky above,
and start to spread your fledgling wings.

I watch you grow and learn new things;
you cling on with your toddler legs,
and start to spread your fledgling wings:
I hold you up, to see the eggs.

My second pantoum for the dVerse form exploration, hosted this month by Gina. I have a love-hate relationship with pantoums. One day I will write the perfect pantoum, and then I WILL NEVER WRITE ONE AGAIN. It’s really hard to maintain sense and repetition, and keep it all flowing smoothly. This one comes close, I think right now, but doubtless I’ll come back to it in a couple of weeks, and shake my head over it. There are certainly a couple of continuity errors that I am hyper-aware of. However, this exploration is about growing as a poet and opening up to feedback, so I’m putting it out there. I’ve actually got less confident about it as I’ve written this explanation/justification, so I’m going to stop now.

And so the years pass and we wonder where the time went…

It used to be so simple –
said with a grumble or a laugh –
grubby hands at teatime,
dirty tootsies in the bath –

now you’re more sophisticated,
it’s the wrong boy sending snaps,
an insect in your cocktail,
a Starbucks slopping in your lap –




A quadrille for De at dVerse – just about squeezed that yuk word into my 44 word limit!

Gaia’s dream


The world turned out of summer, and the land cooled. Leaves turned brown, and berries ripened.

High on the sacred peak of Mount Olympus, Gaia slept, and as she slept, she dreamed. She dreamed of small things – puppies, kittens, baby seals with big brown eyes. She dreamed of seedlings, pushing through the soil, green leaves opening in spring sunshine. She dreamed of eggs cracking, of baby birds in soft-lined nests. She dreamed of babies, mouths pursed and suckling, latching on to her great, bountiful breasts.

Far below the mountain top, two priestesses knelt before the sacred well.

“Milk again” one of them remarked. “And winter hasn’t even started yet. Spring is months away. Someone needs to wake her up.”


For Sue Vincent’s #writephoto challenge. 

Cat boy cat

Watching you fighting
I am amazed at
your tenacious grip,
and that slippery twist
of hip, and shoulder,
that keeps you standing.
Even when you fall
you seem to come down
on your feet.

Hard to believe
this is the same you
that sprawls soft on the sofa,
all liquid limbs;
that spends hours
watching something shiny,
chasing some fleck of light.

And, yes, you are affectionate,
curling warm beside me,
but I know that left alone
you’d survive, somehow,
and that sometimes
the forest calls you.


This is for Kim at dVerse, who is asking us to write about a person as if they are an animal, or an animal as if they are a person. I’m not entirely sure which way round I’ve done it! I feel I should clarify that my son does judo, so it’s not just random fighting we’re talking about. It’s a funny sport. You watch kids turning on their fight head, and then sitting chatting with the kid they’ve just been battling with a few minutes later.

Kick – quadrille for dVerse

Back in the day

You were my astronaut baby

And I was your universe

And part of me thought

I would always be able to

Keep you safe,

But, of course,

Even then you kicked

And pushed against the world,

Seeking to be free.

It’s a special day at dVerse – Quadrille #44 – those poets who use all the words will be stretched to the limit! De is keeping bar at the poets’ pub tonight, and asks us to write a poem in 44 words – no more, no less – including the word “kick”. 

Balloon II – quadrille for dVerse

Love balloon

Pregnancy ballooned me
stretching my belly to bursting point,
rounding my face, spherical,
a marshmallow woman.

Yet, the movement
of your hands, your feet,
pressing from inside me,

your small heart beating
under my ribcage. A balloon
of love, carrying you
into the world.


Oh, dVerse, my thoughts are floating like balloons in a clear sky…

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,
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.