Talking for England – NaPoWriMo 23

That woman could talk for England.
She can talk. Her mouth opens and shuts,
sounds tumble out, tinkling, crashing
to the floor. You can’t stop them.
Press your hands against her lips,
they’ll just keep moving. She talks
and talks, saying nothing, just words,
just jabberish, just gibber-gabbling,
like a blackbird sings –

danger danger danger danger

or a wren calls

stranger stranger stranger

her words fall in soft piles around her,
making it hard to walk, they amass
accumulating dust and gathering
fragments of unswept memories,
old tears, fluff balls of one-liners,
scraps of mashed up vowels,
ripped consonants, and here and there
a single sentence glimmering like gold.

She’s talking just because she is afraid,
she keeps you here, pinned by her tongue,
her moving lips, her greedy slobbering
of words words words words words words,
afraid that you will leave and she
will be alone with all these words inside her head,

or worse.

What if she spills them out when she’s alone,
the mad woman, muttering in the carpark,
mumbling in the queue for fruit,
chewing her words over and over, swallowing
regurgitating, masticating, pulping
the words that used to mean so much
and now mean nothing? That’s the fear.

Danger. Danger. Danger. Danger.

 

My offering for Day 23 of NaPoWriMo, where we are asked to write a poem that springboards from something overheard:

And now for today’s (optional) prompt! Kate Greenstreet’s poetry is spare, but gives a very palpable sense of being spoken aloud – it reads like spoken language sounds. In our interview with her, she underscores this, stating that “when you hear it, you write it down.” Today, we challenge you to honor this idea with a poem based in sound. The poem, for example, could incorporate overheard language. Perhaps it could incorporate a song lyric in some way, or language from something often heard spoken aloud (a prayer, a pledge, the Girl Scout motto). Or you could use a regional or local phrase from your hometown that you don’t hear elsewhere, e.g. “that boy won’t amount to a pinch.”

Happy writing!

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Twisting and turning – NaPoWriMo 18

Scribbled out, redacted, replaced,
love creeps and creeps, desire is all wrong,
and this shell holds words and worlds
and sudden amnesia, and slow loss,
and reflections – shattered, shimmering
in rivers, oceans, and the moon’s interpretation
of the sun. I’m trying to remember
the words I threw away,
I work at it, knowing I haven’t caught it,
the sun on my skin, and the movement of water –
is this right? is this right?
I make a mist of my breath, and cloud the surface.
Smell is the oldest sense. It knows it all,
melting with the passing of time,
moving over the water, the moving water.

 

My contribution to NaPoWriMo for today. It’s a complex prompt, basing a poem on another poem, preferably one you don’t know. I chose Coda: Lost Poem by Rachel Boast, which I found in The Forward Book of Poetry 2018I can’t find the poem online, but you can see more of Rachel’s work here: http://www.thecompassmagazine.co.uk/rb/

We were asked to take a poem we don’t know, and start from the bottom, taking each line individually and in isolation, and writing a line in a response to it. The new, response lines, form the new poem.

How I met your daddy – NaPoWriMo 17

Those glass slippers
aren’t that comfortable,
but we still danced all night.

I knew he was the one.

So, when I heard the tinkling
of the slipper landing on the step,
I smiled.

He searched the land for me,
of course, but when he found me,
I was sleeping, caught
in the cobwebs of a spell.
He woke me with a kiss,
but even then,
I couldn’t say I loved him –
I had sold my voice
to buy these legs.

Another kiss, to break that binding.

Did I tell you there were bluebirds?
Fluttering round us, singing, singing,
and a deer came, and some rabbits,
and an owl brought me a cloak,

and then your daddy set me on his horse,
and we rode here, this sunset palace,
to live our happy ever after.

And that is how it was.

 

 

For NaPoWriMo. Day 17. 

Our prompt for the day (optional as always) follows Gowrishankar’s suggestion that we write a poem re-telling a family anecdote that has stuck with you over time. It could be the story of the time your Uncle Louis caught a home run ball, the time your Cousin May accidentally brought home a coyote and gave it a bath, thinking it was a stray dog, or something darker (or even sillier).

Big love small love – NaPoWriMo 9

He’s a pixel-smith
building worlds out of
ones and zeros
yes and no
black and white
on and off
weaving binary into complexity

“Everything’s made of everything”
he says – he whispers
quantum to me,
until I’m only space
strung onto emptiness

we are matter
turning into energy
turning into matter
turning into energy
turning into matter

“Everything’s made of everything” –
we are all small stars
burning to expire,
inhaling galaxies
exhaling the void

“Everything’s made of nothing.”

 

 

NaPoWriMo asks us to write about something big meeting something small. This is a poem of geek love. 

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 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All the fantasy books I never wrote – NaPoWriMo 3

The Lady of the Snows
White moon sword
Sunset shield
In pursuit of trolls

The Queen of Crows
The amethyst mirror
Viper’s gift
Warrior humbled

The night of the roses
Obsidian path
The Scavengers
The Mother of Ravens

This is for the third NaPoWriMo prompt – a poem made of imaginary titles. I struggled with this one, I have to say. Also, I am rubbish at thinking up titles for things I have written. I could do with attending a specific title writing course. Also, also, also, I think some of these might be real books written by other people, because the world of fantasy is broad and well populated. If so, I apologise. 

 

 

The wild

I have seen flowers come in stony places,
Their fine roots crumbling concrete;
I have seen gulls nesting on sky scraping cliffs
And watched grass quietly creeping out over the lane.
I have held the gaze of a fox on a garden wall,
Heard a blackbird calling from a broken gutter,
Seen a tree growing from a long cold chimney
And ivy reaching blindly through a paneless window.

Who are we kidding? With our taming mesh of roads
And bridges, our glyphosates, our planned piazzas?
One day, this will fall,
In an orgy of vegetation – and daisies will sprout
Between our sanded floor boards, and bindweed
Climb helter skelter up the lamp posts,
And deer will browse among the rusted frames
Of our bark chipped playgrounds.

The wild is always there,
Waiting to return.

 

It’s open link night at dVerse, and Grace is in charge. This is one of the first poems I ever blogged, in April 2016 – for NaPoWriMo. The prompt was “a borrowed first line” and I chose one from John Masefield. In fact the whole poem is only 4 lines long, so it’s one I can remember…

I have seen flowers come in stony places
And kind things done by men with ugly faces
And the gold cup won by the worst horse at the races,
So I trust too.

 

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?

 

NaPoWriMo 29 – Inspired by a favourite.

Strawberries

Yesterday I planted dreams, hopes,
Expectations. I planted
Warm summer days,
And the sweet weight of a berry,
The sweet weight of a heart-shaped berry,
Juice heavy. I planted
Red sweetness, seeping
Into thick, white cream,
And four jars of summer,
Stored against the cold.
I planted a garden party,
And a blood red layer
To a cloud of meringue.
I planted stained lips,
And sticky fingers
Scrabbling for treasure
Under shading leaves. I planted
A punnet of pleasure,
A small trove of rubies
To be defended –
Stalwartly –
Against the massed ranks
Of slugs, and birds,
And the squirrels’ thieving hands.
I planted a summer fete,
A jug of Pimm’s,
And a single strawberry,
Stolen in the sunshine,
Warm in my hand,
Bursting tang
In my own mouth.

Tomorrow is the very last day of NaPoWriMo 2017. It’s a bit sad. Today we are asked to take a concrete noun from a favourite poem, play with it, free associate around it, and then make a poem from that. I chose “Millions of Strawberries” by Genevieve Teggard – a childhood favourite.