All evening, she circled the pool
of light and conversation. I watched her,
or at least, I noticed her,
from time to time, darting,
sparkling. She bubbled
like prosecco bubbles.
She dragonflied around the room,
one moment here, one moment there,
a flash of something, an energy –
taking her prey so swiftly
that it almost felt like love.

I’m hosting dVerse tonight, and we’re looking at animal verbs.


Spring cleaning.

We haven’t yet attended to the ground.
Well, I’ve been busy. It’s been on my mind,
but now it’s May. The May Queen has been crowned,
and still we haven’t touched it. I’m resigned
to a poor season, though I think that you
are not. But the house is clean, the dust
is blown away, the windows shine. Who knew
there could be so much light? We lost
ourselves a little in the dark. You know, we love
the sun, we open to it, and we spent the winter curled
up tightly, we were seeds ourselves. And I approve
this spring uncurling, reaching for the world.

A poem for Laura at dVerse. You can find the challenge here: /https://dversepoets.com/2023/05/04/take-a-four-line-alternate-rhyme-scheme-its-a-steal/. I really struggled with this one. I spent ages looking for “end words” I could work with, and then thought “Pff!” and went with the Edna St Millay “Dirge without Music” that Laura features in the prompt. I love St Millay – she has such a deftness of touch, and works so well with rhythm and rhyme – so it was hard to get away from her original piece. Those rhyming words really dictate the poem in many ways. Or maybe that’s just how it feels when you take it apart.

Mole’s lullaby

Hush now, my child, and listen to the dark:
it’s soft as velvet, soft as midnight fur.
We’re safe here, curled in our small ark.
The beetle’s scurry, and the earthworm’s shirr
promise us supper. We’ll eat well tonight –
the crunch of shell, the slip of skin on tongue.
Your teeth are made to snap and bite
and you’re a mighty hunter, though you’re young
and the dark knows you, like a mother does
and nurtures you. What is there you could need?
Up there, the world is bright, and chime and buzz,
down here is quiet and comfort, sleep and feed.
Your teeth are sharp, like tiny crescent moons:
you are night’s baby, cradled and cocooned.

For Kim at dVerse: a poem about an animal that makes a home for itself. I went for a sonnet about moles. Don’t ask me why.

If you like this poem, you might be interested in my first chapbook, The Crow Gods, available from Sidhe Press. The launch is this Friday – tickets are free from Eventbrite.

On journeying

All those unmapped journeys –
or the ones where the map
was a scrawl, and the one
where the map was a voice
saying here, no, here,
and the one when the map
was a song, half forgotten.

We were OK. We were always OK.

A quadrille for De at dVerse. Forty-four words, and tonight the keyword is “map”.

Learning Spanish

Yellowness is intrinsic to the lemon.

Me, I’m sometimes happy.
sometimes sad. You’re
always young and fair. You’re kind.

The door is open sometimes,
sometimes closed. I’m sometimes here.
Sometimes I’m there. I may be tired,
emotional; I’m always elegant.

This rose is always red. It’s beautiful.

The lemon is sweetness, sourness,
yellowness. That’s what a lemon is.

Inspired by my own dVerse prompt, and by Duolingo! Come and join in.


My father’s eyes
came from his mother –
not handed down,
father to son. My brother’s
eyes are blue, and mine are, too.
My father’s eyes are brown.

My daddy’s hands
came from his mother.
He passed them on to us –
big knuckles, broad
working hands.

My dad can’t sing,
but he’s a raconteur –
my brother, too –
but I can’t tell a joke.
Nor can my mum.

That’s how things go.

For Punam at dVerse. A poem with four fathery song titles incorporated. Can you spot them?

My father’s eyes: Eric Clapton

Father to son: Queen

Daddy’s hands: Holly Dunn

Body. Guard.

All I can think of is paper.
So easy to tear, to cut, to burn,
and they way it holds everything:
joy and death and tax
and fairytales.

2 a.m., and it won’t get darker,
and all I can do is stand vigil,
while shadows become monsters
and monsters become shadows,
and all the night noises
are breath, and footsteps,
and the weight of it. The weight.

Not the big guy
in the suit, or the woman
with the gun. None of them.
It’s only love that matters,
that takes the bullet,
that bears the pain,
that steps up and holds you.
Only love.

For Laura’s prompt at dVerse.