North Devon – poem for dVerse

For my eldest daughter I will take
Dart water, tumbling, and a flash
of Tamar, and a trembling dash
of Torridge water and of Taw
and in Berrynarbor we will pick
berries red and blue and sweet
and plump and ripe, and we will grind
red Peppercombe rocks
to add some spice
and in the early morning light,
we’ll go by way of Brandy Cove
to Widmouth Head and Burrow Nose,
and as the sun sets in the West
we’ll make our path from Gallant Rock
to Damehole Point by way of Stoke,
passing through Rosedown as the clouds
turn pink and gold, to Speke’s Mill Mouth,
and all this corner of the world
from Dipple up to Fairy’s Cross,
I’ll wrap it up and make it hers,
Lostmead, Foxdown, Blackchurch Rock.

Lillian is hosting Open Link Night at dVerse tonight, and looking for treats. This is a celebration of some local place names, and a nod (or more) to Edward Thomas and “If I should ever by chance”


Broad and majestic – poem for dVerse

We crossed the Shannon, heading west –
“the broad majestic Shannon” we said,
and laughed. I bet you know the writer,
you with all the facts right at your finger tips.

What does majestic mean, then? Slow,
smooth-surfaced, disregarding
of the common things – a thirst for coffee,
hunger, needing a wee, the trivia
of travelling. We were heading west
to bare our faces to the wind and rain,
and so we crossed the river, a frontier
between one way of being and another,
like every river, barrier and connection –

rivers make good borders. Here the Tamar
marks the edge, we cross it, and we always say
“how different it is here, can you tell?”.
Our family jokes, not funny, but obligatory.
We’re heading west again, towards the sunset
and the great obliviating ocean.

The dVerse bar is open, and we’re looking at all things majestic. There’s only one thing comes to mind when I hear the word “majestic” and that’s the River Shannon in Ireland. This poem isn’t really about majesty, it’s about rivers, and the crossing of rivers, and all that symbolises.

Happy families – Pop poem for dVerse

A pop poem for dVerse – Victoria is hosting this month’s form for all, and we’re looking at pop art. I think you can see what I’ve tried to do  here.

Yellow breakfasts in a yellow kitchen sunshine family smiling laughing sunny-side up reaching for the marmalade reaching for the mustard with smiles as bright as bowls of custard we’re so happy in our family sunshine yellow sunshine happy Sky blue mornings made for running round the garden playing with water laughing joking water spraying rainbow making summer skies are always cloudless we’re so happy in our family sky blue happy summer smiling
Grass green afternoons we’re all sorting our recycling teamwork smiling podding peas and stealing some chopping veggies we’re so healthy so delighted with our garden neat and tidy we’re so happy in our family grass green happy garden grinning Warm red evenings on the sofa firelight flickering eating pizza watching movies all plugged in to our devices lots of snuggles cosy cuddles we’re so happy in our family warm red happy turn our faces from reality all we need is this nuclear family

Now – poem for dVerse

Use the good china
let your hands linger
on the smooth, cool curves
of each translucent cup

light those candles
wear your prettiest dress
set the table with the silverware
the fragile glasses
you’ve been treasuring
don’t let your pleasures
gather dust

A quadrille for Merrill – the word tonight is “set”. Set off for the dVerse bar, poetry on tap…

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 dVerse  open link night.

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

Deprivation – poem for dVerse

She always offered food
instead of love
when we craved kisses
we got cake soft
sweet light-as-air
as yellow as an egg yolk
sugar sweet too sweet

or crack-faced cookies
chocolate studded
clinging to our teeth

she fed us well

we ate
shame faced
knowing we didn’t need
this sweetness butter sugar eggs
in all their varied combinations
sharp shards of toffee
apple tart soft raisin studded dumplings

our stomachs ached
and we swallowed
hugs and kisses and cuddles and
warm pats on the shoulder
and brushed hair and smiles
and cosy fireside chats

gulped them down
as muffins fairy-cakes
toasted tea-cakes
dripping butter

we would have eaten her


Lisa (Jade) is hosting Poetics for dVerse tonight, and we are writing poems inspired by food.


I miss you – poem for dVerse

This phone’s a graveyard

of dead conversations,

an old handbag

where love rattles

like a dusty sweet. I mean

I’m sad and lonely

and I miss you

and my heart’s

a screwed up ball of paper

with a half-written poem

scrawled across it.

Bjorn is hosting at dVerse tonight, and he’s looking for metaphors. Not similes, oh no – the hardcore version. Get over there and read some poetry – or write – or both.

A cage in search of a bird…Kafka for children

There once was a cage
that longed for a bird –
it was lonely and sad,
it was empty and bored;

So it thought of the things
that a bird ought to need,
like a soft place to sleep,
and some water and seed,

and a perch it could perch on,
a swing it could swing,
a mirror to gaze at,
a bell it could ring

and a door that could close
and keep out everything
that might threaten a bird,
and could keep the bird in.

Then along came a bird,
and it looked, and agreed
there was somewhere to sleep,
there was water and seed,

and a perch it could perch on,
a swing it could swing,
a mirror to gaze at,
a bell it could ring,

and it saw it was good,
but it still shook his head,
and it hopped, and it flapped
its wings, and it said

“A cage is a cage
and the sky is the sky
and I am a bird
and a bird has to fly”.

And the cage gave a sigh.

Then it thought and it pondered
all day and all night
and it thought of a way
it could make things all right

and it took off the door
that kept out everything
that might threaten a bird,
but would keep the bird in.

Now the cage has a bird
that goes flying each day
and comes back at night
to talk and to play

and to tell it great tales
of the things that it’s seen
and the sounds that it’s heard
and the places it’s been

and it sits on the perch
and it makes the bell ring
then curls in its nest
and softly it sings;

and it always comes back
from the places it roams
for a cage with no door
has become a fine home,

for a home is a home
and the sky is the sky
and a bird is a bird
and a bird needs to fly.

This unholy mash-up was inspired by Amaya who is hosting dVerse tonight. She gives us some quotes from Kafka and asks us to use them to create a poem or story for children. I chose “I am a cage, in search of a bird.” from The Blue Octavo Notebooks – once I saw that, I was hooked. I’ve channeled Julia Donaldson (The Gruffalo) here, I think. I’ve read her books over and over again in my time…

I initially wrote it with gender, but I have un-gendered it. First time round, my cage was a she and the bird was a he. I wonder if that would be a different story? How about if the cage was a he and the bird was a she? But maybe it’s confusing to have two “it”s? Feedback is welcome.

It is, of course, a story with a moral, like all good children’s stories.