Birch trees

What could a birch tree be, except a girl?
A young girl, poised on the edge of a dance
with her arms wide, and her hair uncurled,
loose round her shoulders; and her friends
clustered around her, whispering secrets,
rustling and murmuring in their pale dresses,
telling each other which bird did this,
and what the squirrel said. Nobody guesses
how much they see, the supple birch trees,
that sway as they wait, feeling the notes
sung by the robin, played by the breeze –
they can’t resist. Even when they’re old
they sway like that, to music half-forgotten,
melodies half-heard, echoes of rhythm.

This is for Grace at dVerse, who is asking us to use imagery and/or personification. there is, of course, a nod to Robert Frost here, and I’m still wrestling with the sonnet form. The rhymes got pretty slant-y in this one.

This is not a coffee pot

This is not
a coffee pot

it’s sunlight
casting crisp shadows
across a square

it’s a bird fluttering
into a bright blue sky

it’s every city that
ever welcomed me
with open arms
and crowded pavements

it’s chiming waterfronts
clanging with boats
and narrow backstreets
blue with shadows
and a small square
where a child plays
with an orange ball

it’s a fountain

it’s a cool marble table
wiped down
by a man in a white shirt,
nodding to acknowledge me

it’s a painting
of a woman
holding a single rose

An object poem for Mish at dVerse. I love my little Moka pot. It’s a one cup pot, so it’s very selfish. I use it every day.

It’s raining

You’re slipping through this grey world,
as an eel might glide through kelp,
sinuous, friction-free. You’re moving,
I am still. Still here, still waiting.
Rain beads the window. I’ve no view,
only the misted glass, the empty
platform. I wonder where you are.

You move towards me, cutting
a path through nameless towns.
The world mutates around you –
fleeting images – an empty trampoline,
a washing line, a field of flowers –
freighted with meaning, vanished
in a moment. Me, I’m still.
My coffee’s steaming, softening
a world of plastic seats, bright, bitter orange,
scuffed grey floor, and sugar sachets,
split and spilling baby diamonds
across the table top. It’s raining,
and I’m sheltering and wondering.

You’re movement. A cadenza.
I’m a pause.

I’m the host at dVerse tonight. I’m asking you to have a conversation with a poem, write a response to a poem that has touched you in some way. This is my response to Laura Bloomsbury’s poem In The Rain . I loved the sense of movement in this poem, and the unresolved anticipation. I always enjoy Laura’s use of enjambment. I actually hadn’t realised until I went back to the original that I had mirrored the ending so effectively.

There are lots more poets and poems to view at dVerse. Check it out. Have your own conversation with a poem.

Day 25 – Solstice Light

We wait for the light,
that one spear of light
that will reveal it all.
What are we now?
Curled and squatting,
cramped in this narrow
space, this tight-walled
passageway. Womb,
or tomb? We crouch
between life and death,
our breath clouding,
our fingers busy, busy,
hoping for light.

Light to penetrate
this winter dark,
to seek out the carvings
spiralling around us,
to dazzle us,
our dark-widened eyes,
to show us
what we may become.

Happy Christmas. Thank you so much to all of you – poets, readers, people who made such kind comments, people who shared and re-blogged. I have enjoyed this so much, I’m so proud to share so many wonderful poems. It has been a joy.

Day 23: Peering into the Kitchen

It’s Christmas Eve and the kitchen is a mess
everything crusted with flour as more pastry is made
because someone has eaten all the mince pies already.

The jelly stuffed full of rum soaked sponges has finally set
providing a foundation for our Christmas Trifle
and the Christmas Cake has been iced
with red rocketships rather than holly.

Meanwhile someone is melting dark chocolate
to make a Yule Log the way Grandad used to
and not looking guilty at all.

I smile and close the door on my adult sons as
their chocolate fuelled laughter resounds in my ears.
Christmas is finally here!

I think we all know that feeling. The moment when Christmas really starts! This is from Kim.. Kim Whysall-Hammond is a Londoner living in a small country town in Southern England. An expert in obsolete telecommunications, Kim believes, against all evidence, that she is a good dancer. She has been published by Silver Birch Press, Ink, Sweat and Tears, Amaryllis, Total Eclipse, Fourth and Sycamore, London Grip and Crannóg among others. You can find her and more poetry at

Day 22: Remembering the Lights

Winter holds its secrets tightly bound and buried deep
in frozen ground where daffodils sleep, waiting,

I remember the light, shining bright, on those nights,
the moon’s silver midnight shimmer, glimmering

above, where candles had flamed, enframed
in windowpanes, as my heart, proclaimed

miracles happen, here and there. So stark
the season’s dark, but for the glow and gleaming

of sparkly lights and menorahs beaming, latkes, mulled wine–
symbols and signs of wonders, staying

in memory, like spring bulbs weighing when to bloom
and then do, flowering to lift winter’s gloom.

Merril D. Smith is a historian and poet who writes from southern New Jersey. She’s had poems and short fiction published recently in Black Bough Poetry, Anti-Heroin Chic, Twist in Time, Nightingale and Sparrow, and Wellington Street Review. Web site: Twitter: @merril_mds Instagram: mdsmithnj

Day 20: Dancing the Paradigm

On the cusp of Samhain,
the time when the veils between the worlds
grows thin, can you hear the Ancestors
urging us to expand our perspective
wide enough to change
the earth’s music
to a brand new song?
To breathe an evolution,
a revolution, an expansive flowering
of every good intention,
dancing the edge of
a new paradigm?
A shift is happening
on Planet Earth.
Our souls rise to meet it
with joy.

Come, let’s trip the light fantastic,
prancing and cavorting like giddy reindeer
under a waxing polar moon,
conga into winter sunshine with hopeful feathers
all aloft and glistening,
caper into the dawn, vibrant and smiling
and never so alive!

Join me. We’ll pull on the moss
like sweet little socks,
and tiptoe through the forest
like sprites, dip our tippy-toes
into the Pond of Peace,
set all our dreams alight
with the shine of sunset
over the wilding sea.

Never before,
has there been
such a winter of Possibility
as now I see.

Sherry Marr lives in Tofino, on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, in Canada. Its spectacularly beautiful landscape inspires her work in her sunset years. In this poem, she is responding to the shift she feels happening, turning from the divisive and toxic rhetoric of the last few years towards our truer natures, in which we See No Other, only Us. Fork. Road. It is up to us. The Ancestors hold their breath. Sherry writes at   

Day 17: A Snow Day

Today the track is impassable,
a windfall of time blesses my hands.
I watch my small world unfold
in newspaper tones of ink and snow.
In the field crows squabble
over bruised stubbles of barley,
an astonishment of hares nibble at frost,
search for the spectre of spring.

Lynn Valentine lives on the Black Isle in the Scottish Highlands. Her work is widely
published and appears in places like Northwords Now, The Blue Nib and Ink, Sweat & Tears.
She had a poem commissioned by the Scottish Poetry Library this year as part of their
Champions project. She is organising her first poetry pamphlet under the mentorship of
Cinnamon Press after winning a place on their Pencil Mentoring competition for 2020.
Lynn can be found on Twitter @dizzylynn

Day 16: Wintertide

is here again:
solstice festival
by choral singing
carols ringing
through the starlit streets
except for this time.

This bleak midwinter
all the streets shall fall
silent and all the carols
we must carry in our hearts;
gone are the jolly Christmas suppers,
the wintertime tree-branches
down to their bare bones.

Take heart:
draw a deep breath
and spare a thought
for all you have,
for those who live alone;
alone we enter this world
so they say, alone
we make our exit,
yet the miracle may be
to find ourselves
this wintertide
embraced by lovingkindness

Thank you to Ingrid for this covid Christmas poem.

Ingrid writes poetry, short fiction and journals at She has had her poetry published in several anthologies, and also by Spillwords Press, Free Verse Revolution and Secret Attic.

She enjoys collaborating with other writers and encouraging poetic creativity with her EIF Poetry Challenge, which she hosts fortnightly at Experiments in Fiction.