Remember – a shadow sonnet

Think of me, then, fondly, as you think
how the wind blows through the trees, and how
pink flowers dance on the camellia, pink
flowers clinging on there, ’til those flowers

scatter across the lawn, as life is scattered.
Dream loving dreams of me, not empty dreams,
shattered by daybreak. I will not be shattered
free as a flower loosened by the wind is free

or a bird soaring on the wind’s turn, or
light falling on the water. I am light,
laughter and love: think of me with laughter,
bright laughter. Think of me with thoughts that brighten

dark, the way the moon shines through the stormy dark.
Sparks fly upwards, upwards. Let me be a spark.

A shadow sonnet for Laura at dVerse. I found this one extremely challenging. I find it hard to keep track of sonnets anyway, and the use of the same word at the beginning and end of the line nearly broke me. Anyhow, it’s done. Head over to dVerse to find more of these.


Love is a bit like tea and tea is a bit like love

Love should be made afresh each day, like tea.
Does that sound too mundane? Consider now
the cup I bring up every morning, free
from thoughts about repayment, and then how
you put a cup beside me when I’m at
my desk and working hard, because you see
that I might need it. Let’s extend it out:
our teapot holds enough for the whole family,
and when our friends drop by we offer tea
to say “we love you, and we’re glad you’re here”.
We offer tea as comfort, sympathy,
as a small warmth, protection against fear.
Love’s measured not in words, but in our deeds –
I say “I love you” when I make you tea.

Ingrid over at Experiments in fiction has asked us to write a sonnet for St Valentine’s Day. Wierdly, she has given us the theme of “love”.

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.

Three wishes – NaPoWriMo 27

Three wishes, and the third’s the charm, as
April fills the woods with green, and
perfumes everything, like some mad woman
in a posh department store. You promised me
three wishes, and I whispered them,
hot breath, up close against your skin.
June’s on us now, and that hot breath has
burn’d me more than you. Three months
since you first made that promise, and the
first wish was granted. And the second?
I don’t know. It’s cooled a little, in the waiting. I
saw a life without you, and I think that
you saw something, too. No charm, then, but
fresh wishes, cooler ones; new dreams.

Day 27 of NaPoWriMo and the prompt today is to take inspiration from one of Shakespeare’s sonnets. I’ve taken a couple of lines from Sonnet 104. I guess this is 14 lines, so you could stretch the definition and call it a sonnet but I haven’t followed any other rules.

Three April perfumes in three hot Junes burn’d,

Since first I saw you fresh.

Empty – NaPoWriMo 4

The photo’s gone, the wall is bare;

the Sacred Heart’s been packed away,

leaving the faintest shadow where

the striped wallpaper didn’t fade,

and the piano’s out of tune,

silently waiting all alone

to be polished up and moved,

make music in another home.

The kitchen smells of nothingness.

It once was filled with cake, and chips,

and family rows, and happiness,

and sugared tea that burned your lips.

All of the things that made this home

are packed away, or lost, or gone.

Day 4 of NaPoWriMo, and we are asked to write a sad poem in simple words. They suggest we might think about writing a sonnet. This is a sonnet rhyme scheme, without any syllable count, and without a volta. A sonnot, maybe?

It’s Open Link night at dVerse tonight, so I’ll link this there, too.

Spring-cleaning Sonnet

How do you shed the lives you’ll never lead?
The shoes that dream of corridors of power,
the teetering piles of books you’ll never read,
the dress meant for a ballroom in a tower?
The hat that ought to shield you from the sun
on the bright terrace of some palazzo,
the trainers for a race you’ll never run,
the stockings for a lover you won’t know –
the lives piled in the corners of the room,
that gather dust, and whisper of regret –
the things you could have had, but didn’t choose,
or didn’t want, or never tried to get –
those lives are beautiful as snow,
but all snow melts. It’s time to let them go.

This is a re-write of a sonnet I put up a week or so ago. The original is here: It seems a bit greedy, putting up yet another sonnet, but Bjorn did say we could do revisions, and I thought it might be interesting to compare this one and the original.

I had some feedback on the original poem, (thank you, Lona, much appreciated), and realised that the volta didn’t really have enough impact. I have struggled with the volta in the past – it always feels like a bit of a punchline, and felt a bit tum-ti-tum. However, this whole sonnet exercise has clarified it for me, and I now realise it’s supposed to be a bit like that. So this is my re-write, with extra added voltation.

The art of confession – poem for dVerse

You think that I will show you all my scars?
You want me to perform some sick striptease –
open my heart to you, reveal my flaws?
What right have you to see what no-one sees?
You sense me brooding over my dark times,
tell me confessing all will set me free,
as if the past can be re-made by rhymes.
The stories I hold hidden cannot be
left lightly fluttering, like butterflies –
what secret guilts do you think you’ll uncover?
I clasp the memories of the times I failed,
I hold those memories tight as any lover –
you’d mould my pain into some fairy tale,
for in the end, confession is betrayal.

Anmol at dVerse is challenging us to write confessional poetry. A lot of my poetry is confessional – I think that’s the nature of poetry. In fact, I probably reveal more about myself than I realise whenever I write. This is, of course, a poem that claims not to be confessional, but there you go. Read it as a confession of my secretive nature… It’s also the last of my sonnets for this month’s sonnet challenge. This is the terza rima sonnet – you’ll notice the interlocking 3 line rhyme scheme. I needed to get one written, it was bugging me.

Sonnet II – Sleeping Together

These early mornings when I cannot sleep,
I know the dull truth of that tired cliché –
you’re close beside me, but so far away –
if sleep’s an ocean, you’re down in the deeps;
if sleep’s a path, it’s one I found too steep;
if it’s a place, then I can’t find the way;
if it’s a tune, it’s one I cannot play,
if it’s a faith, I’ve lost all my belief –
yet there’s a pleasure in this lying here,
your presence, so well known, but always new
your warm skin, comforting as morning light.
I wonder if you know I’m lying near –
do you dream that I’m sleeping next to you?
Do you sleep better for my oversight?

My second sonnet – a Petrarchan sonnet – notice the different rhyme scheme. This is a new one on me, so thank you, Bjorn.

Sonnet I – Moving on.

Among the shots of faces that I care for
too many snaps of things I don’t recall –
I’m cleaning up my life’s hard drive, and therefore
I’ll make a conflagration of it all –
these shoes will never clack down marble halls,
that dress is meant for places I won’t go,
crochet, it seems, is not my thing at all,
and how that box set ends? I’ll never know.
I’m shedding all those lives I’ll never lead,
throwing away the clothes I’ll never wear,
divesting all those books I’ll never read,
discarding all the posts that I won’t share –
those unlived lives are beautiful as snow,
but snow must melt. It’s time to let them go.

This is my first sonnet for Bjorn’s‘s dVerse prompt. It’s a Shakespearean style sonnet – the kind I was brought up on. I’ve always found sonnets a little tricky – that final couplet feels like a punchline.


I’ve better things to do than sit and cry
I don’t have the time for self-indulgence
If I keep busy here, time will have to fly
and if I fill my day up with employments –
the email that I have to send today,
the meal that must be cooked, the lunches packed,
the dishes washed and dried, and put away,
the TV programme meant to counteract
the fear and pain and anger that I hold,
the dark tide lapping at my easy chair,
the clouds that gather, the advancing cold,
the sharp-clawed crab that clacks and scrabbles there –
I cram my days with work and love and light,
but cannot build a wall to keep out night.


Frank is running things at dVerse, and asks us to write about heartbreak or frustration. I find few things more frustrating than a sonnet, so this is frustration in action!