2015 Day 30 – To whom it may concern

The dream supplied last night
Was, frankly, disappointing,
Particularly in light
Of the three dreamless weeks
Which preceded it.
You’d think after all that wait
Something rather special
Would be delivered:
A tropical paradise
Or a fairy tale forest
With magic and mystery,
Perhaps a touch of the erotic
And definitely dragons.
I was full of anticipation
As I drifted off.
And then when it came down to it,
What did I get?
Stick insects!
(Giant stick insects, admittedly,
As if mere size could compensate
For banality.)
If I’d wanted bloody stick insects,
I’d have asked for them.
And no storyline to speak of,
Just walking up the path and down again,
Looking – well, sticky.
Oh, and then -the excitement!-
They all stopped walking
And turned into sticks.
What’s that about?
I would suggest
You change your scriptwriter
And your fairy dust supplier
Or else retire
From the dream business.

Note: the prompt was to write a poem which was a review. This one is somewhere between a review and a letter of complaint.

2015 Day 29 – From a Rhondda bridge

Leaning over,
We watched the swelling of the water
Hoping that this would be the day the river
Would burst its banks.
We were young, did not remember
The stench of mud soaked carpets,
Drowned gardens,
The grandmother, driven
From her cosy fireside,
The aunt, her belly nine months swollen,
Her arms full
Of wriggling, blind pups.
We were young, and wanted only
The unaccustomed wonder
Of rowing boats
in Rhondda streets.

Note: ‘Bridge’ prompt, second poem.

2015 Day 29 (i) – 59th Bridge Street Song revisited

Speed up, you move too slow.
You’ve got to let the feeling go.
Kick it out, do it on your own.
Life isn’t fun when you’re feeling broody.

That’s a lampost, watch where you’re going.
On your head a bruise is growing.
Stop looking for a rhyme for orange.
Do it, don’t do it – you’re feeling broody.

Don’t tell yourself you’ve got promises to keep.
Nap if you want but don’t lose too much sleep.
If you’re ready to drop, all the pillows are free.
Life can be lovely, but you’re feeling broody.

Note: The prompt was to write a poem about a bridge. Proper bridge poem to follow, but this song got stuck in my head…

2015 Day 28 – Full circle


Blossoms brightly,
Bursts into summer.

Basks, drowsy;
Ripens to autumn.

Crisps leaves,
Chills into winter.

Lies dormant,
Waiting for spring.

Note: the prompt was to write a hay(na)ku or chain of hay(na)ku. “A hay(na)ku consists of a three-line stanza, where the first line has one word, the second line has two words, and the third line has three words.”

2015 Day 27 – Adam

It was inevitable, I suppose.
Cain was born angry,
conceived one sweaty night when, waking
From demon-ridden dreams,
I reached for Lilith and found only Eve.
He sprang howling from the womb,
His infant face reddened with rage,
As if he knew
How close he’d come to paradise
And how far fallen.
I tried, I really did –
He was my first-born, after all,
His daddy’s boy
And truth be told, I loved him best.
I could see
My own dark moods reflected in his scowl,
The angry tightness of his shoulders.
I never cared for Abel,
However much I wanted to. I saw
His mother’s mousy mildness in his ways,
Complaisant as his flocks.
No wonder God liked Abel best.
Poor Cain.

Note: The prompt was to write a persona poem. This one is a sequel to poems about Lilith and Eve which I wrote for an earlier NaPoWriMo, and is very much a work in progress.

2015 Day 26 – A sprinkling of clerihews

Thomas Alva Edison
Didn’t find fame in the field of medicine
Though he improved our sight
By inventing the electric light.

Cain and Abel
Had a relationship that was unstable.
God said “Oy, Cain leave it!”
But he didn’t – would you Adam and Eve it?

Dorothy Parker
Was queen of the cutting remark. Her
Tongue was sharp for verbal slaughter –
A good role model for your daughter.

Nicholas Clegg
In a round hole is a square peg.
By hook or crook his mission
Is to crawl into another coalition.

Note: The prompt was to write a clerihew. These are rhymed, humorous quatrains involving a specific person’s name.

2015 Day 25 – The Charge of the Trolley Brigade

Half a league, half a league,
Half a league inward,
Into the megastore
Surged the bewildered.
“Forward to cake supplies!
Charge for baked goods!” he cried.
Into the megastore
Surged the bewildered.

“Forward to cake supplies!”
Were there sufficient pies?
No, though the shoppers knew
Some had been pilfered.
Theirs not to whine and cry.
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to shop or die.
Into the megastore
Surged the bewildered.

Trolleys to right of them,
Trolleys to left of them,
Trolleys in front of them
Wobbled and hindered;
Trying to force a smile,
Walking for what seemed miles,
Into the megastore,
Into the nightmare aisles
Surged the bewildered.

Flashed all their credit cards,
Flashed as they claimed ‘rewards’,
Watched by the security guards,
Charging a fortune, while
Bored partners lingered.
Kids screaming extra loud
Just to annoy the crowd,
Mums and some dads
Bloody but still unbowed
Stocked up on fish fingers.
Then back to the checkout, but not
Merely bewildered.
Trolleys to right of them,
Trolleys to left of them,
Trolleys in front of them
Wobbled and hindered;
Trying to force a smile,
Enduring a headache vile
Queuing in single file.
Escaped from the megastore,
Out of the nightmare aisles
Back from the mouth of hell,
All that was left of them,
Broke and bewildered.
How did they fill that trolley?
O how they spent their lolly –
Notes, copper, silver!
Gawp at that brimming trolley!
Gawp at their spending folly,
As they go home bewildered!

Note: The prompt was to write a parody of a famous poem.

2015 Day 24 – Justice

I like to think that Justice sits
Between two columns:
Truth and compassion.
Balancing these,
She weighs your heart against a feather.
(Weighed in the balance
Are you found wanting?)
No blindfold –
Justice needs to see
The sleeping-bag swaddled bundle in the doorway,
The queues at the the food banks,
The gun in the hand
And the bullet in the back,
The backhanders and tax dodges
And the children drowning.

Her two-edged sword
Is sharp as death
Or love.

Note: The prompt was to draw a random card from a pack, free-write about it for 5 minutes and write a poem based on the free-writing. I drew Justice.

2015 Day 23 – This tree


This tree
Is exotic and beautiful
But not very Manc.
This tree
Has flowers
Like huge purple bells
And doesn’t match
The scruffy pigeons
That peck at its feet.
This tree
Wants to tell stories
Of far-away places
And sapphire dragons.
This tree
Startled me awake
This morning.

Note: The prompt was to write a “pastoral” poem, or on which engaged with nature.

2015 Day 22 – Blue, midnight.

Strong gift,
her voice found midnight,
escape from a walled garden,
building a mysterious blue hidden world –
the impossible child
interweaving worlds and times and fears
in red moonlight.
Without parallel
the heroine
with no memory of
the river or the ancient hills.

Fisk 2  Fisk 1

Note: The prompt was to write an erasure poem. The text I used was the obituary of Pauline Fisk. http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/feb/26/pauline-fisk