2014 Day 30 – Silver Eyes

‘Your silver eyes’ sounds like a metaphor
But isn’t.
You had them replaced
When you couldn’t bear to see
The world as it is.
Though technically
They are stainless steel,
So silver is, I guess, a metaphor
For steel.
Do I contradict myself?
But I do not contain
Whitman’s multitudes.
I contain only
The hollow gut of misgiving.
Can you taste the darkness?
You will take back your eyes,
Ma cherie,
When the flutterby brushes your eyelids.
On Alderley Edge
You will hear the song of the sirens.
Honey is cloying in the mouth
But the scent of lavender
Is drowsy with the drone of bees.
My eyes are not silver
And therefore
I must weep tears
Of stainless steel.


Note: This bit of weirdness is the result of partly following the “Twenty Little Poetry Projects” prompt. I didn’t get anywhere near the full twenty. 

2014 Day 29 – We Pray

This is safe.
Light candles.
Spread bouquets.
This is peaceful,
What is in your heart –
So lovely,
Calm and reverent.
This is inspirational.
Don’t tell anyone, but
The light
Is growing.


Note: the prompt was ” find a news article, and to write a poem using (mostly, if not only) words from the article! You can repeat them, splice them, and rearrange them however you like. Although the vocabulary may be “just the facts,” your poem doesn’t have to be — it doesn’t even have to be about the subject of the news article itself.” The article I chose was this.

2014 Day 27 – Nightmare

The helplessness of limbs you can’t command,
The feeling something’s lurking just behind.
The slithering that just might be a snake,
The touch of something very like a hand:
Though you may tell yourself they’re in your mind,
The dreaming horrors are still hard to shake.

Yet this is worse: a phantom of a friend,
Words that sound compassionate and kind
But turn to lies and promises that break
And wrap you in a nightmare that won’t end
Now you’re awake.


Note: the prompt was to write a curtal sonnet: the curtal sonnet is shorter than the normal, fourteen line sonnet. Instead it has a first stanza of six lines, followed by a second stanza of four, and then closes with a half-line. The form was invented in the 1800s by Gerard Manley Hopkins, who used it in his famous poem “Pied Beauty”

2014 Day 26 – The Mirror Says

The mirror says my face is too pale.
The mirror says my eyes are too red.
The mirror says the dark shadows
Speak of sleepless nights.
The mirror says my face echoes
My father, mother, brother.
I will not listen
To what the mirror says.

The shop window says I must buy.
The shop window says my reflection
Holds my desires.
The shop window says I must hurry,
Now, before it’s too late.
I will not listen
To what the shop window says.

The pond says it will hold my image.
The pond says it will wreathe it in lilies.
The pond says if I slip softly into the water
My image and I will become one.
The pond says I should become
My own reflection.
I must not listen
To what the pond says.

Your eyes say that I am beautiful.
Your eyes say it does not matter
What I thought I saw
In the mirror, the window, the pond.
Your eyes say I am loved.
I want to listen
To what your eyes say.


Note: the prompt was to write a poem that uses anaphora – a literary term for the practice of repeating certain words or phrases at the beginning of multiple clauses or, in the case of a poem, multiple lines. I also wanted to write a poem about mirrors/reflections, as that is the theme for the poetry evening I’m going to on Monday.

2014 Day 24 – Vocal Consent

Lightly blessing each
Fairy chin held in a damsel’s troth,
Go my fine boy, call her who has been my bride.
Go bid her fall, remembering her soul.

Be chosen in her eyes, o child,
No common sign find liar.
Now legend and scandal leave me easy,
Each, going, goes before I move from here.


Note: the prompt was to write a ‘translation’ of a poem in a language I didn’t know. This is the original:

Leagtaí blaoscanna each
Faoi chúinní halla an damhsa tráth,
Go mbainfí macalla as boinn na mbróg,
Go mbeadh na fallaí ramhar le ceol.

Ba choscrach an ní é, a chuid,
Na cnámha sin faoin lár:
Ní liginn an scanradh le m’ais
Ach ghuínn go bhfantá i mo chomhair.



2014 Day 23 – The Bear in the Bathroom.

The bear in the bathroom is a messy bear,
Doesn’t wash his face or comb his hair
And his trousers are ripped but he doesn’t care.
The bear in the bathroom is a messy bear.

The giraffe in the study is a clever giraffe,
She can read a map and draw a graph
But that doesn’t stop her from having a laugh.
The giraffe in the study is a clever giraffe.

The cow in the kitchen is a friendly cow
She’s cooked us dinner, though I don’t know how,
And now she’s smiling and taking a bow.
The cow in the kitchen is a friendly cow.

The horse in the bedroom is a very strange horse,
He eats toasted teacakes as his main course
And covers them in tomato sauce.
The horse in the bedroom is a very strange horse.

The lizard in the lounge is a magical lizard,
With rainbow colours all over his gizzard
That were painted there by a laughing wizard.
The lizard in the lounge is a magical lizard.

I’m in the garden, the house is full up,
And I still need some room for a cat and a pup,
Some books, a telly, a plate and a cup –
So I’ll sit in the garden. The house is full up.


Note: the prompt was to write a poem for children.

2014 Day 22 – Who Needs New York?

Stoned and drunk in late July
We eat shish kebabs
From the Oxford Road chippie,
Giggle past the Refuge building.
Behind us, Jilly’s rocks.
(On the dance floor
Stefan’s hair was dangerous,
Whipped to a frenzy.)
I steal pickled chillies
From Derek and Kev
Distracting them with questions
About life and death
And Blue Öyster Cult.
Mouth missed, eye stabbed
And burning red.
“Fuck!” – an exclamation,
Not (this time) an invitation.


Note: the prompt was to to write a “New York School” poem using the recipe found here. But – who needs New York, when you can have 80s Manchester?

2014 Day 21 – I Am a Mateless Swan

I am a mateless swan,
Fish without chips,
Pen with no ink,
A choir without music,
An unsolved puzzle.
I reach out
To the cold half
Of a too-big bed.
I am left without right,
Down with no up,
A single chopstick,
A lone turtle dove.
I keep going only
Because I have to
For you, my children.


Note: the prompt was to write a poem in the voice of a member of my family.