2016 Day 30 -Salty


her movements
catching her movements

singing of possibilities
of red rioting angels

standing suddenly abandoned
in the palace of the open sky
for movement’s sake

all salty abandonment
salty abandonment in the sacred house

this is the cure for the stains of salt
the salt which clings to the last rank

the girl is timeless
is naked and is dreams

is dreams

a dream of saltiness


Notes: The prompt was to write a translation of another poem, either an actual translation or a homophonic ‘translation’ of a poem in a language you don’t know. This little piece of weirdness is what happened when I ‘translated’ this Lithuanian poem.

2016 Day 29 – Lacunae

My memory is a filing system
Organised by the work-experience girl
On a Friday afternoon in the winter
With the lights on the blink
And her best mate texting every five minutes.
Some things are more or less where they should be:
Poetry, mostly, and Bible verses
And the lyrics of ‘Hi Ho Silver Lining’.
Others are buried in the wrong drawer
(Probably, though some may have been
Recycled, or used to mop up spilled coffee).
I remember my auntie grieving over my long hair,
Cut short in my fifteenth year,
But I don’t remember when
My first grey hair appeared.
I remember pink satin trousers –
Size 10, I was so thrilled to fit into them –
But I don’t remember when
I stopped caring what size the label said.
I remember the holiday sunshine days
Running on the sand dunes,
And the exact feel of caterpillars on my hand
But I forget what we did when it rained
Apart from endless games of Monopoly.
Proper nouns are the worst.
I scrabble for the right one,
Reciting an alphabet in my head,
Hoping to match initials to a familiar pattern.
Sometimes it works. Sometimes not.
I have learned strategies, evasions.
I live with it, but I wish I remembered
All their names.

Notes: The prompt was to write a poem based on things I remember. Somehow, what I forget seemed more important.

2016 Day 27 – If

If I speak louder than a whisper will you hear me or ignore me?
If you speak softer than a murmur, I will listen like a lover.
Will you keep my words like midnight secrets, locked within a hidden room?
I will keep your words like flowers pressed and perfect, like a book my heart.
If I stand on a cliff edge trembling, will you help me spread my feathers?
I will take flight in the sunlight, I will bear you aloft with kisses.


Notes: The prompt was to write a poem with very long lines (17 syllables or thereabouts). I found that quite difficult, though interesting. One voice or two? I’m not sure…

2016 Day 26 – Witness

This country’s a mess and I just feel like crying
About all the waste and the cruelty and lying
And the youngsters brought down when they ought to stand tall.
Can I get a witness?
I’ve witnessed it all.

If you’re unemployed and you have to sign on,
One mistake and you’re sanctioned, your money is gone,
And if you can’t walk, they’ll expect you to crawl.
Can I get a witness?
I’ve witnessed it all.

We turn away children at border control,
Watch boats that capsize drowning hundreds of souls,
And plug up our ears against their dying calls.
Can I get a witness?
I’ve witnessed it all.

Our National Health Service is falling apart,
Doctors stressed, patients waiting for treatment to start,
Auxillaries waiting for the next axe to fall.
Can I get a witness?
I’ve witnessed it all.

The rich getting richer, the poor getting worse,
And they won’t be content till you leave in a hearse.
The homeless guy huddling by the car park wall.
Can I get a witness?
I’ve witnessed it all.

Notes: The prompt was to write a ‘call and response’ poem.

2016 Day 25 – Hoarded

With eager dragon eyes,
A gleam of opal in a darkened cave,
She watched the night.
She kept her treasure safe:
Hearts’s love, soul’s desire,
Fire-forged dreams softly shining,
Safe, deep,


Notes: The prompt was to write a poem that begins with a line from a another poem (not necessarily the first one), but then goes elsewhere with it. I’ve used a line from ‘In the Wilderness’ by Robert Graves (and was so distracted by re-reading some of my favourite Graves poems that my own poem is very short!)

2016 Day 24 – Transcendent

She creates a world
With discarded fag-butts and torn carrier bags,
With toe-nail clippings and traffic cones.
She oversees transmutation
Of spit and chewing-gum
Into iridescent spheres.
Chicken nuggets and Pepsi
Become the ineffable, snot-nosed beauty
Of a maker of worlds.


Notes: The prompt was to “write a ‘mix-and-match’ poem in which you mingle fancy vocabulary with distinctly un-fancy words”. (For non-British readers, ‘fag’ = ‘cigarette’.)

2016 Day 23 – Seven of Cups

Our judgement blurred by lack of temperance
We scorned the devil and the fallen star.
Our coin was kisses and our speech a dance.
Our dreams of power outgrew our strength by far.
We looked like emperors upon the world,
Laughed at the fool who said that it would end,
Ignored the hermit’s word, the snake that coiled
Around the wine cup proferred by a friend.
The blind magician told us death was hard;
We rode the sun until our chariot burned.
The priestess smiled and dealt another card –
The Seven of Swords. The wheel of fortune turned.
The moon looks sadly in the midnight hour
Upon two lovers in a ruined tower.


Notes: The prompt was to write a sonnet. In metre and rhyme scheme this is a Shakespearean sonnet, but doesn’t really have the question and resolution typical of a sonnet. Seven of Cups indicates fantasy and wishful thinking, Seven of Swords betrayal and deception.


2016 Day 22 -Earth’s changelings

“Mother Earth carry me.
A child I will always be”

Earth’s changelings,
Goblin children,
Mouths crammed with sweetmeats
But never satisfied,
Foulers of our own nests,
We shred and destroy
For the joy of destruction,
Torment our gentler siblings
Because we can.
The sound of the river
Is swamped by our voices
Crying “Me! Me! Mine!”
Mother Earth
Has carried us too long.
She will not forgive forever.


Notes: The prompt was to write a poem for Earth Day. The first two lines are taken from the song “The River It Is Flowing”, which has been going through my head all day.

2016 Day 21 – Rambling Bramble

Excuse me if I ramble
But I’m just a simple bramble.
I’ve been hanging round this palace
For a hundred years and more
And it’s really rather boring
When they’re all asleep and snoring
Instead of all the parties
And the fun they had before.
In fact, it started with a party:
The wine was strong, the food was hearty,
The princess was getting christened.
All the kingdom was invited –
All the kingdom save one fairy
And that’s when things got quite hairy.
The band had just struck up a waltz
When Malificent was sighted.
I was just a little twig then,
Wished I was fierce and big then
To protect me from the fury
Of a fairy with a grudge
When she went and put the boot in
I wished I could pull my root in
Away from her size sevens –
I tried, it wouldn’t budge.
For the princess it was worse;
The fairy threw a curse,
Something about a spindle,
Whatever that might mean.
Then she flew off in a huff
While I tried to look quite tough
And things stayed more or less OK
Till the princess turned sixteen.
(Meanwhile I’d done some growing,
My protective thorns were showing
And my leaves were multiplying,
Lush and green and all of that.)
Next thing I know, they’re sleeping
And a magic spell is keeping
Them all preserved and peaceful,
Down to the kitchen cat,
Though I wasn’t affected.
I grew and grew, neglected,
All around the palace
Like a spiked protective wall.
But now this prince is stood there,
He’s up to no good there,
He’s got a sharp sword in his hand
And I don’t like that at all…


Notes: The prompt was to write a poem in the voice of a minor character from a fairy tale or myth.