April 21, 2013

The owl generator - NaPoWriMo Poem 11 (prompt - write a poem that includes five words from the NaPoWriMo.net list for day 20)

The owl generator absconded.

Upwind, a squandered clove

miraculously given to a dunderhead

by a cyclops, grew, like a willow.


The owl generator was mercurial.

One day, demanding seaweed,

mind in the gutter, refusing

to generate its owls. The next?


Its abilities were nonpareil.

An artillery of owls flew out

like salt from a cellar, curling into the air

owl egos with their rodomontade.


The owl generator is elusive, now

since its disappearance (twice),

its a ghost of its former self. It sulks

eats cheese, and generates cowbirds.


I want to feed it truffles, help it

to become less svelte. We’d escape

to Quahog, but by aeroplane:

sea travel makes it billious.

(I used all of the words instead of five, and wrote something of a nonsense poem).

April 21, 2013

One amazing pie - NaPoWriMo Poem 10 (no prompt)

I shape the crust from plain flour

a microwaved lump of butter or marg

plonked into the bowl, flaked with my fingers,

seasoned, a bit of iced water and it coagulates.


Rolled out, again, again, thinned and spread

thinned and spread again, again, flour snowing

from a sieve to the table, the rolling pin, the dough; 

the base sits in the tin, the top awaiting instructions. 


What goes in it? Potatoes, peeled, boiled,

quartered, squashed. Gravy, a real effort.

Stock boiled down from bones, from old veg

cornflour added, stirred with care over heat.


I chuck in some meat if I’ve some,

chop a carrot, lob it all in, then the top, lowered

carefully, to cover the filling, and pinched

around the sides. Glazed with milk.


It cooks. While it cooks, I push up my sleeves

run a sink of suds, wash the pots, the crocks

the props, the trickster tells, so that all you see

is one amazing pie, piece of cake.

April 21, 2013

The kind of kind - NaPoWriMo Poem 8 (prompt: write a personal ad)

The kind of kind


Loud with a laugh like a badly plumbed pipe,

chubby with a grab of plump, podgy flesh,

opinionated cause-caring single

Mum of one, seeks lady, or chap, for love.


I like slow walks round the park (don’t we all?),

Doctor Who from black and white until now,

lounging around in ridiculous frocks

reading long poems aloud to the cats.


And you? You will be, above all else, kind:

the kind of kind that knows when not to tell

the obvious joke that presents itself.

The rest, as they say, is all up to you.

April 19, 2013

Pairing - NaPoWriMo Poem 7 (prompt: write a poem starting and ending in and)



and if I find one more odd sock lying around 

you never pair them and then you lose them 

and it’s me who has to pair them you never


and you, you never make an effort these days

you turned up to meet me in my worn jumper

and my mates must have thought what must they have thought


and I’m sick of you going out and you never come back

when you say, I wait, window open, watching the trees

sway, I think, he’s dead, and your phone’s never on


and you always laugh too loud, like an animal

a blush crawls up my face from my neck and 

that’s why I say, use your indoor voice, for the love of


and you always put me down with a quip, a joke,

in front of your friends, family, they laugh, I am shrunk

I am the joke and it is their braying that stings


and you eat too much, our landlord won’t allow us

to renovate the flat for the mobility cart you’ll need

if you keep expanding, like a dying star before it shrinks


and you’re not my dad, you’re not meant to treat me

like a child, you wouldn’t treat a child like this, you wouldn’t 

widen your mouth and let your bright red shouts out


this all started with socks, I’m not pairing my socks, I’ve never

paired my socks, I’m not starting now. You want me to 

do everything, and more besides, and then, and

April 19, 2013   1 note

Infect - NaPoWriMo poem six - no prompt

Bread rises. Juice becomes wine,

beer, cider, bubbling dirtily in its barrel.

Yoghurts live, promising to be good. 

Marmite delights or causes dislike

with shrivelled-by-salt extracts of yeast. 

And I walk with a wrinkled up nose 

and a pained gait, until it goes.

April 16, 2013

Clean sheets: NaPoWriMo poem 5, no prompt

Pegging out my boyfriend’s shirts I felt the cotton

of one of them smooth in my fingers

and remembered the sheets you and I bought;

Egyptian cotton, white, a bugger to iron.


I’d iron them in our bedroom upstairs

you’d be watching re-runs of something downstairs

I’d take my time, respraying them with water

and going heavy on the starch, the scent lingering.


I got pregnant on those sheets. You, duty done

would go straight back downstairs as I propped my hips up

on a pillow, encased in cotton, staring

at the white ceiling. Each night for just three weeks.


When I left you kept them, those best sheets;

I took the tatty ones that I’d brought with me

from my girlhood bedroom, and gave them a new home

a basic, sensible mattress, where I slept alone or with our son.


The wind is busy today and has already dried

the shirts my boyfriend tells me he doesn’t leave

for me to wash, he’s not that kind of man, he wouldn’t

expect that of me. I unpeg them and bring them inside.

April 15, 2013

Kites - NaPoWriMo poem 4 (no prompt)



This weather still has an edge to it

the wind in my hand feels soft and warm

but the lobes of my ears are still cut

with cold like paper.


I taught my son to make a paper plane.

His fingers fudged the folds; his face sank

when it wouldn’t fly. I took it off him

a quick pinch and a smooth and it went.


At the top of the park the wind was everywhere.

Last year, kite fliers had harnessed it.

Now, empty, because of the cold. “Next time

we’ll bring your kite.” Next time.

April 15, 2013

NaPoWriMo - catch up and update

I’m dreadfully behind on NaPoWriMo. And other things, too, but the poem a day is the thing that’ll be hardest to catch up with.

I dithered this morning as to whether to abandon the project all together but decided that no, I shan’t; instead, I’ll write two poems a day for the rest of the month (or, you know, whatever is needed).

I love doing the NaPoWriMo prompts, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to catch up with the prompts I’ve missed, so with that in mind, I’ll start doing the current prompts, but for the catch-up poem, I’ll write one without a prompt, unless I’m really, really stuck!

April 4, 2013   1 note

Sea shanty (NaPoWriMo poem 3. Prompt: write a sea shanty)

Oh, the gulls make a noise like kaw, kaw, kaw

and the salt makes my dry hands sore, sore, sore

and the sound of the sea goes from shush to roar

in the time the sail falls to the scrubbed deck floor. 


Oh, my hands might burn on the rope, rope, rope

and at times I curse “I can’t cope, cope, cope” 

but there’s no time to consider, no time to mope

when your life’s in the hands of the crew, and hope. 


So let’s sail from the east to the west, west, west

and let pride push your heart through your chest, chest, chest

for we’re the Mersey Ferries crew, and God knows we’re the best!

(I made up the bit about us scrubbing decks, and the rest.)

April 2, 2013

Lies to children (NaPoWriMo poem 2. Prompt: Lies)

Lies to Children

There are only five senses (you reach

your hand up to mine and I stretch

my arm down and neither of us looks, but

touching occurs, that expected shock).


You can be anything you want to be

(my perished pockets won’t contain

the coins for you to be a university student;

also, you can’t be a king or a god).


I will always love you (one day my heart

will stop, and my ashes floating on the tension

of the the Mersey will be incapable of feelings

or verbs). I will, I promise it, always.