Home again

My post-London tea stash


In shower
Mixes with tears
Wash them all away

Once again
Messed my mind
It’s always a bittersweet

You can never go home again yet I am here


Today’s GloPoWriMo prompt was to write a double elevenie. What’s that? Well, an elevenie is an eleven-word poem of five lines, with each line performing a specific task in the poem. The first line is one word, a noun. The second line is two words that explain what the noun in the first line does, the third line explains where the noun is in three words, the fourth line provides further explanation in four words, and the fifth line concludes with one word that sums up the feeling or result of the first line’s noun being what it is and where it is. There are some good examples in the link above. A double elevenie would have two stanzas of five lines each, and twenty-two words in all.

I’m not sure I did this right – is a proper noun OK? Oh well.. Plus, it seemed weird to not add an extra line, since it’s “day 23” of GloPoWriMo, so I did. :0

The Cynical Supermarket of Ethical Superbrands

Welcome to Ethical SuperMegamart

buy a jar of organic Conscience-Ease

bring your own cotton bag

much easier for dump pickers to use

request a knobbly carrot

love its ugly

but purchase some eco-friendly skin care

so you yourself don’t get craggy

at the counter

offset your food miles with


today there’s a special offer on

moral superiority!

no added chemicals

except those that make up every single—

no nasties, we mean, of course

don’t be so cynical!

no antibiotics in the meat or veg, because…

superbugs and… vaccines?

oh, don’t even go there

it’s scientifically proven

to do what it says

that’s good, you’ve assuaged

my confirmation bias


all these ethical choices

sold by the pound

worry alleviation

in one convenient location


Today’s GloPoWriMo prompt was to write a georgic in honour of Earth Day. Your Georgic could be a simple set of instructions on how to grow or care for something, but it could also incorporate larger themes as to how land should be used (or not used), or for what purposes.


In the middle of love


in the middle of love

in the middle of life

in the middle of London

what am I to do?

I could do a fuck-lot worse

than being



the middle

with you


We are in London for a dear friend’s wedding … Prompt:  Because we’re halfway through NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that reflects on the nature of being in the middle of something. The poem could be about being on a journey and stopping for a break, or the gap between something half-done and all-done. 




Oh the mixed-up emotions of being back in London

Knowing you never ever can win London


At first it seems like a dream of English perfection

But then, you’ve always been good at spin, London


Your welcoming arms mask impervious charms

And they say everyone living here’s kin, London


How many folks when they dream of a place

Immediately go off and pin London?


Grimy streets and houses, all the same old shops

And you really could use some more bins London


But then there’s that energy, heady and strong

Delicious dens of vice, carousing and sin London


I may have moved on, but your pull is still strong

Feel you under my skin to chagrin, London


And yet I D-Claire, again I am here

Dirty-pretty auld town you’re a djinn, London


Today’s prompt was to write a ghazal. The form was originally developed in Arabic and Persian poetry, but has become increasingly used in English, after being popularized by poets including Agha Shahid Ali. A ghazal is formed of couplets, each of which is its own complete statement. Both lines of the first couplet end with the same phrae or end-word, and that end-word is also repeated at the end of each couplet. If you’re really feeling inspired, you can also attempt to incorporate internal rhymes and a reference to your own name in the final couplet. 

This is my first-ever ghazal 🙂 




Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Skirt


1. The only decent thing you own. Can be appropriate for almost any occasion

2. A uniform. A way to disappear

3. Coveted. Searched for high and low. Discovered. Too expensive. Maybe next month

4. Too short. She was asking for it

5. Jean Paul Gaultier – skirts for men – catwalk excitement

6. Heat. A dragon’s breath-waft of warm air trapped in a dark cave of material

7. An ocean at night that froths and surges around my legs as I walk

8. A long velvet one. On a day when everyone else looks summery

9. Flapping on the clothesline. Inside out. Slashed lining. On purpose?

10. Last time I wore this… oh

11. An old friend. I am most myself in it. Even more so than if naked. Cannot imagine life without

12. The witch in a fairy tale. Maybe she is secretly the heroine

13. Hides the dirt. There’s a lot… I never wash it… If skirts could talk


Today’s GloPoWriMo prompt was  to write a poem that looks at the same thing from various points of view. The most famous poem of this type is probably Wallace Stevens’ “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird”. Mine is a slightly tongue-in-cheek take on Stevens’ far more sophisticated poem!  Aaaannd we’re back to the goth theme 🙂


Photo: Lyn Doble


Am Sonntig isch min Geburtstag

Mami hasht du die unter dem Wasser Kuchen machen?

Min Oma und Opa khommen

Sie sind hier die ganze Woche


Wenn du weiter khom vom die Balet Schule

Khanst du der Kuchen machen, bittte?

Und weis muss in die unter dem Wasser

Mehr Fisch und Tiere haben – das isht alles


Wait I forgot something mummy


Am Sonntag bekomme mich geschenk!


It’s your last day of being four

And the final day of daily poems

I’m not a not-poet anymore

And you’re a proper schoolboy


I’ll be making you a special cake

We’ll enjoy it with Nana and Pop

Underwater theme once it’s baked

Couldn’t love you more my darling


And don’t worry, there will be presents.


Today’s National/Global Poetry Writing Month prompt/challenge: Because Napowrimo spent the month looking at poets in English translation, today I’d like you to try your hand at a translation of your own.

I was a bit sad not to write my “own” poem for the final day so I decided to ask my son to compose one in Schweizerdeutsch, for which I’ve provided a loose translation  🙂  

Thanks to everyone who’s read my poems throughout April (whether it was one, several or all 30!). I’ve so enjoyed this month of poetry and I’m pretty chuffed I managed to achieved this, but I’m also somewhat relieved to have finished so I can take a small break to do other things! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a cake to bake… 

Diving board

Photo: Markus Spiske

Photo: Markus Spiske


I remember jumping off the high diving board

Even climbing up there was kinda scary

The ladder smooth, shinysilver and solid yet somehow light and insubstantial like it was only a few degrees stronger than aluminium foil

Each step stippled with cheesegrater-style divots (not sharp)

The texture of the board: fine sandpaper, grainy, grippy, damp

The colour of the board: light blue

You knew what it looked like from below too – the simple framework of parallel lines, scalloped with rows of water drops

Climbing back down was not an option

Or rather, it was

But how clumsy you’d feel – an inversion of the natural order

Chest flooding with relief for one glorious moment before the tincture of stupid disappointment taints you, everyone can see it

But I was remembering jumping off!

Standing up there, the insubstantial board underneath you, nothing either side

An almost out-of-body sense of how small you looked. How small you actually were

I guess I was around nine or ten?

It’s quiet up there, although you can hear everything

The blue hum and splash of the municipal swim centre

Coaches below blow whistles over the lanes and call out “now six laps freestyle”

Above, on the high board, is your own little world

You’re a soloist; centre-stage

but no one’s watching, not really

OK – maybe that kid over there. No, he’s looked away.

You glance back to your brother, waiting his turn, shivering at the top of the ladder. “Go On!”

Warm flumes of chlorine fumes wafting around

A mysterious coldish breeze on your wet legs

So you jump and faaaallllll

The feeling of your body hurtling down through the air

It would pull your arms out unless you held them really firm by your sides or above your head

Airborne for only a few moments

Not especially graceful

Smacking into the water, feet first

Spa-effect of blue and white bubbles as you plunge down

No way would you hit the bottom

That diving pool was really deep

10 metres?

(The bottom of the pool angled steeply down from the lanes section

You could swim down and follow the slope – the water becoming deeper blue

I remember one time two guys in scuba gear sat on the bottom corner of the diving pool for a game of underwater chess

A stunt I guess. It was long before Youtube. But I digress…)

I did it, I jumped off that high board. And so did my brother James.

And now I see those same kids as us jumping of the high board at our local pool

They’re Swiss kids but it’s the same

One day my sons will want to do it too

They’ll know that fear-churned-with-excitement

And find out how it feels to climb the ladder and screw up your courage and walk out there and it seems so much higher than when you look up from pool level, oh-oh

How it feels to fall through the air and crack through that smooth palette of blue water

No way would they hit the bottom

And the sense of achievement: not maybe as amazing as you’d think, but you’ve done it

Perhaps one of them will ask me if I want jump too, or if I ever did? And I’ll say sure…

I remember


Today’s National/Global Poetry Writing Month prompt/challenge was to write a poem based on things you remember. Try to focus on specific details, and don’t worry about whether the memories are of important events, or are connected to each other. 

Drooping feathers


Stumbling at the final hurdle

Counting up all the burdens

Blessings float, unworthy of note

The youthful optimism of snails

Crushed underfoot by serious travails

Humour drowned, an anxious frown

Collections of words that fell like feathers

Perfect, clever, intricate, together

Raw skin, plucked painfully from within

No more quicksilver wins

headline: Tawdry End Breaks Promise Of Good Begin


Today’s National/Global Poetry Writing Month prompt/challenge was to write a poem that tells a story. But here’s the twist – the story should be told backwards. The first line should say what happened last, and work its way through the past until you get to the beginning. Not sure I got this one right. I’ve got too much on my plate at the moment and the poetry is suffering  😦

The long road to a short word

Soviet era abstinence poster (1954). Pic via



Could we maybe try this another time, I’m very busy right now

I would love to but I’ve double-booked and I did say yes to them first

I’m afraid I don’t think I can really manage to do it sorry

Isn’t there someone else who could help you? This comes at an awkward time

Sorry but we made other plans already, we’ll be at the next one

Maybe if I’d had a bit more notice but there’s nothing I can do

Superb idea but I don’t have that kind of cash lying around

How about if we postpone until we’ve both got more headspace OK?

Why would you assume I can just drop everything to help you out?

A thousand apologies I forgot and now something’s come up

Well, I’m not really qualified and what if something were to go wrong…

Trying to be healthy, taking a little break, grabbing some me-time

It’s not you it’s me but maybe we can work things out and try friendship?

There are more important things I’d frankly rather be doing, thank-you

You didn’t fucking ask me properly and now you dump this on me

Perhaps it would be better if I didn’t come, I’m not feeling great

Can’t, won’t, don’t, shouldn’t, couldn’t, wouldn’t, broken, awful, why me, fuckit



Today’s National/Global Poetry Writing Month prompt/challenge was to write a poem with very long lines. This prompt was inspired the work of the Irish poet Ciaran Carson, who has stated that his lines are (partly) based on the seventeen syllables of the haiku, and that he strives to achieve the clarity of the haiku in each line. Because I’m a sucker for punishment, I’ve gone for 17 lines of 17 syllables each (plus the final one – what a relief!)

Stars and Stripes



The place where it all happens

Oh America, Oh

Or until it does, it doesn’t matter

Oh America, Oh

Home of the internet, land of the free*

Oh America, Oh 

(*offer, first month only)

Where a double-amputee becomes a mermaid and is “sexy”

Oh America, Oh

Where breasts are revered, but not for nursing

Oh America, Oh

And maternity leave leaves mothers cursing

D’oh America, d’oh

Your corporate culture spoiled two of our jobs

Oh America, Oh

Yet we still pander to the US mob

Oh America, Oh

(if I publish this after 6, I’ll get more hits!)

Good morning America, Oh

I grimace at your fears re: Trump

No America, please no

Coz Down Under we had our onion eater – first for once!

Oh Australia, Oh

Of course there’s so much good stuff too

Oh America, Oh

Hamburgers, ice cream – but not just food

Go America, go

A place I’ve been, can’t claim to know

Oh America, Oh

But New York was just how I hoped

Oh America, Oh

Manhattan fire escapes like a Friends set

Oh America, Oh

So many sights I’ll not forget

Oh America, Oh

Houses like Sweet Valley High, upstate NY

Oh America, Oh

And the way the girls said “a dime”

Oh America, Oh

A friend at Coachella saw Gunners live

Oh America, Oh

Of course I’ve also watched The Wire

Woah America, woah

So I’ve seen how it is on the dark side a’right?

Oh America, Oh

And the backdrop of American cities

Oh America, Oh

Buried in my mind, like false memories

Oh America, Oh

Awards for everything under the sky

Oh America, Oh

If you do something great, seems you’d really fly

Oh America, Oh

Then again, it also seems easier to die

Oh America, Oh

When the Twin Towers define our lives

Woe America, woe

And all those Wall Street crises

Oh America, Oh

Are the ambitions of America a lie?

Oh America, Oh

Where self-help’s a religion

Oh America, Oh

And Meg Ryan the patron saint of rom-com

Oh America, Oh, Ohh Ohhhh Ohh!

Selling us that love affair

Oh America, Oh

Sell, sell, sell everywhere

Oh America, Oh

The arrogance of all that arable land

Sow America, sow

Does something to you, I understand

Oh America, Oh

I’ve seen it in Australia, and Russia too

Хорошо, America, Хорошо

Seems no matter what y’all do

Oh America, Oh

Oh America, there’s no getting around you



Today’s National/Global Poetry Writing Month prompt/challenge was to write a poem that incorporates a call and response.