poems

Shush owls

where the rocks crash

where the shush owls

turn the lights off

swoop, frothover calls

 

throaty and distraught

no starboard lighthouse

green glass and sheet metal

black box never found

 

where the waves grind

behind old bedposts

ancient lamps move

inexorable warmth, breath

 

This poem was inspired by a beautiful and strange poem my good friend Joh from Milk and Motherhood sent me on a postcard once.

I also finally had the chance to use the “shush owls” phrase I was so taken by in one of the NaPoWriMo poems by Kevin J O’Conner

Thankyou both

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

Woof

I’d like to get a brown and white dog
a dog-dog
with a pointy nose, not too sharp
triangle ears. No, floppy ears
like a spaniel
or terrier
maybe a black and white dog
not too shaggy
or a smooth-toffee Weimaraner
but you pay an arm and a
leg for those
a short-hair mutt
good with children
likes to run
not too energetic
must enjoy lazy afternoons
watching How To Train Your Dragon
medium-sized
a smart dog who
only barks happily
jumping in the waves
or defensively
when the situation is grave
and if the kids fall in a hole
“What’s that Skip? The old quarry? I’ll be right away!”
OK
that was a kangaroo.
A handsome dog. A nice dog
not Lassie, or Timmy or The Littlest Hobo or Flipper… oh
that was a dolphin.
The right dog
a dog-dog. A dog…
woof

 

Today’s prompt: write a poem about an animal

Photo: Photo by Catherine Heath on Unsplash

I turn my camera on

Look without words
simply observe
click
it’s not perfect
take five shots, one hundred
lucky
it’s not drinks
my eyes become
photo scouts, seeing
colours and depth of field where
before
it was merely
the world

 

Today’s challenge was to write a poem that engages with another art form. I have been getting back into photography lately and really enjoying it! The poem title is stolen from the awesome song of the same name by Spoon https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94IMfEvXtl0

Photo: Claire Doble

Lost summer

Never been so sad to smell the blossoms of spring

and I ache as the blue-white light of morning gapes across the sky

stretching, yawning, already weary and soft-boiled eggshell cracked

thinking of long hot days to come, the fatigue of grass

that steam of green in the stalks and the buzz

the singing, ringing zing of high season and deepest cornflower blue horizons

my cheeks cool in the 7am, useless, yearning for the summer I’ll miss

a loss, pre-thought onslaught of grief, mess of relief

hard to believe those blooms will burst and shine and shrivel

music washing, bright splashes sloshing of chlorine, kids scream

not me, I won’t be here this time, my life splintering

and the perfect pale of latent April air swirls round

faint scent of airline fuel inches consciousness to stay

promise me, please – desperate bargain I’ll betray

dreams stillborn, nascent, can’t beg more time, it’s racing

sands have slipped beneath and the sun will snap and break

my heart, my heart, what depths of sorrow exist in bright never-tomorrows

shimmer perfect, absent-death preserves a chimera of not to be

 

Today’s GloPoWriMo prompt to write an elegy, one in which the abstraction of sadness is communicated not through abstract words, but physical detail. 

Recording: https://soundcloud.com/user-808707280/lost-summer

Memory Car

when you drive it, memories come out

memories

of the memory car

the memory car has got a switch that can turn it on and off

do you know what it can go?

very fast!

there also is a backseat

for you

it’s so big

for you to get in

you can’t open the door

if you want to get in

because there is no door

we have to jump into the memory car

do you know what the memory car is?

it’s so long

do you know what it’s got?

a fire top

do you know where the memories all go?

out the roof

and like a pink one lands in my hand

can you drive it?

 

This was the Day 13 prompt (yesterday) to write about something that is mysterious and spooky in a bad way (like a witch), or mysterious and spooky in a good way (possibly also like a witch? It depends on the witch, I guess!) Or just the everyday, mysterious, spooky quality of being alive. This was a “found poem” taken mostly verbatim from something my four-year-old was telling me.

Clippers

It is not a dull thing

but a sharp thing

a handy little tool

if mundane

did you know

people used to burn

fingernail parings and hair

from a brush or comb

because they had fires

and to prevent witchcraft

being done

we don’t have open grates now

nor such fear of spells

you might still want to prevent, say, Google

from getting your DNA on file, oh

they probably have it already

and the name of your first pet

but prior to this poem

they didn’t know

I had these

at home

 

Today’s prompt was to write a poem about a dull thing that you own, and why (and how) you love it. Not sure if I covered the love bit – but I use my nail clippers a lot! 🙂  I skipped a couple of days due to extreme busyness but I’m back.

Photo: Claire Doble

Mangrove

There is a heart-place

Of mangroves and oyster rocks

Sei Shonagon, Megan Willcox

Soft, quiet hollows of sand, like the scoops of a hip

A headland, like Scotland

All green and black

Where the sea rushes in

And sucks right back

Is a Beowulf Boudicca

Lurking deep

Below slimy kelp

dry salt smell in the heat

I’m afraid

If I go…

It might…

Disappear

Will it flip, mind twisting, turning, running, burning

Tunnel clear

Back here?

A forest path

Gravel and soft brown

Pineneedles where a

Russian scarf

Drapes, disintegrating down

A secret house

Forest sprites,

Where?

Do they come out at night?

Another heart-place for me

On the other side, through the trees

Today’s prompt/challenge was to write a Sei Shonagon-style list of “things.” What things? Well, that’s for you to decide! I remembered a work colleague and how we were so into Sei Shonagon for a while. Then I thought of faraway places in the heart that make it beat faster. The place I often thought of as a refuge/ happy place is where I’m soon going to be moving to. So I’m wondering if I’ll have to invert that once I get there, and imagine myself back in Switzerland instead!

Photo: Claire Doble

Look ahead

I am giving myself this gift

every day,

think back

sit in memories

as a child

bright dreamer with

quick perceptions

different ideas

the girl who held

secret worlds

in her head

rich and strange

anticipate

could not explain

or share

only a mother would

tamp them down with care

fear

from love,

to protect

a small one’s delicate

intellect

in a bigbadwolf, uncaring world

just

realised

one day

do not have

to listen

to all they say

some things are merely

manifestations

of their afraid

and not for ears

to hear

oh

I should reach for the stars

Anyway

so maybe

a soothing

a rebellion

a way to live apart

became

a river, turned to flood

when it’s gone, and drained away

left varnish cracked

after years of wear

and hot breath

stripped back

raw

dead skin, was thick with dread

protect / pierce

to show

the gleam instead

of all those forgotten worlds

revealed

thoughts, light, streams,

ahead

 

This is a long, rambly poem that is a casualty of not enough time and too much in my head today! The prompt was: to write a poem of gifts and joy. What would you give yourself, if you could have anything? What would you give someone else? Oddly, this is quite appropriate to most of my activities today. Too busy “doing” not enough time for “poeming” – that is probably a good thing sometimes though.

I loved this photo I took this morning. By me!

Possibilities

 

See all those windows

I’ll never look out of

the way the rain stains

concrete like a tidemark

dispersed landocean

of sweetwater

a heartbeat, monitored

spikes and stalactites

mountains in the distance

that won’t be climbed again

if ever they once were

and fat fulsome blossoms

like cheeks stuffed with popcorn

springtime possibility,

impossibly lush

too wonderful to last

 

Today’s prompt: to write a poem of the possible. A a poem that emphasizes the power of “if,” of the woulds and coulds and shoulds of the world.

Photo by Uriel Soberanes on Unsplash

Wired silence

 

I’m wired for sound

reading books from a supplier named for the rainforest we’re destroying, a queasy joke like

enjoy the silence

 

these days I read mostly e-books (same supplier, same quease) and my music is stored

elsewhere, while shelves sit full of dusting jewel cases, oh! that sounds more precious than MP3s

I’m wired for sound

 

can’t listen when I’m writing, so many hours of

words falling quiet through my fingers, thudding soft into keyboard squares; sometimes my thoughts pause –

enjoy the silence

 

composing lines in my head on the morning tram, smells aggressively of RedBull and cigarettes

produced by twitchy men I protect myself from with cheap headphones, thank goodness

I’m wired for sound

 

sometimes when I can’t fall asleep from stress, I try the meditation app,

she says soothingly ‘simply notice sounds around you’ but it’s 22.47 in Zurich, Oerlikon

enjoy the silence

 

I run away from my life, I run into my life, I run into the forest

and there is my life waiting for me underneath my legs my two feet keep going, one in front of the other, and it’s music I’ve found

I’m wired for sound

to enjoy the silence

 

 

 

Today’s GloPoWriMo Day 5 challenge was a difficult one. But I love the challenges! To write a poem that incorporates at least one of the following: (1) the villanelle form, (2) lines taken from an outside text, and/or (3) phrases that oppose each other in some way. If you can use two elements, great – and if you can do all three, wow!

I managed this using “Wired for Sound” (originally Cliff Richard but I’m thinking of the Bi(f)tek version) and “Enjoy the Silence” by Depeche Mode.

I have to give an extra shout-out to Napowrimo for putting me on to this incredible mashup by poet Kyle Dargan of the Lord’s Prayer with Grandmaster Flash’s “the Message” – wow!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fjzaGqGqkMY

Photo by Sai Kiran Anagani on Unsplash