poem twenty one: cacophony (a found poem)

The humble dreamer, wounded unto death
by elves of a malicious disposition, knew
there was wizardry in it, but did not fear.

She came in through a knot-hole in the wall
in the small village where I was born, sunbeams
bursting through the gloom of the forest

like the songs of Bohemia – I have heard
them singing their fairy songs. Go, and beware:
dance into the next country, the train will soon

be leaving. Memory-fragments cling to me
like a madman, this dizziness resulting in nausea,
thrown off the rails. Don’t try to understand.

Source texts:
Modern Man in Search of a Soul (Chapter I: Dream-Analysis in its Practical Application) by CG Jung
The Forest in Folklore and Mythology (Chapter V: Mythical Denizens) by Alexander Porteous

poem twenty: a change is as good as a rest

Above our heads the
sky in a grey cloak of clouds
reminds us we must come
home to truth. You and
I forget ourselves. I have to go
further all the time, providing
relief from the stretch of days; ‘a
change is as good as a rest’
as they say. And you leave for
good, or so you hope, to see all
the hues of blue in the oceans, the
cluttered galaxy, when I only see the moon
like all the other blinkered viewers.


So this poem is a golden shovel. The form is from the official NaPoWriMo prompt for day five. The ends of all the lines in my poem can be read top to bottom as this haiku by Basho:

The clouds come and go
providing a rest for all
the moon viewers

Also a thanks to Simon over at Adrenalin Ghosts for quoting ‘a change is as good as a rest’ at me on twitter last week. Having that quote fresh in my mind made this poem easier to write, and now it’s also the title.

poem nineteen: unequal bittersweet

the truth of you
overwhelms most
& they need to connect
you to something
already known; this
you do to yourself –
hyperreal discord.
& I have been guilty
but I have seen behind
the mask & the words
& not once have I
looked the other way.


This is based on today’s official NaPoWriMo prompt, and also on things tumbling round inside my head. Apparently ‘unequal bittersweet’ is the name of a seashell. Interesting.

poem eighteen: it couldn’t be

TW: rape, domestic violence


It couldn’t all be climbing on
Nelson’s Column, three inch
heels on my tall black boots,
to sit next to the lions at one AM
and watch a guy roller skating
in Trafalgar Square, while we
smoked off our pints, laughing
eating chips, catching the night bus.

It couldn’t all be like this
when I stopped remembering
how to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’, kept quiet
and let things happen as they fell
because you bought me a mic
and said I must never let
myself go, that I had an image
to maintain, what was I thinking?

It couldn’t all be rock n roll my
love. It couldn’t all be your way
even if it was in your city, even
if the words sliding over my lips
were floating on your tune,
even if you were almost a whole
foot taller than me and what could
I do about it? Say no? Funny.

It couldn’t all be funny, even
though you turned up to the shop
with flowers, looking sheepish, sorry
you’d thrown me around, sorry you’d
said harsh words, mangled the parts
of me you said you loved. No, that
isn’t how it went: you only said ‘sorry’.
You never explained what you meant.


Sorry for the dark waffling stuff, people. Others don’t appear to think about what they’re saying to me and what it might trigger for days after. Poetry is a way through that for me.

poem seventeen: redemption

branches stretch to black
veins across the sky’s blue
skin; I can’t hear the beat
of this word without consequence,
a hidden piece of me shrinking –

knowing there were things
sex & singing couldn’t smooth
away, things pints of beer
wouldn’t wash off, no matter
how many hours passed our way.

maybe it doesn’t exist, a dream
like the words you recycled
for me, maybe it’s a distant
old thing, like stars. redemption.
let it roll & bump off your tongue.


This was a prompt I noted down last year – the word ‘redemption’. What a loaded word. Ancient history, though, when I was younger and dumber.

poem sixteen: following the river exe on a wednesday afternoon

my son is crying because he wants a boat.
he’s very insistent, and I’m suddenly guilty
of filling their heads with my dreams
of riding currents out to sea. so I soothe
him, tap his temples and rub lavender
under his nose, and we walk along this river
awhile. it’s not like our river up north, tamed
for centuries, but wild with purpose –
this river meets the sea like an old lover, fitting
together without a fuss, while the sun turns
the narrow winding roads to glitter and dust.


I like rivers and walking and my kids and stuff, okay? Also pirates.
And yes, if it wasn’t immediately obvious, I’ve been in Exeter & Topsham in Devon for most of this week :)