poem twenty-three: a shakespearean sonnet for shakespeare day

23 April is when we celebrate Shakespeare’s birth and death (he likely died on his own birthday).

So in keeping with wishing everyone a Happy Shakespeare Day, this is (once again – see Day 9) a really bad Shakespearean sonnet, this time about my relationship with Shakespeare’s work. It feels like this poem should end on a winky face emoticon, if I’m honest. But there it is.


In high school English class, back in the States
We all read Romeo and Juliet.
Though now it’s not a story to my taste,
Back then it was the best thing I’d read yet.

One teacher asked, when I was five or six,
Had I heard about The Taming of the Shrew?
Because at every turn I would insist
“Don’t call me Kate! It’s Katherine to you!”

Then I grew up and moved across the ocean
To England, Shakespeare’s noble place of birth.
Whilst working in a book shop down in London
I found more worlds of tragedy and mirth.

For decades now the words have gifted treasure
To this girl – little, but fierce – measure for measure.


poem twenty-two: sitting

This poem is from a prompt found here, to write a poem without adjectives. A good exercise, if I do say so myself, as on our creative writing course we are often reminded that nouns and verbs are more important in a poem than adjectives.

Also yesterday evening was … yellow … in Sheffield. I chose to describe this without adjectives. I think I managed it.


Sit, sit. Settle your backside
on a cushion the colour
of plums, and cross your legs.
Breathe in air from this room
full of sunlight shining through
clouds like lemonade.
It is evening. It is spring.
Breathe. Sit.
Sit in the air, breathe in the light.

poem twenty-one: the squirrel kicker (a poem based on a lie)

So I’m playing catch-up today – Sunday, Monday and Tuesday’s poems all in one day! But not all in one post.

This was a NaPoWriMo prompt earlier this month, I think, but I’ve used it by accident – a poem based on a lie. On Sunday, the Pete took us out for dinner at a pub, and during conversation I said someone kicked squirrels. I’d had a few glasses of wine. The adults present knew I was messing about, and I thought my sons did as well, but the kids asked me to clarify the next day.

So to clarify: I don’t know anyone who kicks squirrels, and I never have. (No squirrels were harmed in the writing of this piece.)


Oh yes, he’s awful. Really terrible.
Why? Because he kicks squirrels!
I’ve seen him do it. They call him
“the squirrel kicker”, and sometimes
if there are no squirrels, he spits
balls of paper at toddlers, through
a straw, when their mums aren’t looking,
so they scrunch up their faces and cry.
At other times he sticks his tongue
out at crows and magpies.

He’s that horrible.
So, I stay away from him!

But yes, what was the question?
Would I like another glass of wine?

poem twenty: targets

This is Day 20 written on Day 21 (playing catch up again!), using the actual NaPoWriMo prompt for Day 20. I used five of the words on the list, and the resulting poem went travelling to the edge of surreal again.


I align myself
with your broken
artillery, squandering
ammunition saved

for me on your target:
a willowy decoy
I planted to trick you.
Still the taste of her

lives inside your skull,
a saline truffle
you roll along your lips
and tongue.

Load the bullets, peer
through the sight:
fire, fire, fire –
chase the elusive
into the light.

“poem” nineteen: a “translation” poem

Well. I’ve used the Day 16 NaPoWriMo prompt for Day 19 (this is approximately how long it takes me to see the prompts: three days), and I can safely say the following is NOT much of a poem …

It was, however, an interesting exercise in stretching my vocabulary, and oddly enough, will definitely be one or more real poems one day. Some amazing images came to mind writing this.

I used this poem by Marijana Radmilovic as a guide, and allowed my right brain to “translate” the shapes of the Croatian words into similar shaped English ones.

Good luck reading this one, ladies and gents …


Necklace-like opportunity, poverty boils you,
skidding body to body, the malachite or topaz agenda.
Anime koi spare others from the video,
the necromancers secrete spells viscerally,
the cream of the government – same as sorbet.
She smokes crayfish at a nice price
now anime koi ostracise naked cement dubstep
with useless gloves, tattered cement in Gucci;
pigeons nap in a nest.
A City cement impostor procures sorbet
rejected by tureens of rice, tortillas –
inane is the progressive smog of amnesia.
The ultimate zealot tamed a nasty ostentatious alcoholic,
seated on a lily-pad the immovable magnitude of paprika, scenes and radicals.
You love me with tentacles moving the same as static innovation.
My zazen nemesis with jedi drugs vibrates vice.

poem seventeen and poem eighteen: two haiku (again!)

NaPoWriMo and I aren’t in sync at all this week. The kids are back in school, and I’ve gone back to uni. So here are some haiku. Again. (I kind of knew this would happen several times this month.)


Wednesday evening

She scratches behind
Her ear – little zen cat’s back.
Balance then and now.

Thursday, 5:30am

Distant traffic sings,
Trees rumble with percussion:
Music before light.

poem sixteen: movement

Your body slides
with the sunlight
between shadows,
as your mind sits
with the suffering of others.
Carry less, wear less –
gratitude for the weather,
the simplest of things.

All excess shed,
shredded like an old
photograph of someone
you forgot
you could ever
have loved, in the end.

But you never
forget how to love.