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A Little Poetry

A little poetry update because I’ve not done one for a while.

Starting with Facebook – I’m posting bits and pieces up there. I’m adding as much as I can do without disqualifying poems from competitions. So if you’d like little snippets of my poems and influences then please do follow along here.

Very excitingly my poem was included in the Ink, Sweat & Tears Webzine which I have been reading for ages. My poem was called ‘The New World’ and was originally a part of the 3RW project. It was in fact one of the original four with the words given to me by my friend Gem. The poem’s all about the old trade routes and how interactions with other cultures influence us. If you don’t already read IS&T I would highly recommend it, lots of interesting voices in there and loads of updates to keep you going back.

Another poem of mine has been included in the Fox Spirit collection, ‘Tales of the Nun & Dragon’ which came out recently. My addition to the group was a poem called “The Hazel and the Hawthorn” which might hint at what it’s about! The title is a quotation from ‘Sir Gawayne and the Green Knight’ and the full quotation reads

The hazel and the hawthorn intermingled were all overgrown with moss, and upon their boughs sat many sad birds that piteously piped for pain of the cold. Gawayne besought the Lord and Mary to guide him to some habitation where he might hear mass.

My poem is all about Gawain and Guinevere and their actions leading up to the Battle of Camlann as well as their choices afterwards. Dragons always make me think of Merlin’s dream of red and white dragon fighting and Guinevere is a very suitable Nun there! I have also always liked the idea that Gawain, Arthur and Guinevere were buried together.

Unlike my IS&T poem, “The Hazel and the Hawthorn” was written especially for the collection. It was a really inspiring idea for me to work on. I always like being given specific topics to write about, and especially if they are an area I enjoy researching. This was perfect for me. And lots of other people too it turns out – I’ve not yet had time to read all of the collection but the stories that I have read are more than worthy of your attention!

I’ve been writing more poetry than usual as well with ideas for a new collection buzzing around my head and some fun submissions as well. I’m a little restricted by not yet having internet at my house but that will hopefully be sorted very soon!



Dark Currents

This morning a very wonderful parcel arrived from Ian Whates and NewCon Press with copies of Dark Currents inside. I’ve been wanting to read this since I first saw the table of contents. And I have a poem in there as well.

Dark Currents is a beautiful collection of shorts available in a limited edition, numbered, hardcover; a paperback and also a Kindle ebook.

Many months ago now, while I was writing my Three Random Words poetry project, I asked Ian for three words and he gave me “resonance, candle, ephemera” from which I wrote a poem called ‘George’. Ian then asked if he could use the poem in Dark Currents and of course I said yes. It is a poem largely about my Great-Uncle George who was killed in a RAF training exercise during World War Two only a few weeks after he was married.

It goes without saying, and I’m saying it anyway, that I am completely thrilled that Ian chose ‘George’ to go into Dark Currents, I couldn’t possibly be in better company. I’ve read previous short stories and novels from many of the authors, including some absolute favourites of mine as well as friends. Several people I have known for a little while (either online or from conventions) and I met Adrian Tchaikovsky just this past weekend (with entertaining conversations about elephants, time-travel and re-writing history to suit Braveheart). Plus, I am a huge fan of Ian’s work both as an editor and as a novelist so any connection to his work makes me very, very happy.

Having been scolded by Emma Jane yesterday I should also apologise for not posting anything about this earlier. I have been stuck right in the middle of house-hunting and absolutely everything else has been pushed to the back of my mind while I got that sorted. For anyone who saw me at Alt.Fiction this weekend you know how stressed out I was (sorry, again). Normal service shall hopefully resume now!

And now I am going to have a tea break and sit down to read an excellent collection of short stories (can you guess what..?)


World Poetry Day #1

Happy World Poetry Day!

If you are new here (hello) you may not know how much I love poetry. Reading it and writing it. One of my favourite things in the world. I adore ideas like World Poetry Day, they make seem a bit odd to some but I think the UNESCO reason for highlighting poetry is valid, poetry engages and makes us think of emotion over politics (how apt today!) and merely the everyday routine. I think that’s worth celebrating.

After I finished my Three Random Words poetry project (and there will be a mini update on that in the next couple of weeks) I spent a good month or so trying to decide what I wanted to work on next. One of my favourite things to do with poetry is find new types of inspiration – such as asking people to give me words to start me off. I toyed with a few ideas, such as writing a poem a day based on an event from history that had happened on that day. In the end I wanted something that would allow me to do some free ideas as well in between.

I chose to write a series of ‘After Poems’ which is not a new idea but something I have wanted to do for a little while. The idea of poems written after another is to take inspiration from a poet you admire and write your own take. My After Poems all keep the same structure as the original poem as well as maintaining the themes they are using. I’ve only written twelve of them so far, it’s quite hard to choose what to write and then I spend a long time looking at the meaning behind the poem. Strangely however, my favourite so far has been one that I chose, researched and wrote in an hour and a half. I don’t keep rhymes in the poems but most of the rest stays.

Today I am going to try and write another, maybe several and I’ll post them here either later on today or tomorrow morning (depending how late I am writing them!). I’ll post one of the ones I have already written in here.

The poem I’ve included here is taken from one of the Crow poems by Ted Hughes which came about because I asked my Twitter friends what their favourite poems/poets were and Damien Walter suggested these. From Crow I chose ‘That Moment‘ because of the interesting structure and also because it has always been a favourite of mine as well. I took the themes of slaughter and loss and took them down from the total destruction that Hughes talks about and made it much more personal, looking at how the loss of one person can be as devastating as many deaths to the people who loved them. I also took Hughes’ idea of looking at both the event and the aftermath during the poem.

My hope is that the poem would work completely as a stand alone but would also have more power and a greater sense of connection and meaning when read alongside Ted Hughes’, far superior piece of work. I hope that ‘The Only Face Left’ shows, if nothing else, how much I admire Hughes’ poetry.

“The Only Face Left”

From ‘That Moment’ by Ted Hughes.

I stare down the barrel towards his masked face
and dial your number
At the end of my life I don’t want to hate

You are the person, your voice I hear
if I can’t
breathe, our silent conversation broken

And I never did call you
And you never did hear me

The killer won’t wait for my regret
as my life is taken
The life I didn’t care for has gone
Useless technology beeps besides me

Your life goes on while mine puddles below me.

Keep your eyes peeled, there will be an update on what I’ve written coming at the absolute latest by this time tomorrow! Have a very happy poetry day everyone (and if you’re in the UK – celebrate the poetry to dull the pain of it also being Budget Day…)


Synthesis, Geek, Horizon, Evocative

Hello from one very tired little poet.
This is it now. The four last poems of my Three Random Word project that started so long ago as a flippant comment to pass some time online.

So, a HUGE thank you to every person who has given me a set of words to write with. The ideas have been amazing, especially with all of the great suggestions from my bookish and crafting friends around the internet. I really appreciate the help. Plus a special thanks to Mark, Wilf, Gemma and Jyoti for the first words which made me want to keep going to 100…

BeaKez gave me “synthesis, turmoil, beguile” to work from:

Exactly halfway into the wood she stops
and looks in all directions
hoping to spot the archetype.
Cut a path through the trees
decisive and clear. She walks
fast towards a toadstool, set
in the earth to beguile her alone.
Invisible hands pushing her feet
and pulling her forwards into
their path. Everything turned
upside down while she looked
for the path back. Clothes a mess
and hair in turmoil the road opened.
She started out with only one idea
although the challenge changed
her and strengthened her –
the synthesis better for
running through the gauntlet.

Mark Chitty kindly gave me “geek, interdimensional, love” to write with:

“Fourth Wall”
Their paths cross each time
the inter-dimensional walls oscillate.
Unable to stay in place
as love pulls them back and forth.
Every life they find the same
place and passion to connect
one world to another.
A specialist. A geek. A fanatic.
One person searching another.
So simple in theory.

Sjhigbee has given me “volute, event, horizon” to use in a poem:

An age of celebration and innovation
each event marked out in stone and
made perfect by many men
for the glory of one man.
Feverishly slaving away to be ready,
as the sun smashed into Rome’s horizon
warming the streets, lighting the
final inscription. No mistakes.
As the last volute is levelled next to
famous names the crowds gather.
To see a history that cannot be changed –
no turning back. Memories protected,
free from the erosion of legends.

My final 3RW poem was inspired by Valerie with the words “meander, dream, evocative”:

Shocked awake by the cold
as a foot wanders over to the
empty side of the bed.
Thoughts meander slowly
as my mind continues to sleep,
while small conscious thoughts
steal in to escape reality.
They run towards the Dream,
the one that I go to sleep for.
Not the same each night
but changing in reflections –
taking the best of the day
with me along into the night.
Images triggered by a long –
lingering scent, evocative
of a shared bright star with
sweeter unheard melodies.

And that’s it! All of the 100+ poems are now done and posted up here. I have sent a bunch of them in a mini-collection off to a competition. I’m now trying to think what to do with them next – most competitions will not accept poems that have been published (even on a blog) and I have no clue at all what I should do with a bunch of utterly random poems. Any suggestions will be gratefully received.

I have now got my next project sorted, but more on that later…

Thank you to everyone who has stayed reading these with me, whether people have read all of them, a few of them, or just one – I have had a wonderful time writing them. I think that the way that I write poetry and think about my ideas has changed for the better with the inspirations I have been given along the way.

I think I might take a day off before I get to work on the next project. Time to read a book. Poetry, perhaps.


Kangaroo, Shoes, Dusted, Volcanic

Once again a fantastically weird mixture of words. There has been a bit of a gap posting these, simply because I forgot to write them. I’m hoping to get the next four written either the end of this week or early next week and that will be it! This is my penultimate set of 3RW poems and is pushing me over the 100 mark, the next few are technically outside the original aim of 100 poems but I made the rules so I can break them…

Hannah from bunsandballs gave me “kangaroo, rose, scrumptious” to work with:

“Nature’s Gifts”
The sky turns rose, flushing
against the red dirt roads.
A man carries his history in his skin –
shoes stepping in footprints to
follow the cross home.
He walks towards the kangaroo
sitting patiently waiting for him,
a signpost to the past.
A meal awaits at the end of the walk.
Fire and water combine to make
scrumptious gourmet feasts.
The people surround and support,
surpassing the food as cities grow
from the ground up,
leaving behind trees in cages at their heart.
Looking hard he can see where it all came from
hints in people’s faces, movements and words.

Jemima gave me “faraway, shoes, Guadalajara” to write a poem with:

“Distant Miracle”
She had waited a lifetime or two
to visit the cathedral in Guadalajara.
From the first time that her Innocent
eyes found the faraway spires on a postcard
she promised herself a visit.
As a girl she dreamt of the saints,
the altars and the sacraments
but she finally entered as an old woman,
tired, wearing re-heeled shoes.
It’s architects rebuilt her as she sat and prayed.

Zoe from BlessedBeeApothecary gave me “yesteryears, dusted, picked” to use:

Treasures picked out of
a wardrobe from yesteryears,
dusted memories.

East Coast Photo on Etsy gave me “terse, volcanic, free” to write with:

“Filigree Wings”
A pendant of volcanic glass,
as clear as her eyes is handed
over at first light.
A birthday gift to be treasured,
and then passed on again.
A terse note held within its structure,
written out by the earth and
committed by the heat.
It allows her to be free,
to think whatever she pleases
held down by no one, not even
the one who gave it to her;
while she carries the note by
her heart pulsing with her pulse.

That’s all for today, the final batch will be on their way soon!