Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Day Thirty- one


Just had the most glorious weekend camping with dear old friends and my own dear family. Not much time for writing - but plenty for drinking, singing, fire sitting, eating, laughing and loving. It signified in a symbolic way the end of the summer for me and the return to school. There is a change a foot for my 11 year old son as he is off to big school and this one is for him.

Second Son

The map on my belly
tells me he's here. Relief lines
of our ordnance
survey. This
ribbon I wove round
family made loose
this night by
my growing boy.
Stood tall on
the eve of his
gentile bar mitzvah.
No Torah for him just a
stripey new shirt and
black nylon trousers
to boot.
But this is holy, of that
there can be little doubt.
No fear, no rabbi
to bless him -
For blessed he is

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Day Twenty-six


Going straight into metaphor tonight because I've been writing a feature all day and need to work with shadows for a while. Prizes if you tell me what it's about?!

Shadows and Fog

Sometimes I want to catch
it - that butterfly behind the glass.
Too fragile to really grasp it but
too frightened to let it pass.
That train that travels in the
night. That sound that
comforts while I sleep.

Sometimes I can't stand that wail - that slices
through the night. The whistle, ghosts and
shadows seem to taunt and tease - foresee.
But I am blind to other,
wet behind the ears.

And then I remind myself - I don't need
to hold on tight. If I let go, go with it - the
day can kill the night.

Then it washes like the surf on
a sunny August day. And nothing can
stop the feeling of swelling in
my chest. The fog clears, shadows
fly and here I am - cut open and
brazen to my bones.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Day Twenty-Four

Beach Day

Spent a wonderful day at the beach today. A beautiful unspoiled beach in Devon, Gara Rock - and one that we haven't been to for a while. Can't think why because it really is the best one around here.

As I was watching the children playing in the waves a freewrite came upon me and even though I'm not sure what was happening and even what a lot of it was about - it was very interesting nonetheless.

Gara Rock

This ancient sand -
crushed bones of ancient rock that
sneak between your toes and
hide a thousand ship wrecks.

This thrusting sea -
that frightens me and shells out
souls that underestimate its

These boys of mine -
that push their bodies into surf and
ride the terror waves. They go
where others dared and lost -
but even if they bleed, it's from
stigmata wounds. For men are
made in this eternal view.

The sun reflects on glassy blue.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Day Twenty-Two

Sisters continued

So I found out last time that I needed the freewrite stage to get any semblance of ideas at all. It was an interesting experiment for me especially doing this form of speed writing that is my challenge. Usually of course, if I wasn't on a time schedule with this blog I would be writing a poem and taking several weeks getting it right. So although I am not producing perfect poetry I am keeping the lines to that part of my brain connected - if that makes sense. Not sure it does really!

Still here's the conclusion to Sisters.


Our childhood surrounds us still
soaks into our skin and gilds
our hair. This shared time when
company careered loneliness
away and all it took to cheer us
was monopoly. Even if I

I was always the bank.

You chased me rollerskating down
the road - that car behind us like a
hungry bear. Your neon boots
alive in the dusk.

When daddy died - you didn't
cry. Held firm in your strength for
days. Your tears tied up inside
as tight as piano strings.

But when you sing the
release is
sweeter still.

Soon we'll rollerskate round the
rooms of our old home and
it will be -

The perfect cadence at
the end of our song.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Day Twenty

I thought tonight I might have a go at writing without the freewrite to see what happens. I anticipate that it won't flow as well and I might not get a 'diamond line' as I like to call them. So will be interesting to find out. And then tomorrow I'll take the same subject and use the freewrite to see how different it becomes. Here goes:


Our childhood surrounds us still
soaked into our skin and gilds
our hair. This shared time when
company careered loneliness
away and all it took to make us
happy was monopoly. Even if I
cheated. But I didn't cheat you -

When daddy died - you didn't
cry. Held firm in your strength for days
and days. Your tears tied up inside
as tight as piano strings.

When you released them, they flowed like

(Okay I can't do it! I've found out that the freewrite is essential to the process. I'm going to wait until tomorrow and do another rewrite...see what happens. Hey, this is interesting!)

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Day Nineteen

The Twin Tub

This one is inspired by one of my abiding memories that I have of my mum from my childhood. She was obsessed by cleanliness - very often to the detriment of time with her daughters - and my memories, as a result, revolve around her doing housework. Maybe that's why I try to play with my kids before I do housework and probably why I don't have the cleanest house on the block...ahem. Time with them is precious and fleeting and because my mum died in her 50th year, time with me and my sister was even more so.

I've used the rhyming couplets to try and emulate a sing song rhythm. Tell me what you think...

DJ in the house

She stands in the kitchen facing the door,
a great hulk of twin tub, cuboid on the floor.
The chequerboard lino, gleaming, pristine -
And me in my pink socks, a disco dancing dream.
She spins out on her decks, the rhythmic chug, chug, chug,
laundry in and sudded, rinsed, water down the plug.
Arthritic fingers feeding the gaping, churning hole
with snowwashed jeans and legwarmers - next the spinning bowl.
With precision and satisfaction, she watches til it's dry
spun out, hung out and happy - clean washing on the line.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Day Sixteen

Poem most days!

Okay, so a poem a day has turned out to be a tad ambitious! But having said that, whenever I aim high I am happy to get as close as possible. 'Shoot for the moon, and you'll land amongst the stars': Springs to mind.

I am happy to get to 300 this year - I mean, bloody hell, 300 poems in a year. That ain't bad, is it...is it....

So anyway I'm talking my way out nicely of the guilt that I feel for missing days - but hey, I have a life too!

Here's an unashamedly over-sentimental one that made me cry as I wrote it. I don't normally go in for this type of verse, but I'm allowing myself one... ;-)

John Denver schmaltz

Whisking yorkshire pudding
batter smooth. The roast chicken waiting
hot on a plate.

Your daughter's butterfly
kiss on your tear stained cheek. Your
half grown, shy son standing tall in
the footlights. Your hungry for success
son scoring a goal.

The sound of your car in the
driveway at the end of the
working day. And the sound of your
guitar in the evening strumming,
John Denvering
the children to sleep.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Day Twelve

Sylvia Plath

Hello there, this one is 14 years in the brewing and it has taken me 2 days to formulate it into what I consider worthy of a very unspecial man that I am forced to have a relationship with.

It is also inspired in part of a favourite poem of mine by Sylvia Plath called Daddy. I admire Plath greatly because she is not afraid to inject a bit of venom into her poetry and although I am naturally a fairly easy going type personality sometimes I am overcome by a little bit of venom. Who isn't?! So here's a bit of my spleen...

Step Daddy

Like rain on rhubarb you sourly
extract every bit of goodness from
the world. And give bollocks-all back.
A ton of sugar would not get
close to sweetening you.

You threw the memory of mum out with
her clothes. Taking dad's house as
if you'd earned the right to
slime up the rooms with your greed.

Your conscience rebuffed by:
It is your right.
It is your right.
It is your right.

And you gorge yourself on the
fruits of daddy's death - a
dirty, cowardly bear hiding in
your winter cave.

Shoo, shoo -
Cuckoo, cuckoo.

One day you will have to leave,
there is no other way.
And the hate you feel for me will
flower in the fuchsia bush that
mummy planted me.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Day Ten


I came across a half written poem from a little while ago that I thought I would revamp and rewrite. Body hatred is something that I feel strongly about and especially as I have a daughter I want to not give her the legacy my mother gave me.


I dress my daughter in
her skin. Perfection in
each chubby limb. Satsuma
juice runs down her chin.

She will not have a
maddening marriage
with the scales. At five my
mother deemed me
dieting fodder and
still I am espoused.

I rewrite the old story, each word
vibrates in my eyes - for
in her I see perfection
wiser than before.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Day Nine

Okay so I've had 2 days off...so shoot me! I've been having a lovely time with my sister on her birthday weekend and I'm not about to apologise for that! LOL!

Back to the poem this morning, I may even write another later if I get so inspired. This one is about a topic we have been discussing all weekend - the existence of magic and manifesting what we desire. Hope you enjoy!

Your wish is my command

It is always there tingling
under tongues,
and bonding
broken bones.
Woven spells from
witches wise,
cells vibrating
wish sublime. Magic
manifest in life,
time delayed,
a chance to
Your mind conceives and you
receive the result of every
Rub the lamp, the
genie says:
'Your wish is my command.'

Friday, 6 August 2010

Day Six


A small bit of whimsy today. I survived a 4 hour long game of monopoly with the children and then tonight sat down to write and all that came forth was the muscle relaxant extraordinare. Fancy a toke?

Rizla time

The long sixties gave birth
to you. But all along you lay in hallowed
places, growing all the time.
Windows opened by
The Doors let you in to
sample life. Puffed in, puffed
out and always sweeter than
a glass of wine.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Day Five

My Nan

She came up in my freewrite tonight and I'm not surprised she was a wonderful, loving certainty in my life all through my childhood and beyond. She survived her daughter (my mum), her son-in-law (my dad) and her much beloved husband. And she always called me her favourite...this poem is about her unending will.

It has evolved in rewriting as a sonnet, which I think mirrors her strength in its form except I've added an extra 2 lines because she was more than the average! Call me a poetry renegade, if you will.

Survival expert

Encircled in her arms, rice paper skin
pulling tight, taut over strong, hardy bones.
Whist drive on a Sunday, she let me win,
everytime, without fail, no groans, no moans.
Over-feeding my soul with cream cake love -
soothing me, stronger than her will to live.
Her daughter dead, her husband in awe of -
couldn't stay longer, nothing left to give.
But I was still here. I watched her that day;
when they lowered him cold into the ground.
Her face was a mask, remembering him.
But I saw the love that oozed as she prayed -
Saw her almost buckle under the mound
of grief that threatened her with sink or swim.
She swam that day, I believe, for me-
Her favourite grandchild, as strong as the sea.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Day Four

Haiku - a cop out?

Nah! I love them and I want to invite you all to write one too in the comments. Go on - you know you want to!

Also I was inspired by Rosy Retro's fabulous japanese stitch markers that she tweeted today.

As a reminder - this is how Wikipedia describes them and my offering below:

Haiku is a form of Japanese Poetry, consisting of 17 moras, in three phrases of 5, 7, and 5 moras respectively. Haiku typically contain a kigo (seasonal reference), and a kireji (cutting word). In Japanese, haiku are traditionally printed in a single vertical line, while haiku in English often appear in three lines, to parallel the three phrases of Japanese haiku. Previously called hokku, haiku was given its current name by the Japanese writer Masaoka Shiki at the end of the 19th century.

Wheat sheaves on Lammas

golden in the August sun

turn towards Winter.

I felt inspired by the time of year as a Haiku should be seasonal. Lammas is the first of August tradionally the first day of the harvest.

I'm looking forward to reading your Japanese offerings - don't be shy!

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Day Three


I've been having random thoughts today. So nothing different there. But something did come out of my freewrite and it felt random in the extreme! I had a falling out with a facebook friend a little while ago because I called her on her prejudiced status and she didn't like it. For some reason and not at all sure why, it popped up in my freewrite and and became a free style poem.

It's been a lazy day here in Devon, cloudy one minute, then raining, then sunny again. A truly random day. Perfect for some random writing!


She handles her prejudice like
a treasured gift passed down from
mother to daughter.
An heirloom shiny with
ill-thought out ideas,
hostile fears and
a mingling of emerald envy.

It's proudly displayed on a polished
shelf - dusted daily,
admired when
friends come round. The
dinner table talk turns again
and again to the hard, grey
hatred in the inlaid box.

Sometimes kind words can
tarnish the tin. Or a well-travelled guest
stains the surface facade.
And this facebooker, posh dinner
cooker packs it away again. High
on its shelf until she's asked once more:
'What's on your mind?'

Kate Sermon (2010)

That was a quick one in the end and needs polishing but according to my rules I must stop there. Quite pleased with it actually!

Monday, 2 August 2010

Day Two


Today has been full of my life and writing has not happened ...yet. It will. After dinner, I'll get back to it. A poem about distractions.....?

This project is for me as much about focusing on what comes up for me each day, as it is about developing my poetry skills. The two work hand in hand after all.

I'm going to do my 15 mins of freewrite now while the chicken cooks in the oven! Okay that's done. Bit saucy this one. I apologise in advance for you sensitive souls out there.


The love affair strokes your hair,
frees your mind but then you find -
An illusion born on crumpled sheets -
A mirage built by compressed heat.

The webcam whirls seeking motion.
The young girl silky, stroking lotion,
acting out your fantasy,
pulled in, pants down, for a fee.

You ride it out, pulled in deeper -
Make believe you can defeat her.
Wedded, bedded, beaded promise -
The 'I do' lie precedes the kiss.

Eat your meal of humble pie,
she makes you, takes you between her thighs.
This humid bliss -you rise, you fall -
You catch her eye - to despise is all.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Day One

The Process

I need this. I need the challenge.

A very special man and teacher brought me back to writing after a long absence and I want to acknowledge him first. Jim Hall. He died far too soon in his fifties, in 2008, after teaching me to stop analysing my writing before it even hits the paper. His favourite saying at the time was: "Writing is what happens when your pen and paper meet not in your head."

He believed in the magic of the self conscious to lead us to the best phrase, the best metaphor as if it were already full formed ready to be picked out.

He reinforced freewriting in me as the first essential step in any writing project and so I will freewrite for 15 minutes every day and from there see what happens. What comes up. And take it from there.

So here goes...

The Process

Process meat,
processed ham,
recycled in the metal can.
Detach the key,
unwind the top,
ride the corners - don't let it stop.
Let them out,
those words that stick
between cerebral cortex and
the pen.