Saturday, 18 October 2014

It's been a while...

Hey you,
I've been pretty busy the last few months, both physically and mentally; lots of aliveness and along with that, lots of thinking, going on.
I've been teaching my own devised short story writing course; Totnes Writers' Playshop , which I'm loving so much. Plus finishing off the sequel to Dark Sleepers & writing another short story to sell. I'm also looking into funding to run a workshop in Exeter with Dan Metcalf friend and writer.
But I haven't stopped writing the poems - they've been churning out of me most days. Currently, I'm into week 4 of my MA poetry course, which has been a revelation, and I think, it's taken even my meagre words to a whole new level.

I'll share one that came out of an exercise on Wednesday that looked at traces left behind. Showing presence in absense...

Brushing cake crumbs
from clothes
into dead ash,
the bare warm seat
still sighs
sunken like tired eyes,
still stinging from your scent
as it clings to molecules
not yet homed.

Clustered round the half-empty
glass, or to you half-full, 
are remnants,
skin-cells, a golden hair
or two.
Two sticky rings
from clumsy coffee cups.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014


Good evening poet people.

I pushed out a poem tonight while pondering why often we push through our best instincts and alarm bells, and continue down a dark path. I thought about the nature of a fairytale, how the hero or heroine must be tested, and through that, valuable lessons are learned.

For me, it's often been the urge or need to feel alive, to shave off my corners and be new. Or a way into a place where I can use experience in my writing. In that way, I suppose, I'm a method writer. I must feel it to write it.

Most of all, I thought about this life, this drama and me. I thought about what it means to me to lose control and throw myself into the fast flowing stream. What it might mean if I did just that.


I must follow this silver slipway
in my hooded cloak
to the full moon through
the darkening forest.

It could be a forgone conclusion
that each twist will lead
to a rotten red apple core.
But I must know for sure.

Deeper I will go
to the candy-covered house.
It can have no charms on me,
not if I know
there's a witch within.

I can refuse to cage my brother.
I can refuse to stoke her fire.

And when she turns to bite, I'll run.

For I've left white pebbles
trailing my way home
by moonlight.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Morning Sonnet VII

So I made it to seven. Seven sonnets in seven days. Go, me!  It's been an interesting experience, as I feel I know the form so much better now. I still don't feel like I've managed a great sonnet this week, but I may have a few decent skeletons on which to build a meatier body.

I started off loving the Petrarchan sonnet so much more than the Shakespearean form, but I think I've changed my mind about that - I love the rhyming couplet at the end, it rounds off the poem so succinctly. So I hope you like my Sunday Sonnet: It's a Shakespearean one xx

There are no boundaries here, where the wind pulls
trees in the middle of a full Spring day,
bending the ash tree branches, pushes then sprawls
like there’s a way through, but the wind fades away.
I watch your fragile sleep, your breath unravels
a snoozy fragment that I want to hold
but I cannot catch or clasp its travels,
as it sweeps your eyelashes, you withhold.
Your grey Sunday mood, my wild rumpled dreams
emerge together through murkier mists,
striving as always to pull at my seams
and dancing before you, begs to be kissed.
The smallest lip twitch, the sweetest sigh,
we’ll continue to chase the bluest sky.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Morning Sonnet VI

Only had time for quickie this morning, so to speak (!), so please excuse the more rushed nature of this one.

I should probably say that I always revisit and edit poems after a short while of leaving them alone to breathe, so anything that is posted here is only ever a first flourish. But I've always loved the beauty of the first draft, the unconscious links that appear from the shadows, I have a dark mind.

I remember reading a Ted Hughes quote a few years ago where he described how he began a poem. He said that he picked a subject and just dived in. I think that amply describes the first draft process but as always the second, third.... twentieth draft can be a process, perhaps not of diving, but of swimming round testing the edges of the pool. A chance to find out just how deep you can go...

I hope you enjoy this one,
Love Kate x

You’re a whisper in the trembling trees,
a token won from an arcade game,
a sniff of riches mixed with fickle fame,
a beggar praying prostrate on his knees.
A fantasy place to go in my head,
the same old dream world spun out for years,
something to listen to, that you can’t hear,
a speech long written but never been said.

Or at least you like to think that’s so but
politicians spin makes you look honest
and nobody knows that more than me.
I see through the lies you weave and strut,
take account of words and time you invest,
people always see more than you think they see.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Morning Sonnet V

 This one is dedicated to my three beautiful children...

Still dearer to me than a full night’s sleep
Much more important than a painless life
Worth more than a raucous Saturday night
Fillers of my whole heart which makes me weep.
Dearer than a smooth teenage tummy
Worth the scar above my bikini line
The stripes on my belly have all been earned
Nourishing you all made me this mummy.
And now you’re all worth the driving around,
The haunting hormones that plague perfect minds,
The hours I spend on the Tesco website,
The endless washing machine’s round and round.
To watch you all grow up human and kind,
Willing to fight, and able to take flight.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Morning Sonnet IV

I've made it to the halfway point. Yay! And only a little cheat as the first line of today's came to me when I was watching a couple of teenagers on Plymouth Hoe last night.

*Disclaimer* Contains what some might consider a 'rude' word x Enjoy.

Morning Sonnet IV

He attempts seduction down on the Hoe
Tries to entice her with feeble remarks:
We’ll find a safe spot, nobody will know.
Go on, it’s secluded, it’ll be dark.

She leans on the edge of the raggedy cliff.
When will he learn that begging won’t do?
Whines are a turn off - he’ll not get a sniff,
Show her his lust and he just might break through.

Banter, a tease, is the way to her quim,
A strong hand in hers, a brisk moorland walk
Then she’d be tempted by nocturnal whim,
With a meeting of minds, intelligent talk.

Imploring is nothing more than a bore,
The biggest of turn-ons, the man who wants more.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Morning Sonnet III

Although strictly speaking this is an afternoon one! 

Sat at the Barbican, Plymouth, in my car - what else can I write about?

I'll add a picture tomorrow when I get a good one. 

A welcome relief from the personal, this one. Hope you like it xx

Ghostly press gangers slump still through these alleys,
Darkened walls that drip with muddy memories,
Absorber of guilt and grime in a time frieze,
The bricks hold ancient abductor's tallies.
Tall ships would've been hailed in this harbour,
Homeward bound sailors gilded with seasalt,
Ready to ahoy flagons of malt
And a quick bit of alleyway amour.

Not much has changed in this place by the sea,
The grumblings beneath the shiny new teeth,
That smile at the stranger, waiting to bite.
Bars burst with bluster, the same company,
Gloss on the top, resentment beneath,
But no Kings shilling at the end of your pint.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Morning Sonnet II

So, here's day 2. Amazing I made it this far ;-) 

The first line came to me today as I drove my children to school through the misty morning light. Hope you like it. Comment if you feel inspired xx

Morning Sonnet II

I spied the sun beyond the mist today,
the damp that chilled our bones momentary.
So I knew the trees that troubled our way
were just another flawed commentary.

I drove on, through the dawn, the windows down,
damp hair scrunched up, wild and wanton perhaps.
My eyes wide open, we approached the town,
I handed you our book of AA maps.

I always spy you sat there, outstretched hand
clasping mine tight in the gaps between gears,
holding on to me, like this was all planned,
the fog  just a blanket of fleeting fears.

Slip in beside me, close tight the front door,
show me where we’re going, ‘cause I want more.

Monday, 31 March 2014

Sonnet Challenge for the Week

I thought I'd set myself a challenge for a week as an exercise. I love writing sonnets and although an undisputed challenge I thought it might be fun to write one a day on waking, making the first line, the first thought that comes into my head. 

So here's Monday's offering. It's only had a couple of drafts and no doubt could benefit from a rewrite but this is its skeleton - hope you enjoy xx

Morning Sonnet I

I could have sworn I heard you shout my name,
In the deep dark night, in a lonely way,
Each syllable pronounced with screaming pain,
Infused with longing and  hope that I may
Put down my lover and come to your bed,
Put aside my own heart and pamper yours,
Put right which is wrong in your confused head,
Give up all that is me to attend your flaws.
A singular cause, a life's work addressed;
A manic few moments, a stranger's bed,
A panicking pause, as you demand more,
My eyes wide as skies, no passion repressed,
A lifetime of loving I choose instead - 
So I'll say: "no thanks", continue to snore. 

Morning Sonnet II coming tomorrow :-)

Thursday, 27 March 2014



She’s pouting alright
This pale-skinned woman who might look her age
I cannot tell, I’m just the selfie.
I have no judgement
Just reflect who she might be
With the right light
The right angle
The right life.

You might look in her eyes
But you’ll find nothing there
Just squashed down emotion
Eaten, smoked, drunk
Distracted by drama
Talked over with laughter
Bottled up
Like shame at a wedding.

You could kiss her neck
She’d close her eyes
And in that moment she’d be closer
Much, much closer to me.
Look deeper, look in
Do you dare?
To see her bare
Naked skin

A red raw bleeding weeping woman
With foundation smoothing off her edges
Eyeshadow brightened eyes
Lengthened lashes
Full lips reddened pinker
Than her beating heart.
She smiles, that’s true
But not for you.

And to show my poem's flaws up (!!) I also want to share Plath's poem Mirror. The 1950s selfie xx


I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions.
What ever you see I swallow immediately
Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike.
I am not cruel, only truthful---
The eye of a little god, four-cornered.
Most of the time I meditate on the opposite wall.
It is pink, with speckles. I have looked at it so long
I think it is a part of my heart. But it flickers.
Faces and darkness separate us over and over.
Now I am a lake. A woman bends over me,
Searching my reaches for what she really is.
Then she turns to those liars, the candles or the moon.
I see her back, and reflect it faithfully.
She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands.
I am important to her. She comes and goes.
Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness.
In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman
Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish.