Day 16 – lies!

Oh dear, how things slip so quickly!

I have family visiting, plus my (94 yr old) mum has not been so well and she lives with us. I was at Gary Barlow on Monday and James Blunt Thursday. My music taste notwithstanding, it has been a tricky week for me! Luckily it’s Easter and I can play catch-up!!!!
Day 16 then, and the prompt is to write a 10 line poem where each line is a lie. For reasons unknown I chose to go with a food theme.

Asparagus is tangerine in colour,
The quality of beetroot is not strained.
Mango is the perfect match for mushroom
and artichokes taste better when it’s rained.
Always add some pilchards to your porridge,
sprinkle sugar liberally on beef,
Blueberries are nice, when served with chilli,
Wrap banana in a cabbage leaf.
End with cheesecake, and some egg fried rice
Washed down with treacle, ice and a slice.

Hooray, hooray, it’s halfway point today!

Day fifteen – still running a day behind but problems at home so not doing too bad!

Day 15 saw us at the halfway point and asked us to write in terza rima. Once again, the form is something I find a bit challenging but I think I managed to do something approaching one:

All eyes were raised toward the evening sky
And silence sank, like dusk, upon the land.
Vast hosts of golden angels processed by,

As though entranced, the whole world watched them fly.
In every land the spectacle occurred,
But no-one ever knew the reason why

And, of it, no-one ever breathed a word.

Day 14 – questions…

Went to see Gary Barlow last night, in Manchester, so had an evening off!
Hmm, quite a challenge this – every line has to be a question bar the last, Again, my concern with these things is that they can sound rather contrived. Ah well, let’s have a bash.

Writing this bit in retrospect, not sure where this one came from – spooky!

Ten things you shouldn’t ask at a séance

So, how did you feel in that final moment?
Did you realise that was your last breath, and did you breathe extra deeply, to take it all in?
Was there really a white light waiting?
If your life flashed before you, did you focus on the good things or the bad?
Oh, and how long did it take?
Did you have to relive all the stupid, embarrassing little moments, or just the major life-changing ones?
Was there a point when you asked yourself if you were just buying in to all the clichés?
How can people die young or old, yet still age in the spirit world?
How did you know I would come to this cold hall tonight in search of answers?
Why would you chose this evening, in a roomful strangers, to tell me that you loved me?
Regret, like grief and anger, is sometimes better left unresolved.

Day 13 – kennings

I am nearly up to date – woohoo!

Just wanted to take a moment to say thank you to all the people who have liked any of my poems or are even following my ‘writing journey’ ths year. Once I have managed to crack this one I hope to return the favour and be able to check out what everyone else is doing. I know it’s all part of the experience but I seem to have been so wrapped up in playing catch-up that I haven’t been able to enjoy it as much as I hoped to.

In my defence, work is rather full-on as I have been in the middle of organising a two-week literary festival, so I am pleased to be where I am now, to be honest.

I am off to work on some kennings now – Vikings eh?
Decided to stay with something a bit archaic and plump for witches. Hurrah, up to date – time to look around and smell the roses!

Witchfinder General

Behold the secret-keepers,
we hunt them for our sport,
kill them for our safety,
deem them less than naught.
Egg-sailors steal our children,
make our milk turn sour,
evoke abhorrent spirits,
embrace the midnight hour.
And so, in turn, we hound them,
dunk them as they scream,
burn them in denial,
and we our souls redeem.

Day Twelve – substitution

Day twelve brings substitution.

Oh rats! This is the sort of challenge that I really struggle with, to be honest, like taking someone else’s poem and changing lines or words. I couldn’t really find a tangible thing that yielded interesting results, like the example, then opted to play safe and use ‘love’ as the intangible. On reflection, however, I changed it for grief instead, to try and write something different, as there have been a couple of love poems already.

Okay, so here are some (slightly edited/adapted to fit) facts about trees, now amended to be about grief:
There are over 23,000 different kinds of grief in the world.
Grief can absorb as much as 48 pounds of carbon dioxide per year.
Grief is a highly organized arrangement of living, dying, and dead cells.
Grief is included in most religions. Some hold certain grief sacred; others use grief to help teach beliefs.
So where to go with this one? Not really sure, just using it as a jumping-off point I think – being kind again and not trying too hard!

First, test your grief against a shade card,
maybe take a tester.
You need to be sure it’s just right
and that you can live with it.
Once you have decided
then soak it up, embrace it,
it has its own belief system
and mantras,
disregard them at your peril.
Your grief is symbiotic,
it has life and order,
day and night,
puts down roots deep within.
You need to remember
neither of you
can survive

Day 11 – Anacreontics

So day 11 brings us to anacreontics, a new one on me! I decided to try and keep the seven-syllable thing going on but not to worry particularly about the rhythm.
My love for wine could fill several pages, nay books, and is second only to my passion for cheese, so this one suits me down to the ground.

Wine and love – the two conjoined
are quite a heady pairing,
too much of both can lead to
embarrassing soul-baring.
With kisses lush and tempting,
the grip of wine seems stronger,
though love’s intoxicating
sweet hangover lasts longer.

Day Ten – advert

Okay, so day 10 is an advertisement poem. Gradually catching up.
Where to start? I suppose a product/thing is the way to go, and it probably has to be something I know about and like, otherwise it will be harder.
Washing up finished, Bond on in the background, mushroom stroganoff bubbling away on the hob and a nice glass of Cusqueno beside me – here we go!

Looking round the kitchen for inspiration, I spy(the vegetarian version I was without for seemingly ages! As this is not one of my favourite kinds of things, I shall stick with my ethos and keep it short:

Have your tastebuds gone to sleep,
Craving flavours rich and deep?
Your cheese on toast seems sad and blue,
You make bland sauce, and watery stew,
Just shake on gently, pour it quick -
Worcester sauce gives food a kick!

Day Nine (at last!) – song titles

Oh dear, I have managed to get massively behind on my writing this week! I have to try and do five catch-up pieces, so the quality may be even more suspect than usual…
Had a busy ‘home-centric’ day with shopping, jobs round the house etc. Made a really nice wholemeal loaf last night though, and some spicy parsnip soup. Shall also have to take a break in a while to make a mushroom stroganoff for tea.
What more satisfying things are there in life, I wonder, than a completed poem and a nice, fresh, homemade loaf?
Ah well, back to the poems:
To try and take them in order, the challenge for day nine was to use the titles of the next five song titles from a random playlist. I used one from Radio 2 and got:

Coming back as a Man (Caro Emerald)
Dark Sunglasses (Chrissie Hynde)
Jealous (Chromeo)
Magic (Coldplay)
Follow You Home (Embraace)

I thought
we were something rare,
a pair touched by magic.
I snubbed jealous friends,
shocked at the ends
to which I would go for you.
I didn’t see
the warning signs,
didn’t hear
the whispered exchanges
didn’t fight back,
because the battle
was already lost.
I swear to you,
should the moon turn blue
and the planets align,
I am coming back as a man.
I will don dark sunglasses,
lurk in silent doorways
and follow you home
each night.
You need to know
that power
is more than physical
and unrelenting fear
can cut as deep.

Day Eight – rework another poem

Okay so today is a re=working of someone else’s poem. I nearly baulked but then decided to choose one that I know very well – guess this can either inspire or stall you!
I based this on ‘Breakfast’ by Jacques Prevert, which has been one of my favourite poems for a very long time – since I first read it when I was 15, in fact.


She rose,
from the sheets,
slipped into
a silk gown,
grey as the dawn.
She crossed
to the window,
stared out
across the street,
sighed softly.
she padded back,
by the bed.
I heard
her breath,
The door
gently behind her,
bare feet
And I,
the whole time,
to sleep.

Day Seven – Love Poem

Day seven is a love poem about an inanimate object. I hope no-one has a partner who could be described thus…!

Can’t help thinking about Carol Ann Duffy’s “Valentine”, about an onion, but sadly my effort is more likely to drive you to tears.
Ah well, here we go. Actually, on reflection, ‘Chuck’ is not strictly an inaminate object since he is my sourdough starter and has literally lived in a Kilner jar in my kitchen since Christmas.

Ode to Chuck

Sour dough,
I love you so.
You know how much
I knead you,
but do I really need
to feed you
every day?
Live and bubbling,
you keep troubling
my dreams.
Just when it seems
that you are rising,
I come home
and it’s surprising
that you’ve dropped –
fermentation’s stopped
and so the cycle
has to start again.
when the chemistry
is right,
we share a blissful night
before the dawn
and the oven’s yawn
swallows you whole.
I venture to suggest,
Fresh isn’t always best:
I think
I love you most
when you are toast.