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Day 29 – I remember

Wow – the penultimate challenge! Where did April go to?
That said, I am torn between thinking about how hard it has been to stay on track, at times, and delighted that I have managed to (just about…) keep up.
I always say that I intend to carry on writing, only to fail miserably within a day or two.
This year I am saying nothing but I was lucky enough to win the fiction prize at my University this week, totally out of the blue, and so it has made me think that maybe I do still actually have some kind of voice and should push myself to try something different and exciting.  Watch this space!

Anyway, to the challenge: things I remember. Sorry, went a bit of a weird/depressing way and I know the line length/rhyme are iffy, but it’s the penultimate day! (oooh that rhymes too…)

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I remember desperately wanting the cockerel egg cup:
our lives so focused on such minutiae, it held us spellbound.
The twilight of the ward, the never-darkness,
was lifted gently on a Sunday night, when all around,
even for non-believers, the lyre and Bible stories
offered comfort, peace – a temporarily welcome sound.
I literally fell out of bed one day, to reach a Popeye toy,
the bulk of plaster soon dragging me back down.
Ice cream, smuggled in, in plastic footballs,
helped to soothe the itchiness of cotton-wool
but never the routine of pink medicine and the inevitable sick-bowl.
Eventually I learned to walk again, each time harder than before.
Recovery always took longer, though my body  strived for so much more.
Seems to me, I became one of the plastic toys on my table tray:
compelled to keep moving, being pulled painfully every which way.
And always, the merciless ledge – inexplicably stopping me at the edge.

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Day 28 – backwards poem

The trickiest thing with this challenge, in my humble opinion, is the punctuation. So rather than struggle for hours/days/weeks to get it perfect, or go for single sentences with full stops, I took some liberties. Do I feel bad? Hell, no!
There is always the darkness
While, inside her aching head,
Like so many times before,
She feels it crushing – pulsing through her veins.
There is uncertainty and
an inherent inability to understand a total block.
There is one conclusion:
A pressure, building inexorably –
Submission, offering
Hope in redemption.
One tiny comfort:
there is always the darkness.

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Day 27 – long lines

I am a bit disturbed about how television seems to be informing/inspiring my writing lately!

I lapsed a bit behind yesterday so I am only doing a short one, with long lines, if that actually makes any sort of sense? Also, I  tend to err on the side of brevity, so this one is quite a challenge for me.

Curiously I found I had made myself a note on Tuesday night, while watching Bake Off: Creme de la Creme, which said “geometric petits gateaux”. Yes, I really am that sort of person!!!!

Anyway, I used that as a starting point and here’s the sweet, but perfectly formed, result:
Crème de la crème

Et voila! Observe the pastry chefs, as they carefully assemble geometric petits gateaux.
Every one exquisite: decoration quite precise, presented perfectly,side by side. Just so.
Next, they craft a croquembouche – a golden Tour Eiffel, magnificent and soaring.
But their showcase, a sweet retelling of Dante’s nine circles of hell, was judged too boring!

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Day 26 – call and response

I have to be honest – I really dislike this kind of repeating poem and would never write one normally. The first year I did NaPoWriMo I seem to remember the sea shanty prompt really stopping me in my tracks for several days.

However, I was watching River Monsters on the TV tonight and we were joking about how, in previous series’, the anticipation is always ramped up about what could be lurking in the deep waters and preying on local animals and people, but inevitably it’s always a blooming catfish in the end!

Obviously things have been mixed up a bit this series, so this is my homage – with just a soupcon of artistic licence!

River Monsters

There’s a monster lurking here,
Could it be a catfish?
local people live in fear.
Could it be a catfish?
When a giant lies in wait
Could it be a catfish?
I must use myself as bait.
Could it be a catfish?
I still have that tingling feel
Could it be a catfish?
from a mad electric eel.

Could it be a catfish?

From Venezuela to Guyana,

Could it be a catfish?
far more likely it’s piranha.
Could it be a catfish?
I found paiche in dark Peru
Could it be a catfish?
(that’s arapaima or pirarucu).
Could it be a catfish?
A fish by any other name…
Could it be a catfish?
is still, to fishermen, fair game!
Could it be a catfish?
This week I have found my prey
Could it be a catfish?
among the sharks, out in the bay.
Could it be a catfish?
Who said this series is in a rut?
Could it be a catfish?
No – even catfish are found in the gut
of the giant, predatory halibut!

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Day 25 (caught up!!) – borrowing

Hurrah, I am back on track and there is less than a week to go! (she says, setting herself up for a fall…)

I never cease to be amazed at what my head/fingers write when I approach some of these challenges. I often look back at them later and can’t remember/believe that I have written some of them – that’s why I really love to do NaPoWriMo, even though it can be quite overwhelming at times.

I borrowed a line from a Simon Armitage poem that I didn’t know and didn’t read beforehand. It was called ‘About His Person’. Having read it afterwards it felt quite ‘Mr Bleaney’ whereas mine has a slightly obsessive/sinister undertone in some respects, but hopefully also retains a bit of a love story feel. The line I chose was “planted there like a spray carnation”. I really love Simon Armitage’s poetry so I am glad I went for this.

 

Endurance

He stood silently
by the gate, planted there
like a spray carnation in a rain shower,
bowed.
Through the nets
all day I watched him,
disappointed,
saw him grow sodden
as the light failed.
At midnight
I parted the blind, to find him
stark in streetlight,
constant.
Dawn drew me,
stale, blinking
tender.
I grabbed a coat,
keys, ran
to where I knew
he would still be waiting
patient,
enduring.
Mine.

 

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Day 24 – mix highbrow and everyday

The challenge today was to choose some highbrow words and then mix them into a poem with everyday ones. I concentrated on a couple of words which led me to a home environment, and this is what came out:

 


Domicile


Palimpsest,
on my fridge-mounted
shopping list,
reminds me that I buy
bread, cheese and tea
with alarming regularity.
Who can deny the
unnameable assuagement
of a brew and a cheese butty?
Soothed,
I scrub/scrape sink soap scum
and, alliteratively,
wet wipe windows.
I pause
(caesura)
to anthropomorphise
my pets, plants and,
sometimes,
random household appliances.
I eschew the science
in favour of the aesthetics
of cooking,
though my reluctance to follow
a didactic narrative
can sometimes lead to
a flop.

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Day 23 – Sonnet

A sonnet – whoopee! That was a sarcastic ‘whoopee’, I might add. Ah well, put my head down and got on with it. I tried to stick with the basic form but not necessarily sure that I could do the volta element, however I tried!

Summer/Autumn
The scents of summer always take me back:
a childhood spent out, playing in the sun,
among the sedge and cowslips we would run.
True feral kids, we formed a private pack.

The tented hawthorn arched above our heads
A canopy, concealing us from sight.
Our dens would fill our days from dawn to night
And fill our dreams, when tucked up tight in bed.

But was it always sunny in my youth?
I can’t believe we never felt the rain.
Could it be I’m hiding from the truth?
It’s easier than facing up to pain.

Alone and growing old, my mind unsure,
the arms of childhood gather me once more.