Day nine and it’s all about the nines

Day nine is a nine-line poem and I decided to try the Spenserian rhyming scheme, with iambic pentameter, then realised it was harder than I thought!

I persevered, however. Not too impressed with this really but it is a completed task!


Who knew what hand my life might deal to me?
I’d like to think that I believe in fate.
I’m not so sure about Astrology
or of the true importance of a date.
I’ve never had a tarot reading yet
that made me feel cards tell us anything,
so I will stick with fortune and regret
and maybe learn the lessons that they bring
or it may leave me dangling on a string…


Day eight – I’ve finally caught up!!!!

Phew – with a following wind, and a little bit of sneakiness, I am finally on the same page as everyone else taking part!

The challenge for day eight is repetition. Hmm, not my cup of tea really (Simon Armitage’s Not the Furniture Game an exception) as it gets a bit forced after a while. As a reader, I also find myself skipping the repetitions and just reading the new bits, which I am sure affects my response to the piece – just telling it as I see it!Sorry, it’s not a cheery one!


Dark Heart
His heart was dark, like the cracks between floorboards
His heart was dark as a sealed room
His heart was dark, like the Marianas Trench
His heart was as dark as an empty womb

His heart was dark, as though filled with squid ink
His heart was dark, with no promise of dawn
His heart was dark as a crouching panther
His heart was dark, like the eyes of a newborn

His heart was dark, studded with scarab wings
His heart was dark, like an unexplored cave
His heart was dark, like a black hole in space
His heart was dark as a pauper’s grave

His heart was dark,
our love was dark,
his soul was darker.

Day seven – fortuitous poem

Hoping to nail day eight later so I am in sync for the first time this year. Fingers crossed…

Okay, so day seven was a fortuitous poem. I followed the suggestions and, unsurprisingly, came up with some pretty random stuff that was completely uninspiring. Determined not to stall and let it hold me back I am taking the easy way out and just serving up a limerick.

Day eight seemed to start out quite sweetly,
I thought I could sew it up neatly,
Though fortuitous verse
Proved to be the reverse
So, with luck, I have swerved it completely!

Day six – points of view

For day six, the prompt was to write about something from several different angles.

I wanted to keep this a bit short and sweet, as I am still playing catch-up, so I decided to sort of use the haiku form to give me a workable frame and then thought about different people’s responses to Winter, as they age.

I know, I know –  it is what it is, but I am only one behind now!

Hey and it’s my birthday, cut me some slack…



Tiny tongues upturned,
eager for their first taste of
the free-falling sky.

Snowballs at playtime.
Being cool is just not fun,
It’s really freezing!

Waiting in traffic,
where even condensation
moves faster than you.

Pension day at last,
but black ice covers the path
to the Post Office.

Day five – back to nature

Day five’s challenge was to write a poem about nature and it made me think about a gannet we cared for when I was a child. The poor thing was a young bird that had been blown off course and found itself in Sussex, which is not really renowned for its gannet colonies!

As my father was an RSPCA volunteer, we took it in and nursed it back to health until it could be released in an appropriate location. I feel like he lived with us for ages but probably it was only a few weeks. The local paper picked up on it and our photo even appeared in the Daily Mirror Book for Girls!


he landed at our door.
Immature, unsure of
what we were or
where he needed to be.
Fixed by his gimlet eye
I waited, patiently,
the six-year-old me
daunted by the sheer size,
and overwhelming need,
of this overgrown gull.
Boundaries agreed,
he meekly allowed
his magnificence
to be crammed
into my doll’s pram,
where he majestically
held court as I wheeled him
daily round the block.
He thrived and grew.
In a slopping bucket
we brought pout home alive,
taught him to dive,
clumsily, inadequately,
into the depths
of our dull ceramic bath,
to claim his prize.
On our faded settee,
he sat by me
as I read him fairy tales,
the day’s news,
or just passed the time.
Too soon, like dragons
and childhood,
he was gone.
I hope he soared free,
high over chalk cliffs,
speared the sea
and maybe,
once or twice,
remembered me.

Day four – riddle me this

We’re going great guns now – I have so got this. Hopefully, with the wind behind me, I can wrote two tomorrow and catch up at last.

So the fourth challenge was to write a riddle poem, without naming the thing so, in a rather pointless twist, I will put the answer at the end. It would have been an appropriate title but defeat the object somewhat. On the other hand you, the reader, won’t know if the poem actually works if you can’t guess it…

Duly set up for failure, here goes:


It’s the vehicle bearing down on you
the whisper from behind
the shadow in your darkest night
the peace you just can’t find
the jigsaw piece you’re missing
the stone inside your shoe
the something that you can’t define
the final missing clue
the hanging Sword of Damocles
the light that just went out
the curse of insecurity
the thirst that follows drought
the wind that turns, brings stormy weather
the pain, the scar, you bear forever

Answer: Guilt


Day three – elegy (ooh, that rhymes)

So I have managed to fit two poems in (so far!) today which brings me in reach of catching up, with a bit of luck and maybe a haiku or two… (and the rhymes keep coming)

So an elegy then, that’s cheery. I went round the houses a few times with this. I’m not really a cathartic/personal writer, in the main, so I didn’t want to go there. I don’t really have many standout heroes, in terms of famous or historical figures so that was out too. Equally it seemed wrong to write an elegy for someone who is still alive or to make someone up!

I then chanced upon a play on words – thinking of an elegy written in a country churchyard and that set me off. I went to trace my family tree and the main church that our family frequented had been deconsecrated and turned into a conference centre, which was rather disappointing and desperately sad.

Here goes anyway…

Elegy written for a country churchyard

The ancient yew is dying now,
stretching solemn shadows
over the sacred ground,
while all around
silent angels weep.
Stacked against flint walls,
their alabaster tears
no longer fall
for the forgotten souls.
Once tender tributes,
now trampled underfoot,
epitaphs litter
untrodden paths.
The consecrated earth
absorbed each narrative,
the quiet spaces
would give comfort, succour,
but now it’s only fit
for parking cars.


Day two, recipe – catching up slowly!

Well it;s the fifth and I have just managed to complete day two but I’m on my way! I’m not keen on the ‘Take a pound of kindness, sprinkle it with love…’ type of recipe poems and I haven’t the headspace to be very imaginative at the moment, so I have just gone with good old rhyming couplets.

I know it’s cheesy (in more ways than one), but it’s another big tick in the catch-up box so I’ll take it.


What to make for tea tonight? I haven’t got a clue –
I root around the fridge a bit, to find a feast for two.
An onion and some peppers, well past their ‘best-by’ dates,
I cut off all the manky bits – there’s too much left to waste.
Pasta, herbs, tomatoes are the cupboard’s contribution
and the freezer holds the final key to my teatime solution:
an icy lump of Quorn mince will ‘beef’ it up a treat
so in less than half an hour, the magic is complete.
With a bit of flair, two bubbling pans of comfort food await
and here’s a rind of Parmesan, with just enough to grate.
We’ve had our fill, but still I’ve got a portion for the freezer.
You just can’t beat a good Spag Bol – the ultimate crowd pleaser.

Day One – hurrah! Three more to catch up…)

I was really looking to NaPoWriMo this tear and (buoyed up by last year) was pretty confident that I would keep up.

Epic fail day one (2,3 and 4…)!

Ah well, at least I’ve put my toe in the water and made a start at last. Just need to play catch up now – not easy, especially as it’s my birthday week but hey, I just need to get writing and stop whining!

Day one was the short, sharp  lines thing with an animal and a philosophical thought. Hmmm, well one/two out of three ain’t bad! Nice to be on board, hopefully back soon:


Home to roost

I stayed too long,

waiting for you.

I guess you knew I would,

but some good

actually came from it.

I know you won’t care,

but a sudden whirring

stirred the air.

Looking skyward

in anticipation,

suddenly a murmuration

filled the sky.

Sinuous shapes

formed and re-formed,

swarming birds moved as one,

warmed by a tired sun.

Unity in action,

each had their role,

a shared goal,

harmony of purpose.

It ended too soon

(the story of my life!)

But, for now,

I think I’ll be all right.

I turn off my phone,

Walk home alone.

Manchester remembers

Was so proud recently that my poem, Manchester, was chosen by BBC Radio Manchester for their 20th year bomb commemoration broadcast.

They made a video (sadly with typo from years ago – I’m a grammar pedant!)

It was voiced by people who were involved in the events of the day.

Was invited to the broadcast and it was a great honour.

But here’s a thing:

  • I understand that the internet throws up many problems in protecting copyright, and I am certainly not precious about things (heaven knows there’s no money involved!!!) but was disappointed to find my poem online recently, with a new introduction added and zero acknowledgement. I know it’s been used on blogs/profiles before and I’m ok with that, it’s also been used by a Uni and tv (with permission) and read as part of a tour, but trying to pass  it off as your own is a step too far.