Day 29: Zoom

Through the window, bamboo waving.

In the room, a desk, a pile of books on the windowsill

through the window, bamboo waving.

I’m sitting outside by the dusty wall, looking into the room.

In the room, a desk, a pile of books on the windowsill

through the window, bamboo waving.

On my laptop, an image: myself by the dusty wall,

looking into the room,

at the desk, the books on the windowsill

through the window, bamboo waving.

On the screen other rooms, books, people, looking at screens

where I am sitting by the dusty wall,

looking into the room at the desk, the books on the windowsill

through the window, bamboo waving.

Day 30: A journey through April

The road through April twists like a pendulum,

undulates like oil on waves.

Travel with an amulet and

keep an eye on the sky.

Check the weather daily.

It really doesn’t matter if your hair is tangled.

The road through April travels the land of dreams.

Turn left before the Museum

and beware the drunk singing in the bamboo grove.

You will not need your antigrav suit.

Don’t worry if you feel like a beginner,

and your words get tied into knots.

Avoid the haiku.

Console yourself with expensive treats: asparagus and marrons glaces

Along the way you will see marvels and fight demons.

As you make it through to May Day morning, remember:

the journey is its own reward.

Thank you, NaPoWriMo for another wonderful month of prompts and poems. The last prompt, to give the directions for a journey, gave me a great opportunity to look back at where I’ve been.

Day 28: Stoic Sonnet

The acorn dances

to the tirade of a neon cornet.

The osiers stir in the rain.

Once, I’d dine on Doric rice

stoned dates, and roasted crane:

since the tide’s crested,

I stare at stained icons

as inane actors tread

to the noise of the taser.

The train is at a stand.

The crone rides, antic,

in a torn coat.

I stride a rancid coast.

The dance is done.

(variations on the word ‘constrained’)

Day 27 Rhubarb Flower

inspired by the poems in Weeds and Wildflowers by Alice Oswald and Jessica Greenman


You can call me Barb.

I’ll just grab my things.

Where’s my scarf gone?

The noise of her fills the room until there is no space for anything else.

                   You can call me Barb

                   I’ll powder my nose

                   And then we can be off.

Red veins show through the grains of powder. Her lipstick is caught, blood-pink on one front tooth.

                    You can call me Barb

                   They all do, the girls

                   You’ll be all right with me

                   It’s not as if you had any other friends.

Her green dress is frilled down the front.  A bulge of white petticoat about the midriff.

Barb, they say, you’re such a laugh

You’ll simply love the girls

It’s only a step

I’m surprised no one else has asked you.

She walks, thick-ankled, as if there was no one else in the street, not caring where her barbs might fall.

Day 26: Altschmerz

Old sorrows

Are the best ones.

With familiar contours

To trace under a roughened fingertip

Located in that same part of your spirit:

Like a sore knee, a familiar ache in damp weather

Or a smell left behind in your nostrils.

The ones that take you on the same roller-coaster ride

to finish in the exact same place,

That always come running, faithfully

At the playing of a particular tune.

Grant me no new pains,

Only the ones

That play round and round my head

In the small hours of the night.

A prompt from the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows

Day 25: Scentless

A dog violet is not scented.

It is not the tears of an enchanted cow

Or the modesty of Mary

It does not have rounded sepals

A dog violet is not a Shakespearean boy

Dressed as a girl dressed as a boy

It does not make witty remarks at a moment’s notice.

A dog violet is not scented.

A dog violet is not deeply rooted

It is not tall; its leaves have no thorns or prickles

It does not only grow by mossy stones

And is not necessarily rolled round in earth’s diurnal course

A dog violet is not scented.

A dog violet does not need moist earth or deep.

is not discouraged by stones, thin soil or drought

its quiet purple flood is not stopped by a dry spring.

It is not solitary and does not turn its five-petalled face

 away from its fellows.  It does not run where it can creep

A dog violet is not scented.

A dog violet is not to be seen in hot summer days

or the long nights of winter

A dog violet is not particular about where it lives,

Treeshade, field or city street

A dog violet’s strength is not exceptional in anything

Except survival. 

Day 24: A heartfelt plea from the Woodland Trust and the Association for Reeves’ Muntjac

Smallest of verse forms

haiku stands eighteen inches

high at the shoulder.

Established widely through

escape and translocation

haiku are spreading

sensitive to cold

haiku’s small size is

ideal for city writing

they run hunched forward

rough coat, sharp toothed, small antlered

through the undergrowth

In season often

Haiku mate all through the year

And give birth quickly

Haiku will strip words

From other poetic forms:

Within their browse line.

Poets everywhere!

Haiku, omnivorous, pose

A serious threat.

Following a prompt from NapoWriMo 2021 to write a poem based on a factual article about an animal.

Day 22.For Earth Day: asparagus

I am Virabadhra

A green spear

Born of the earth’s grief

Pushing out through soft soil

I am warrior, comrade,

Shouting my anger at the sky.

I have come


to avenge Earth’s wounds.

Those who have slashed and burnt

And ripped out Earth’s entrails

Will drown in their own fire.

But when I remember

What I have done

Grief will feather my green hair

Like little sparrows.

Before my vengeance falls

I will be cut down,


Tender in the fat yellow bubbles

Of melted butter.

Day 20. Introduction

This began as an erasure poem and it ended up as a meeting between two poets from different centuries, Jane Taylor and Hollie McNish, both of whom have been belittled for writing about breastfeeding, children, and other things that their critics say don’t belong in proper poetry.