Can You?

Can you smell that?
Earth’s firedamp lingering.
We need more than flames,
more than metal sieves,
to ward off danger.
Old Humphry swung his lamp in mindless times,
when men were cheap and seams were rich with black.

Can you hear that?
Diminished songs of life.
Yellow feathers float
silent as unsung
nursery rhymes,
and coils of ropes no longer skipped or jumped.
The playground’s empty, save for slurried stacks.

Can you see that?
Where black stones mark the spot?
seems a pointless thing
when we close our eyes.
But when the flame expires and all is dark,
What then, my world, will ever bring you back?

Linking this to The Sunday Blog Spot and today’s Sunday Muse photo prompt. ( Tried an extension of a duodora and went for three verses.



Writing Prompt Five

until the moon wakes you,
gives you nightly life.
Tethered to a scream,
a scratchy rustle,
the moan of something deep within the throat.
Until the dawn returns and you are still.

A heap of cloth and bones,
until you’re fashioned,
made to dance a jig.
Tears of yellow sway
and lick at every twirl and ragged beat,
until you’re caught and turned to ash – until.

This is my second duodora , and I rather like it as a form. This post is linked to a Creative Writing Ink photo prompt (


Photo by Thomas Stephan, Unsplash.

I hear whispers.
Mischief tells a dark tale.
It weaves cruel lies,
catching in the minds
of no better folk,
as potent as a curse to raise the dead,
which cannot be unsaid and never dies.

I hear whispers
as smoke coils in shadows.
No flame to lick me,
just the smart of tongues.
I feared this night would come as doors slam shut.
The wickedness of rumour spits and cries.

Lisa is on duty at the d’Verse Poets Pub and has set a spookily tricky challenge to write a duodora about an aspect of human behaviour irritating to us, and with a Halloween theme. Here is my attempt!

Still shining.

Clouds are not really white, or grey, or pink –
they are a mix of all the light put into them,
(I read somewhere).

I saw a cloud above the bay,
a dazzling iridescence of such brightness
it hurt my eyes to look for long.

I wondered, then, if you were up there,
(the random ’there’ where we put all our loved ones),
because surely only pure light would mark your place.

Perhaps you looked down, at that moment,
and saw your family,
and recognised us despite the years

and shone your message,
onto the pummelled pewter sheet before us
and perhaps you said

look up, at this shining cloud,
and know that I know I was loved
and I would say

how long have I waited for that message?
Three score years is less than
a raindrop in an ocean of loss.

An amble around West Bay the other day with my eldest son and husband found us looking at a striking cloud, shining over the sea. With the sun behind it the cloud was quite dazzling, as was the reflected light on the water below.

I blame the cat.

All was calm and all was clean,
Jack’s trilby brushed, his shoes a-gleam.
Cheese and pickle wrapped to go,
all set to leave for the metro.

His family smiled, encouraging,
crossing fingers, everything.
The family cat seemed wishful too,
jumping up with furry mew.

But sadly, no, the cat’s intent
was the goldfish bowl’s contents,
and with a swoosh poor goldie poured
flapping onto the hall floor.

The trilby fell into the mess,
Jack’s shoes and socks were fully wet.
His suit was spattered with fish flakes,
his lunch got trodden in the wake.

His family gasped – calamity!
Jack’s longed-for job was not to be.
But wait, Jack spied an answer near,
he’d make his first day, never fear.

Some overalls hung on the wall,
snow boots stood by the front door.
Quickly changed, and off Jack sped,
a goldfish bowl upon his head.

Carrie’s photo prompt this weekend at the Sunday Muse blogspot is another quirky one. Had great fun with this. See the link at :


Image preview

I rested my heart here,
For a brief season,
Which became a decade,
Then more.

No glint of distant armour
To catch my fabled eye,
Just the crackle and spark
From a meagre fire,
And scant light where shadows flit,
Growing fat as a lord’s bairn,
Then thin as a peasant’s,
Keeping the rhythm
Of my foot, my hands,
Bound to a constant wheel
And a never-ending yearn.

I found this spinning chair at a charity shop recently and couldn’t resist it.


landscape photography of brown mountains
Photo by Sergey Pesterev, Unsplash.

Nomads said:
‘Know the sky, the shift of light, the hues of orange.’

Can I die of longing to return?

I imagine knots of wind and dust and the scent of
something called home.

This is a (very short) erasure poem taken from Susan Rich’s Poem here below in full, entitled ‘.Lost By Way of Tchin-Tabarden’. This is in response to Laura’s challenge at the d’Verse Poets Pub. For more details look at the link at:

Nomads are said to know their way by an exact spot in the sky,
the touch of sand to their fingers, granules on the tongue.
But sometimes a system breaks down. I witness a shift of light,
study the irregular shadings of dunes. Why am I traveling
this road to Zinder, where really there is no road? No service station
at this check point, just one commercant hawking Fanta
in gangrene hues. C’est formidable! he gestures — staring ahead
over a pyramid of foreign orange juice.
In the desert life is distilled to an angle of wind, camel droppings,
salted food. How long has this man been here, how long
can I stay contemplating a route home?
It’s so easy to get lost and disappear, die of thirst and longing
as the Sultan’s three wives did last year. Found in their Mercedes,
the chauffeur at the wheel, how did they fail to return home
to Ágadez, retrace a landscape they’d always believed?
No cross-streets, no broken yellow lines; I feel relief at the abandonment
of my own geography. I know there’s no surveyor but want to imagine
the aerial map that will send me above flame trees, snaking
through knots of basalt. I’ll mark the exact site for a lean-to
where the wind and dust travel easily along my skin,
and I’m no longer satiated by the scent of gasoline. I’ll arrive there
out of balance, untaught; ready for something called home.


Winter’s Ash

micro photography of leaves
Photo by Oliver Hihn, Unsplash

Each turn winds us closer,
Each spent leaf flicked from a branch,
Each autumn gust and moan,
Each buffeted swooping flock.
Until winter seeps again, coal smoky,
Over the step, under the lintel, along the scuffed boards,
And coats our hearths with its ash.

Sarah is on duty at the d’Verse Poets Pub and invites us to write a quadrille, including the word ‘ash’. Take a look at her post and the creative results at :