The Silence Still Talks

The Silence Still Talks

Confined to a tiny apartment

terrified of a viral threat

she rocks in her chair listening

to voices in the corridor

Who is going out?

To voices in the street

Who are they? Are they infected?

She turned off the TV months ago

when depression became too much to bear.

In the silence she waits

for the danger to pass

listening to the constant

chatter of her mind.

Through tears she writes to loved ones

Between crazed sentences she wishes them well

“Perhaps” she says, “we’ll meet again at Christmas.”

Where Are The Rats To Race

Keyboards lie on sanitised desks – untapped

Chairs unspun, un-sat upon

Desks un-leant upon

Carpet pile untrodden

Blinds frozen in stasis

Printers silent

Photocopiers still

Scanners lidded

Drawers unopened

Ink and gossip dried up

Chatter a mere memory

Celebrations unmarked

Frustrations unheard

No banter

No politics

No coercion

No persuasion

No orders

No edicts


No targets

No graphs

No trackers

No visits planned

No meetings booked

No greetings

No snide looks

No passing in the corridor

No coffee shop chat

Lift doors unopened

Car doors without chips

Carpark without cars

The sun rises and sets

Shadows cast unwitnessed

Rush hour slow

Abandoned roads

Traffic lights flicker

No drivers to heed

Where are the rats to race?


I May Be Wrong


I may be wrong but I’ll say it anyway

surely that is the point.

Jung’s theory of circumambulation says

“Give it a go”

Follow that glimmering thing

that interests you

down the path of development.

Heed the call to adventure

let new parts of you manifest.

Be the fool as precursor to

the Jedi master.


It’s an error ridden process

to venture on as interests dawn.

Progress is punctuated by pitfalls

and catastrophes

as you learn what you shouldn’t do

before concluding what you should.

Unlearning is painful and here

Nietzche leaps in demanding

a will to stupidity.


Take those tentative steps

each moving away from the starting point

leading you to a new more focused

vantage point.

Embrace failure

reject all that you’ve been told,

discover your authenticity

or roll over.

Join the paralysed ponderers

waiting for a perfect idea,

a less stupid idea.

Waiting for a perfect opportunity

to present itself…

waiting, waiting…

until you rot to dust and fade away.


So don’t stop.

Move a little further along the path.

Don’t stop learning.


to be the best that you can be.


Sunflowers and Old Boots

I recently stumbled upon a website which had the letters written by Vincent Van Gogh to his brother, family and friends. Completely absorbed I was lost to research for hours on end, compelled to learn more of this painters fascinating life story. Here is the resulting “found” poem which uses lines written by Van Gogh himself to describe his experiences, collated in a way which hopefully does justice to his tale. All credit given to Leo Jansen, Hans Luijten and Nienke Bakker who edited and published his letters on line.

Sunflowers and Old Boots


This horror of life

I disgust myself as I look upon faces terrified by

my attacks of crisis.


Unexpected voices sound in my head

Things appear to change before my eyes

frightening me beyond measure.


Leaving a cracked jug of acute melancholy

a repulsion for life, not wanting to move

not wanting to wake again.


But extreme sluggishness is a crime!

I must climb back up from this dejected state.

I am very much behind. I have lost too much time.


I have dazzling ideas in my head, more than I could ever keep up with.

If only I’d been able to work without illness

How many things I could have done, what the land would tell me!


Those who don’t understand, that art preoccupies

accuse me of working too fast

but I should work as hard as a shoemaker, assiduously to make progress.



Money is the enemy before the troops

One cannot deny or

forget it


My dear brother I have bought a suit for 35 francs

But it will last the year

Yet I have need of shoes and a few pairs of drawers


I must paint to recover the money to produce

Perhaps, one day,

I’ll be able to repay all that I have spent.


If I had private means perhaps

My mind would be freer

To do art for art’s sake.


I could sell my bed for the price of a train ticket

That I may see you again

but no, I am condemned to inconveniences.


I must stay locked up in the asylum

So not to inflict suffering on those I love.

Here I don’t frighten anyone.


The sufferings of anguish aren’t funny when caught in a crisis

But comfort can be found amongst inmates

Who show kindness to one another – it isn’t so sad.

One man hasn’t stopped talking or shouting for a fortnight

Another honourable madman always wears a hat,

spectacles and carries a cane.


Some howl, rave, are manic and angry, some filthy, some dangerous.

The food smells musty and is hard to digest

But there is gentleness, we look after each other.


Frequent and decisive attacks mean I’m forbidden to paint,

Apprehensive of a relapse, I suffer a thwarted artistic will.

It’s a shipwreck of a journey.


In Spring, out in the park,  I have the clarity for work

But the winter is dangerous

I am too damaged by grief.


I fear for what reason remains

And capacity for work may be lost.


I long to be freed from surroundings and circumstances

I don’t understand and be once more

Bathed in a benevolent sunshine.


A warm handshake as I say goodbye,



*Lines taken from edited by Leo Jansen, Hans Luijten and Nienke Bakker

Van Goghs boots


Napowrimo day 22 – Write a poem about flight or flying.



We carried our clothes in Tesco carrier bags and took off on foot

staying with friends “just for a few days”

sleeping in box rooms on camp beds or the couch.

I was always embarrassed letting anyone see my faded nightdress

as I walked to the bathroom to clean my teeth.

I missed home, Grandma, the corner shop, my books, my own bed

I never understood why we were always leaving.


Image by Felicianose-art-hobbyist

Nic Hulme 1972 – 20XX

It’s Napowrimo Day 20 and the prompt; to write a poem with your name in it.

Nic Hulme 1972 – 20XX


One day a grey plaque will be engraved

Nicola Hulme 1972 – 20XX

flowers lying across my coffin, music playing

a line or two of remembrance may be uttered

and that will be all.


The sun won’t light up my day

the hush of the tides wont soothe my soul

stars wont inspire me to dream

buds will no longer hold promise.


My favourite perfume wont delight

new books wont intrigue

songs wont take me back to treasured times

your touch will leave me cold.


No emails will be sent, nor cards written

I wont call, there’ll be no conversation

there may be the odd mention of my name

as Mum or Nic – that will be all.


Will I have done all that I wanted to do?

If not, will I know? Will there be time to regret?

Will the next phase – should there be one-

be so amazing, these questions are insignificant?


Was it the drugs or the brain closing down

that prompted Steve Jobs to utter

in his dying breath

“Oh wow! Oh wow! Oh wow!”?

Live now or that will be all.

Not Sorry!

I absolutely loved writing tonight’s poem, I do like a rant and felt thoroughly cleansed after this one. In response to Napowrimo Day 19, write a “not sorry” poem – here it is.

Not Sorry


Social distancing from an introspective perspective,

could be considered social rebalancing.

I now appreciate my immediate family more than ever,

when I’m sick they care for me

when I’m hungry they feed me.

when I’m low their hugs lift me.

This is my inner circle, my sanctuary.

So, Mr Fluff from Zero Town, from this day forward

I won’t be putting your needs above mine and my family’s.

Your emails to request X by deadline Y will be deleted.

You are an outsider from the outer circle and let’s be honest

whenever I have satisfied your requests at the expense of time

with my family, you have been grateful for nanoseconds

forgotten it soon after and only remembered me again when

you want something more.

I’m not sorry.

To those in my mid-circle; I love you

But I won’t be making myself ill running around to please both you

and my family. If you love me you’ll understand and not be peeved

if I don’t reply to your posts, comments, invitations, messages, emails

immediately or within your accepted and expected time scale.

I love you but I’m not sorry.

To society at large; if my make-up is not perfect, my “roots” visible

My weight off your chart, my diet lacking,

If I’m not quick enough, not enough – so what?

You are not in any circle of mine, just landscape, background noise.

I’m not sorry.



Art by Agnes Cecile

Don’t Make Me Go Back

Almost back on track with Napowrimo, Day 17 – a sequence poem



Don’t Make Me Go Back




A smooth soft wrist, warm to the touch

with a healthy pulse, smiles back at me

it hasn’t seen a watch in 3 weeks.




I’m late!

For what?





A 6am alarm triggers rocketing blood pressure

Lobotomised drivers with hollowed faces and deadened eyes

commute on the 9-5 M60

a cacophony of sirens and horns their weird theme tune.

A 6pm return of my fractured shadow


Pigeon Paranoia

Catching up to Napowrimo Day 15 writing both a positive and negative

Pigeon Paranoia


Shadowy pigeons perch along the apex of the roof

fat balled bodies silhouetted by the sun.

Their dark forms threaten.


Why sit in a line so still? What do you intend?

What scheme do you conjure? Is it to peck out my eyes

in a frantic feathered mob attack?


Or do you simply wait for the store to close,

the car park to empty,

to scavenge fallen crumbs?

Aldi Sunset

Still catching up on Napowrimo, this is the response to Day 14  “celebrate a place, thing or idea” This poem evolved midway into a poetic prose…or possibly drifted into a stream of consciousness.


Aldi Sunset  – April 2020


An acre of tarmac; white lines map territorial rights

measured in inches of space filled

with the low growl of engines.


Security guards count single adult entries held 2 metres apart

in a snaking queue, but there’s no hurry

only patience and impatience marks time.


Waiting in the car, my daughter takes care of the shopping

It’s a new boundary for her to tear down.

We both win.


From this new vantage point, the clatter of metal

slamming together in the trolley park

seems musical.


Early evening light dapples through popular trees

edging the car park; a precious necklace of beauty

never previously noticed


As families load car boots with groceries, domestic chatter

is as serene as birdsong in this new oasis of peace

in the surburban landscape.


Cheesy 70s hits blare from an open car window

the driver’s paunch strains buttons on his acidic striped shirt.

He sings along, parking, reversing, correcting, reversing

aligning, reversing in time with the beat.


Sunglasses perch on bleached blonde hair, a dainty lady struggles

to manoeuvre an overladen trolley towards her Audi convertible.

She pauses to consider how her bulk bought goods will fit

into the postage stamp boot. After 3 bags fill the space, she loads the interior

propping up wine with frozen peas and cartons of lemon sorbet.


Her sultry daughter remains seated throughout, scowling at a world

which doesn’t sufficiently entertain, glowering at the domestic inconvenience,

wondering why no-one has responded to her latest Instagram selfie.