My Poor Abused Friend – Poetry

In youth, you were hypnotic, inviting reciting,

invocation with intonation,

around a campfire charms and incantations

uniting the village, outlet of emotion,

stories told of heroic devotion

conquering enemies, stealing love’s kiss

of purest love, of Heaven’s bliss.

but academia tied a knot ‘round your neck

restricting your voice, removing choice

cutting, shaping, controlling, conforming,

boxing your soul into stanzas and form

with counted metre they drove the stake home

Elitists emerged declaring “this is the way”

confining performance to plays and stage

in plush theatres for the rich who paid

the poor

left out in the cold.

Heralded as art your heart lay dormant

amongst dust and cobwebs still conformant

but a spirited few saw through, sought out

your cindered Beauty; “Truth will out”.

and so your time has come, it’s now.

the yoke that choked is smashed and broken

words are alive and passionately spoken

your energy taken up by a youth, who

taste and chew the new true you,

the devout, who speak out, shout out, call out,

slam down, throw down,

giving the low down,

honouring

your crown,

standing on streets, stamping feet to your beat

whilst denouncing cheats who held you

captive.

You are once more free to be

unleashed beauty

with depth of sea , height of sky

asking why

of you and me, bearing souls,

uncovering truth

appealing to old whilst captivating youth

not held to a page or strapped to a stage

accessible to all, who hear your call

hearts open wide allow you inside,

bring darkness to light,

revealing scars and bites,

what lies beneath, wounds and grief

making sense of confusion, turmoil and pain

and through you

we discover

we are all the same.

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Songbird

My heart swells, with the Spring song sang

by the soloist in sycamore tree

My spirit rises, as his tune stirs

hazy sun-warmed memories.

I drink in, the surroundings

with eyes unveiled and see

diamond dew drops dripping

from budding apple tree.

Where did you go little songbird?

When snows filled winter glen

To whom did you sing whilst away?

Do they miss you now as I did then?

 

Day 25 of Napowrimo and the prompt is as follows: write a poem that

  • Is specific to a season
  • Uses imagery that relates to all five senses (sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell)
  • Includes a rhetorical question

spring

Bumfuzzled

I awoke bumfuzzled from a terrible dream.

My bed clothes cattywampus through

my incessant tossing and turning.

Of course re-telling it now, the dream would seem

pure taradiddle, but I tell it to steady my nerves:

A young man hollered gardyloo from a window above

before throwing a bucket of slops into the street.

A lady oblivious to the warning was drenched as a result.

In a state of ill-willie she yelled billingsgate at the man.

They faced off and from there it escalated to the point

that a snickersnee threatened.

I tried to flee from the scene, running widdershins.

I had severe collywobbles from sheer terror.

Luckily, the pair disappeared (as they tend to do in dreams)

but now I came upon a  smashed clock tower

with its gubbins hanging out!

A friendly clockmaker fixed it and we were conjubilant

to hear it chime on the hour with precision.

This coincided with my alarm clock ringing, rousing me from slumber.

Needless to say, I was not well-rested.

clock gubbins

Day 24 and the Napowrimo prompt asks: Locate a dictionary, thesaurus, or encyclopedia, open it at random, and consider the two pages in front of you to be your inspirational playground for the day. Maybe a strange word will catch your eye, or perhaps the mishmash of information will provide you with the germ of a poem.

Without dictionary or encyclopedia to hand I googled “word of the day” and fell upon Merrium-Webster’s funny-sounding words. I quite enjoyed this.

 

 

Dust

A shirt is shaken, sprawled over a board.

Her smile is fixed, eyes glazed

hours pass by as the iron runs.

Life evaporates with the steam.

The corpse is well turned out,

the headstone reads “she kept a tidy house”.

 

Dust piles upon dust

falling layer upon layer

dancing on sunbeams in shafts of light

piercing silent rooms.

Bed clothes lie ruffled.

breakfast pots sit in the sink.

 

No-one cares they run through fields

climb over styles

gather mud on their boots

eat picnics on blankets

whilst the tap drips into a bowl

waiting, waiting, waiting.

 

Wind-blown hair, sun burnt skin,

smiles light up the meadow,

birds chatter along with laughter

on the breeze, the dandelion clock

sends parachutes to mark the hours

of this endless day.

fun in fields

How Could It Be?

How Could it Be?

 

I see you now and again across a restaurant

the red of your jumper catching my eye,

the blue and white check shirt pulling at the sleeve of my attention.

When I look up, of course, it’s not you

How could it be?

 

I see you in the hospital waiting room hunched

in an uncomfortable plastic chair.

I see the top of your head through thinning hair

still carefully combed

when he looks up, of course, it isn’t you

How could it be?

 

I imagine I hear you nod your approval

over my shoulder as I read a well-constructed poem

or exceptional piece of literature.

I hear your slow and deliberate consideration;

“Hmmmmm, yeeeeessss” but it isn’t you

How could it be?

 

Six years have passed.

Your presence hasn’t waned as one would expect it to

like a receding shadow or fading bloom.

You are as real to me now as you were in life

though I cannot choose to visit you,

only treasure the glimpses I am gifted;

at the concert hall, the bookshop,

in the armchair.

 

Day 18 of Napowrimo and the challenge was to write an elegy of your own, one in which the abstraction of sadness is communicated not through abstract words, but physical detail.

This poem is about my Father-In-Law who never seems too far away, even now.

 

From there to here

I am of hard cobblestones

that broke developing bones

of damp bricks and dense drizzle skies.

I am of the baggy grey sock

that slumps down the leg

and is constantly hitched up.

I am of skipping ropes tied

to flaky paint lampposts

of hot buttered toast suppers.

I am of backyard washing lines,

coal holes and metal bin lids.

I’m of children home by lamplight

and Grimm Fairytales.

Of job centres and blue collar jobs

and paydays prayed for weekly.

Now, I’m of tidy semi,

tarmac roads, motorway hell

of clinical 9-5 desk job

office politics, niceties, pleasantries.

I’m conditioning brilliant white socks,

limiting lightly buttered whole meal toast.

I’m central heating and condenser dryer.

I’m of assessed, measured, compared,

evaluated, tracked and monitored kids

and censored fairytales.

It’s Day 11 of Napowrimo and the prompt is to tell of where you are from and where are you now. Please excuse the poor punctuation… this is written on the hoof as always.

Goodnight

If the music never ends

If no-one call time 

If the sun never sets

If the clocks don’t chime

If the tides don’t ebb

If the moon doesn’t beckon

If we never say goodnight 

I will believe in heaven 

 

Day 6 of the Napowrimo challenge is to write a poem of possibilities.

Compass

Compass

 

I wandered lonely as a cloud

My compass buried beneath the earth

He was my North, my South, my East and West

 

The last grain of sand tore him from my grasp

through the hourglass out of reach

I wandered lonely as a cloud

 

From our first encounter

until our last

He was my North, my South, my East and West

 

Without him I had no left or right

No above, no below, no soul.

I wandered lonely as a cloud

 

I roamed alone over hill and stone

no destination, no meaning, no goal.

I wandered lonely as a cloud

He was my North, my South, my East and West

 

Today’s Napowrimo challenge was playing with format; write a poem that incorporates at least one of the following: (1) the villanelle form, (2) lines taken from an outside text, and/or (3) phrases that oppose each other in some way.

I chose to take lines from William Wordsworth’s “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” and WH Auden’s “Stop All The Clocks” in a villanelle poem. My opposites are wandering aimlessly and the points of a compass (slightly tenuous, perhaps!).

I’m really enjoying the stretch of the challenge and encourage everyone with a love of the written word to join in and have a go, even if you capture your poems in secret. Enjoy.

 

The Window

The Window

 

I stood on a chair and watched from the window.

Hours went by.

You came home happy and drunk.

I looked out into a sea of parents

wiped my make-up off

and walked home alone.

On the eve of my Wedding

you spent the night at your boyfriend’s.

My bridesmaid helped me into my dress the next day.

When my daughter was born you went shopping

for something suitable to wear for photographs.

I held her close with a full heart.

Now you view my work on gallery walls,

return home and watch from your window.

 

child at window

It’s Napowrimo Day 4 the challenge today was to write a sad poem using simple words. I love this style, plain and direct and leaves the reader to elicit the emotional impact.

 

Together

Together

 

The chores were the same but it was different.

The bed linen was now king size.

The mugs were chosen together

Large handles to accommodate his big hands

the colours to please her.

 

The supermarket shop was initially uncomfortable

and took twice as long.

What do we like to eat? Do we like the same things?

Which toothpaste? Which Milk?

 

Hanging his laundry on the washing line

seemed intensely personal

but he smiled at her as she did so

and she held his gaze.

hand holding together

Day three of Napowrimo and the challenge was to write something that involves a story or action that unfolds over an appreciable length of time. I’ve interpreted the prompt to include a glimpse into lives which have changed, time being the catalyst. I leave the reader to imagine what story could have unfolded to lead up to this point in their lives.

For those wanting to join in the Napowrimo challenge here is the link to today’s prompt. Napowrimo Day 3