Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Sudden absence in his kiss
freezes her veins,
frosts her heart.

The king size bed stretches
under rumpled white sheets
like tundra.

The crystal at the window
mocks with rainbows
from a distant sun.

Tears lie cold on her cheek.

Previously published in Poetry Scotland

Absence for Totally Optional Prompts

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Dead Kennedy's gig and a senryu

The Dead Kennedys were excellent in concert last night! The venue was crowded but everyone was good natured, as they generally are at these types of gigs. I found myself right at the front 'in the mosh pit' at one point, something I generally avoid as I'm always worried I'll lose my glasses! But its great fun in there and that's where my partner always hangs out. The band played all their crowd pleasing old songs (California Uber Alles, Holiday in Cambodia etc) but we were treated to a 'brand new song' to prevent us living in the past. It was a great night. Have to say though I've not had such bad tinnitis since, well the last time we saw the Dead Kennedy's in concert, same venue a few years ago. This senryu, vaguely based on observation at the gig, suits Mad Kane's Haiku prompt (this week the theme is dating)

alone at the bar -
she watches her new boyfriend
dancing with his pals.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Eerie by Moonlight

The graveyard is dark, eerie at full moon
Honeysuckle scents the light of the moon

The boy down the road becomes a werewolf
and gives the neighbours a fright at full moon

Gravestones are lifted and vampires break free
to find people to bite under the moon

Inner city streets are crowded tonight -
street gangs and demons fight under the moon

When Romeo gets lost in the garden
Juliet shivers at sight of the moon.

Chapter 4 of Unleash the Poem Within suggests that the ghazal is a perfect form for daydreaming and letting your mind wander. I was obviously thinking of Buffy the Vampire Slayer in these daydreams! I wrote another ghazal on Crafty Green Poet here.

The Ghazal Page , an excellent resource to find out more about this fascinating form, is currently holding a competition for moon ghazals.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Unleash the Poet Within by Wendy Nyemaster

This book is an intriguing mix of self help and poetry manual. The tone of the book is relaxed, chatty and women centred. Each chapter takes the reader through a specific poetic form (eg the sonnet) or type (eg the letter poem) and suggests which form is best for writing about certain personal situations, giving examples written by the women in the author's writing circle and titles of examples by famous female poets that can be accessed online or from a library. The focus is on using poetry to explore personal issues and to allow writing to access emotions and discover solutions to personal problems. Form and craft are described in a simple (sometimes simplistic) and straightforward way that demistifies poetry and enables the reader to feel confident about starting to write. There are also nice lists of tips for each form, along with a selection of ideas around areas such as sharing poetry, how to make time to write and using poetry in journalling.

My problem with formal verse has always centred on why to use a particular form, I'm a prolific haiku writer because that is a form that suits my way of looking at the world and the things that inspire me, but I don't like to write, for example, a sonnet, just for the sake of it, I want to feel it's the right form for the thoughts I want to express. This book really helped me with its chapters outlining why each form suits particular situations, eg:

sonnet - working out emotions
sestina - making sense of memory
ghazal - allowing your mind to wander
haiku - living in the moment
villanelle - accessing your inner voice
ode - dwelling on what is good in your life

I know that each form suits other situations too, but this was really helpful in getting me to think about form and when I can use it. So in the next few weeks and months, watch out for posts here and on Crafty Green Poet containing my first ghazals and sestinas!

The book is aimed at beginner poets and women interested in poetry as therapy. As the author says: 'I decided to write a book on poetical form because it is something I can wholeheartedly believe in and can provide personal testimony about. It can help women to live fuller, more in tune lives...' It's a book about allowing creativity to help you explore personal issues and though it is also useful for free verse writers who want to start exploring form, it is not a manual for the experienced poet who wants to develop skills in writing quality formal verse.

Unleash the Poem Within by Wendy Nyemaster, published by Source Books.

Sunday, May 18, 2008


I give you my secrets
like chocolates.

Shinily gift-wrapped
and sweet
with a nugget of truth
buried deep.

I give you my secrets
like chocolates.

Please do not share.

previously published in Envoi

Read Write Poem

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Saving Face

Years ago his skilled fingers would
reshape wounded heroes,
make a face worth living with again.

He rescued people from childhood
deformity, ravaging disease
to face the world anew.

Now the surgery fills with ageing
prima-donnas, forgotten actors,
last minute’s discarded It girls,

Clamouring for attention, for
nips and tucks to buy
back a plastic copy of their youth.

He pulls back living flesh
creating hollow masks
from which old eyes will stare.

His fingertips do not have the skill
to heal away their
paralysing fear of life itself.

Previously published in Poetry Scotland

Transformation for Totally Optional Prompts

Friday, May 02, 2008

Thursday, May 01, 2008


My prompt on Science Fiction poetry is now up at Read Write Poem - you can read it here! I'll be posting my response to the prompt on Crafty Green Poet next Monday, but meanwhile here is a scifaiku I recently wrote:

strange shapes
in the sky
green glow

I posted another scifaiku on Crafty Green Poet here.