Sloe magic

Yesterday I thought I might find a poem for Paul Milataru’s magical photograph. A sonnet of sorts.

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Quiet, except for the clamour in my head,

the chirruping of sharp-beaked nagging

that competes with oriole music.


Still, except for the restless waves of anxiety, mimicking

the gentle swaying of boughs, and the clouds that drift

at a relentless pace across the unforgiving sky.


Peace, except in the world beyond the hedge, in almost

every heart, and the weight pushes against these barriers

with the force of twisted nature.


How to fight the noise and listen to the music beneath,

to still the turbulent troubled air and let peace fall like

a sunset, a spring shower, a smile in the darkness?


When moonlight leads the way along the lane and the owls cry,

when sloes glow dark as midnight pearls, I see where secrets lie.


Lilies and…

For the NaPoWriMo prompt, with apologies to Shakespeare and thanks for the loan of Sonnet 94.


I’ll not compare you to an evening sky,

Shot full of rainbows melting with the light,

A shadow only in the mem’ry’s eye,

When all is swallowed by the hungry night.

High praises are not what your ego lacks,

Your self-opinion soars with eagle’s wings,

Oblivious to any flaws and cracks,

A drab it preens, and as the peacock sings.

To compare you thus is hardly fair to birds,

Birdsong is sweet to hear and full of grace,

Unlike the fatuous flow of hollow words

From that blowhole in the middle of your face.

Give me a simple posy and staunch deeds;

Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds.

So many things

The NaPoWriMo prompt is to write a sad poem using short lines, and the example given is a loose form of sonnet. I’ve already written a strict form sonnet, so this is an easier one, though the lines are probably too long to be considered ‘short’ and the theme is more regret than tragedy.


There are so many things I’d like to see

Before I leave this life,

So many things I’d like to be,

More than just daughter, mother wife.

There are still things I want to do

With these hands, this mind

While they still work, I thought you knew—

Perhaps familiarity and love grew too entwined.

I intend to dig down to the heart

You’ve never understood through all these years

And shape my clay with my own art,

If there’s still time for more than angry tears.

But my sands sift as fast as for the others,

The unfulfilled daughters, wives and mothers.

She asks to know his heart

It’s poetry writing month. Aren’t they all? Jumping in at the deep end on day one with a sonnet.

If you fear you may not want to stay,

The habits built of clay or set in stone

Uproot, it’s better you should turn away

And leave these fields to grow and thrive alone.

If you can watch the nesting birds and hear

Their sweet songs woven new at each spring dawn,

Yet yearn for city noise and still revere

The bustle and the dirt, you’ll watch forlorn.

To live with me among the grasses tall,

Your heart must treasure moments of wild bliss,

Swift flight of swallow or the red leaves fall,

The bite of winter cold and summer’s kiss.

If this rose with petals white as snow

Is worthless in your eyes, I’ll let you go.

Thoughts on writing iambic verse

All we write can be broken up into lines of ten syllables. It doesn’t make it poetry even if the word you rhyme’s at the end. It’s not all that’s at stake. And when the end word’s not even a true rhyme, all connection with the form is lost. For example, true does not rhyme with tree, nor does lost rhyme with last or with closet. Yet we persist in calling sonnet what is a collection of fourteen lines that may or may not end in a rhyme of sorts, contain ten syllables but sounds discordant. We need to learn to listen harder if we want to create verse that’s barder.

I have taken that bit of diatribe and turned it into a ‘sonnet’.


All we write can be broken up into

Lines of ten syllables. It doesn’t make

It poetry even if the word you

Rhyme’s at the end. It’s not all that’s at stake.


And when the end word’s not even a true

Rhyme, all connection with the form is lost.

For example, true does not rhyme with tree,

Nor does lost rhyme with last or with closet.


Yet we persist in calling sonnet what

Is a collection of fourteen lines that

May or may not end in a rhyme of sorts,

Contains ten syllables but sounds discord-


Ant. We need to learn to listen harder

If we want to create verse that’s barder.


Compare that non-sonnet, to this. That is what a sonnet should ‘sound’ like.

The deepest truths

Another sonnet for the dverse prompt.


If I told you I was leaving would your heart

Break like a crystal glass, and would dismay

Fill your eyes to brimming that we’d part;

Would you swallow pride and plead with me to stay?

I watch you sleeping, moonlight smooths the frowns

With silver softness—am I in your dreams?

If only I could swim where midnight drowns

And tell you all is really as it seems.

I take your hand, still sleeping, fingers curl

Around mine like a child’s, with boundless trust,

And feel a deep and joyful truth unfurl,

That what we have will live when all is dust.


The deepest truths lie in heart’s words unspoken,

In eyes unhooded dances true love’s token.

If you had told me all those years ago

A sonnet for the dverse prompt. I’ve only just remembered to look at the prompt and don’t have time to write a new one this evening. This is the first sonnet I ever wrote. I’ll try another one tomorrow if I have time.


If you had told me all those years ago,
Just one small part of what has come about,
I’d scarce have had the strength to stem the flow
Of joy that swept before it every doubt.
If you had said you’d stay, my life to share,
Through all the trials, the hardships that we’d face,
Would I have tended my love with such care,
Or, grown complacent, fallen from your grace?
Looking back I see how pain ran deep,
Your eyes aglitter for the squandered past,
Regret that you had sold your freedom cheap,
Uncertain that this fragile love could last.
But now your touch, your eyes, a look, explain
That sorrows past and heartaches weren’t in vain.

When I doubt happiness

First  task of the morning, write a sonnet for the OctPoWriMo prompt.


I look out onto misted dripping trees,

And hear the fading voice of autumn sing,

Among the browning leaves piled by the breeze;

Is this the dream I hoped that time would bring?

These sodden fields where only pheasants call,

Their hoarse bird voices plaintive and forlorn,

Was this the dream, this bleak and foggy fall,

When gunshots break the peace of every dawn?

Dreams are formed from some deep-seated need,

A future shaped, a light that beckons on

To follow, though our lives change from that seed

Of first green youth, but now that youth is done,

I marvel still at beauty, every sound

Of nature, for here true heart’s ease is found.

Dark falls so fast

Not quite a sonnet for Frank Hubany’s dverse challenge. I’m fond of iambic pentametre.


Dark falls so fast, the year spins to a close,

Clouds rush across the darkening sunset sky,

The leaves are turning, falling is the rose,

Our hours dwindling with the sun’s last sigh.

No twilight lingers where the fox and hare

Dance with the swirling of the pearly mist,

Cold teeth are baring in the evening air,

And autumn’s cheek grows cold with winter kissed.

Would that the balmy wind, so full of joy

At summer’s brink, when all the world was green,

Blow still among these tired boughs that ploy

Beneath the north wind’s bite, bitter and keen.

Yet if this autumn’s gold was never shed,

Would spring from winter’s blood ever be bled?