This street

The NaPoWriMo prompt is to write a portrait poem. This is the portrait of a street in the form of a haibun.



This street is one of those where the smell is not of cars or rubbish or urine. Old and clean and a little damp, it hits the senses like a flashback memory. It leaks from beneath the lid of a plat mijoté and slips through the open window. A scent of clean linen, neatly folded in mahogany commodes, hangs sedate and comforting, amid the earthy scents of cats on window ledges, stone-flagged pavements, and pots of scented geraniums.

I walk tangled in the odours of sun on stone and rain in puddles, and the gutter runs yellow with pollen. It brings back the magic of just out of school, skipping and football and marbles, new bread and wax polish. It recalls grandparents and clean aprons, Saturday shopping, evenings sitting outdoors, a childhood of leg-swinging and upside-down hanging.

It smells of home.


Sun falls, rain patters,

years turn, the stone remembers

in case we forget.


On the street

She’s there again
The young woman
Lying on the step
Her face looks red and puffy
Despite the tan colour of her skin.
Beer cans roll in the gutter,
And her rucked up sleeve reveals
A host of track marks on her arms.
But her clothes are good
And when she speaks
It isn’t in a helpless babble.
There is a hardness to her
As though she’s pressed the self-destruct
And I wonder what he did to her
That makes her care for nothing
But oblivion.