Sunday, September 5, 2010

Poetry Bus Poem - Check post below for the latest passengers

See the post below for all this week's Poetry Bus passengers. The Bus doors are still open - anyone who wants to hop on board can just leave a comment and your link will be added to the post below.

The poem below is my last minute offering. Thanks to everyone who took the bus this week, and a big thanks to Totalfeckineejit for letting me take the wheel.

The day is full of the usual things:
Work; school; a trip to the shops;
small town traffic on the coast road.
Main Street’s deserted
now the summer crowds are gone.

We get back home to find
September sliding across the lawn.
It slips into the kitchen where I’m chopping meat,
roams upstairs, checks out our bed,
examines the empty rooms.

We flick on rings, lights are lit.
Potatoes are tested, the table set.
Outside moths and daddylonglegs gather.
Hannifin’s horse whinnies drily, and night
washes up against the windows and walls.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Bus is now taking passengers

I'll be updating this post in dribs and drabs, between work and other stuff, but
the first of this week's Poetry Bussers are already grabbing their seats.

First up is Jeanne Iris (Talk about prompt! She almost had this poem written before I'd even finished posting!)

And lagging not too far behind is Rachel Fox here

Next up is Carolina at Child of a frosty morning

And Jinksy has two poems for the bus this week. First off, a strangely prescient post here and also a freshly penned poem here

Next up is the Bug here

An owlish poem from the The doc

And a poignant one from  The Weaver of Grass

Next passenger is Niamh at Various Cushions

And lagging not too far behind is NanU here

While Lydia at Writerquake has been doing some serious transforming

And last for now, but certainly not least it's Poetry Bus progenitor Totalfeckineejit here

Some more passengers - Welcome aboard to

Crazy field mouse who's here

And Helen at Poetry Matters here

There's more - 

A big welcome to The Watercats who's also just hopped on board

And Peter at the Stammering Poet has penned a magical poem

Also to King of the camels, who's gone graphic

And to Heather over at Ragged old blogger. Welcome aboard!

Titus the dog has managed to grab a seat just before the bus takes off here

And next up is Poetikat

And last for now, but by no means least, Dominic Rivron at Made out of words here

Hold on! Patteran has just jumped on the bus here

And another latecomer, Karen at Keeping Secrets, is here

Not sure if chiccoreal is hoppping on the bus or not, but what the hell, we'll stick up her link here

I'll  be posting my offering sometime Sunday and getting round to read everyone's hopefully Monday. Meanwhile, keep those poems coming!

Friday, September 3, 2010

TFE'S Poetry Bus is ready to roll


The engine’s purring.

The windows have been cleaned.

The empty crisp packets, beer cans and aero bar wrappers have been removed.

The seats have been scrubbed and sprayed with febreze.

The Poetry Bus is read for its next journey.

Have a look at the following poem.

When I Set Out for Lyonnesse

When I set out for Lyonnesse,
A hundred miles away,
The rime was on the spray,
And starlight lit my lonesomeness
When I set out for Lyonnesse
A hundred miles away.

What would bechance at Lyonnesse
While I should sojourn there
No prophet durst declare,
Nor did the wisest wizard guess
What would bechance at Lyonnesse
While I should sojourn there.

When I came back from Lyonnesse
With magic in my eyes,
All marked with mute surmise
My radiance rare and fathomless,
When I came back from Lyonnesse
With magic in my eyes!

Thomas Hardy

Now write a poem about a moment of transformation.
It doesn’t necessarily have to take the form of a journey, like the poem above. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a personal transformation.
It can be about something as simple as freshly laid eggs transformed into a breakfast – A seed transformed into a plant – or a poem about a person transformed by circumstance into something completely new.

Now throw in a recurring line here and there.
And before and after pictures would be nice :)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Call back Friday to catch the Poetry Bus

Just happened to check TFE's place and realised I'm cheduled to drive the Poetry Bus this coming Monday.

I've fallen off the bus pretty spectacularly in the last few months, between work, vegetable garden, rebellious nine-year-old daughters, and other stuff, but I'm hoping to find a spot in the back row this autumn. Meanwhile, I solemnly promise to have the engine purring smoothly by Friday morning (or thereabouts).

Also meanwhile, here's a picture of just some of our spectacularly successful vegetable garden harvest.**

**Please note that the hand on which the pumpkin is placed is an unusually large one.

Monday, July 12, 2010

TFE's Poetry Bus with Dominic Rivron

A little late for the bus, but couldn’t resist Dominic Rivron's  prompt this week.

Weirdly enough, while I was sitting in the kitchen writing the words on the egg (as you do) a small green bird smashed into the window. Maybe it resented the fact that I was only going to mention magpies.

When I got outside it slid to the ground, but as I was going back into the house it was sitting up, looking a bit dazed. Because I want this post to end on a happy note, I will not dwell on the cat, just emerging from his night’s sleep, who hadn’t as yet spotted it.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Poetry Bus

I missed Totalfeckineejit’s bus last week, expertly driven by Poetikat, but am determined to catch it this week. Don't Feed the Pixies is the current driver, and one of the prompts posted by DFTP’s was to pick a sign, follow it to its destination, and write a poem about it.

For anyone who doesn’t have Irish, Béal Bán means white mouth, and is the name of the local strand.

Béal Bán

At the end of the road
there is a mouth -
a great white mouth –
that stretches the length
of the parish, cheek to cheek.

This morning it was hungry.

With a great white smile
it swallowed three fence posts
a section of sandy path,
and a nice chunk
of Noely Malone’s field.

It eats most things, apart from seaweed.

But there are some things
it treats with respect,
like the eggs planted firmly
in its shingled gums
by a small ringed bird that hovers, returns
to its nest, glowing with pale blue life.

Monday, June 14, 2010

TFE's Poetry Bus with Jeanne Iris

Jeanne Iris set two great tasks this week for Poetry Bussers over at Revolutionary Revelry.

The first asked us to sit somewhere and just listen for five or ten minutes. I haven't sat alone, doing absolutely nothing, for a while. This morning I managed about 40 seconds before I started fiddling with my phone, checking out the cat, worrying about my vegetables (the wind wooooooooooh the wind!)

The sort of poetry that comes from trying to pin sounds to a page is very different to what I usually write. Some people, like Irish poet Kit Fryatt, have a definite gift for translating pure sounds into words on a page, playing with sound, turning things on their head.
I struggled, and what I came up with is very rushed, but what was great about this task was it made me listen in a new way.

I did try doing the audio, but had terrible arguments with my phone, computer, and audacity.

A song thrush bripp brrripp ping reeeeeep pip
A distant delivery van, shhhhhhh, bump
The wind woooooooooh wish swish wooooh
A song thrush brrrip brrrrip brrrrrip creep pip
A drip drip drip of silence from
an upstairs room.
The wind husssssshhhh, shhhhhh, don’t wish
A songbird, brippp, rirrrrrip, ping ping bleeep
Swish swish swish three cars sail past
on a stretch of road below.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Just back from a writing workshop

Lots of explanations for the long gap since my last post - family hooley, work, family visiting (always involves lots of wine), work, and a writing workshop (and of course, more work).

The writing workshop was in screenwriting, of all things. Why I booked a writing workshop in screenwriting I don't know, seeing as how I write poetry and fiction and have never written a screenplay in my life, but I did, and I went, and I'm still not quite sure what I thought about it, or what I think of the whole writing workshop experience.

I'll be missing the poetry bus again this week (did I mention I'm busy with work??) but definitely plan to be on it next week.

And finally, I've two readings coming up, and am now officially nervous. Any tips gratefully received.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Monday's Poetry Bus Poem

This week's Poetry Bus is being driven by poet Barbara Smith.
Barbara gave us the first line: 'I got down on my knees and smelt the new linoleum,' and bus passengers were asked to take it from there, continuing with the theme of nice long lines.

The thing was, this line kept making me want to write a story - something about a houseproud wife kept under the thumb of her controlling husband, who focuses all her energies on maintaining the spotless cleanliness of her house and is finally tipped over the edge one day when her husband tells her the mashed potatoes are too salty and throws the plate, potatoes and all, against her pristine almond white wall. 

But this is The Poetry Bus and Poems are what's called for!
I eventually came up with this.

Virgin territory

I get down on my knees and smell the new linoleum.
Outside the day shakes off the dawn and settles in.
There is coffee in the pot. The cat sits by the door.
Beyond the kitchen window the mountains stretch and spread.

The table is set: mugs, plates, bread, and bowls of air.
Later today people will come, to eat and drink and talk.
Children will run back and forth across the grass outside.
The floor will breathe, take in the dirt, listen to what’s being said.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Totally random poem for totalfeckineejit’s poetry bus

Which this week is being driven by Padhraig Nolan.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Aaaaarghhhh - missed the Poetry Bus again

Another great prompt, this week from The Watercats, and still no poem.
Maybe it's because I'm not feeling very rock'n roll, (too old, a little too fat, stiff back), or maybe it's because I've never been much of a drugtaker (apart from alcohol, of course - oh, ok, and the odd xanax or two;).
As for trying to actually upload an audio file of myself reading the poem I couldn't write,. . . . . well . . .that part of it was never going to happen. (No microphone, no speakers, complete inability to master anything remotely technical).
Well done to Watercats for the great prompt, and next week, come hell or high water, I intend to be on that bus!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The poetry bus is heading to Argent’s

A big thanks to everyone who jumped on this week’s poetry bus, and to the brilliant totalfeckineejit for letting me drive. I love the bus - it's a totalfeckinbrilliant invention!

Now for the official Passing of the Keys Ceremony – Argent at Delusions of Adequacy over to you!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Last calll for the Poetry Bus - Check out the links in the post below!!!

The poetry bus is gathering speed - more links in this morning, all on the post below.

Despite some technical problems (like my feckin apostrophe key not working) its not too late to hop on board - The brakes are fine . . . .  I swear!

And as a special thank you to all bus passengers who jumped aboard, a special, luxurious selection of chocolate biscuits will be served at this morning's tea break (hey! my apostophe's back!)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Poetry Bus, The Poetry Bus, The Poetry Bus will be leaving shortly

Don't miss the Bus - Full instructions are listed in the post below:

A note to all Poetry Bus passengers: Tea and biscuits will be served halfway through the journey, when we'll be stopping off at the lay-by near the Rock of Cashel (and yes, chocolate digestives are available, Poetikat).

The driver would also like to inform passengers that the small odour problem has been addressed. 

Big thanks to Totalfeckineejit for letting me drive the legendary bus and welcome to the two passengers already on board:

Rachel Fox over at More about the song -

And Jeanne Iris over at Revolutionary Revelry

More passengers: 

Swiss is here

And following close behind here's Evaliin - welcome aboard guys

The bus is now open for business again Poetikat

And a big welcome aboard to last week's bus driver Niamh over at Various.

Peter Goulding's gone gothic over at The Stammering Poet

And Titus the dog tells a haunting story.

It's all about rugby over at NanU's

Enchanted Oak finds beauty in the precious

And totalfeckineejit  is seeing fireflies

Welcome aboard to karen who's treating passengers to one she done earlier (For anyone who's tried this link and found it didn't work TRY IT AGAIN - please :)

And finally, better late than never Dominic Rivron 

No - there s one more (feckin apostrophe key s gone again) Domestic Oubliette has made it by the skin of her teeth!

Wait up - heres another last minute passenger- its Argent!

Below is my own attempt (at something - I'm not sure what!)

The third eye

There is a place
between sanity
and madness.
My friend went there
when her third eye opened
and the next day she rang
from the supermarket
to say
how she saw God
in the check-out girl’s face.

I’ve only
visited once,
years ago,
at dinner,
when my husband
and his parents
and his grandmother
were replaced
by four elongated
silver shapes

who carried me
to the table
because I couldn’t walk
while spears
of silver
shot through their limbs.
And I thought then
that this was the truth.
That I just hadn’t seen it

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Jump on this week’s poetry bus for your very own spiritual journey . . . .

Yesterday upon the stair I met
a man who wasn’t there.
He wasn’t there again today.
I wish to God he’d go away.

Pull up a chair. It’s dark outside. I’ve just thrown another log on the fire (it may not be very seasonal, but stay with me on this, okay?). There’s a smell of wood-smoke. Someone takes off their shoes to warm their feet.
We’re drinking tea – nothing fancy, just Barry’s Gold Blend. Someone passes round the biscuits (Mcvities digestives). It’s the sort of night where being indoors in front of a fire is the best place in the world to be.
For a moment all that can be heard is the sound of satisfied munching. Then someone says, ‘has anyone got a story?’ And someone mumbles something about being too busy eating biscuits to tell stories. And then someone else clears their throat and says, well . . . My father used to tell a story when we were small. . …

He worked late nights as a sub-editor, see? And anyway, one night, after missing the last bus out of town, he got a taxi.
About ten miles out of town on a steep tree-covered hill, the taxi-driver told him a story.
He’d been travelling back towards the city after a late fare and he was struggling to stay awake when something loomed up on the road just inches ahead of him. It was a man, leading a donkey. To his horror, before he could fully register what was happening, the taxi-driver had driven over the exact spot where the man and donkey stood. But when he got out of the car there was nothing there . . .

The room shifts and spins and everything feels a little funny and someone says ‘I wish I hadn’t eaten those digestives’ and then suddenly we’re not sitting in a room anymore. Instead we’re sitting on a bus, and in the driver’s seat is a figure cloaked in white.

Over the tannoy a deep, musical voice says: ‘This week’s poetry bus will bring you back to a time when you believed that reality could bend and shift,
I don’t want stories about death, the voice continues.
I don’t want stories about horrible ghoosties and scary creatures.
I want proof, the voice rumbles. I want proof of higher life. I want uplifting stories of helpful spirits. I want stories of joyful moments of synchronicity that couldn’t have happened without the intervention of some higher power.
I want joy, I want tears, I want laughter, I want truth. I want moments or stories where the real world grazed the spirit one.
At the very least, I want a poem.

(and will whoever has removed their shoes please put them on again. A bus is a small, confined space. Show some appreciation for your fellow passengers, please.)

Ps: Have a look at this if you're still feeling a bit short on inspiration: (Yay - after many, many tries it actually works. Thanks Argent!)

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Poetry Bus poem – don’t forget it’s leaving from here next week!

Thanks a million to Niamh over at Various ( for this week’s prompt. I’m not the best with numbers or instructions, but I persisted until eventually I came up with the answer . . . . . 55. Right?

Just kidding. This week’s prompt actually forced me to come up with a new poem instead of digging into the archives, so double thanks to the driver. Very rough first draft below.

Re: Hi

We say hello, on the street,
you and I.
Years ago I might
have spent time
wondering what prompts
the wide-collared shirts,
the sharp flick of limbs,
those nimble pointy shoes.
What exactly it is you do?

Did someone say installations?
Once upon a time
that meant something,
along with the mention
of free wine at an opening
down on the docks,
or an afternoon sunk in drink
at the Central Hotel
on Georges Street.

I knew your type back then –
I even fancied you once,
back when we’d recite
T S Eliot as a joke.
I grow old, I grow old
I wear the bottoms
of my trousers rolled.

Who knew it would
actually happen?

Come back soon for detailed instructions – and bring your torches, comfort blankets, and a bottle or two of holy water. You never know what you might meet.

pps: The image above is by Japanese artist Kumi Yamashita, who creates installation pieces through shadow play. In this piece, 3D numbers are arranged on a wall so that they cast shadows, which combined, create the illusion of a woman’s body.

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Poetry Bus is leaving from the Swiss Lounge

The poetry bus is being driven by Swiss at this week, with some really great picture prompts.

The images there kept pulling me back, partly because I just couldn’t figure out what that spherical, moony looking thing was.

Was it the moon? Was it a planet? Was it the inside of somebody’s body? That’s what I eventually decided on, but at one stage I was convinced I could see ducks in there . . . .


Psssssssssssst !

See that down there?
That’s a whole world
right there.
Armies are formed
and destroyed.
Frontlines are
laid to waste.
And all
in a matter of days.
Remember that chilli you ate?


Listen to it detonate.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Late for the Bus

This week's Poetry Bus is leaving from Rachel Fox's blog,, on the first stop of it's blogwide tour. I'm going to be driving it sometime in April (must check the date!), but in the meantime here's my (very late) offering for this week's.

I've been away until today, so I'm posting one of the first poems I wrote when I started writing poetry in 2007, (mainly cause it's the only one I could find with any 'word' connection.)

The pool

This is a time of fasting;
of denying myself
my daily fix
of bread and wine
and concrete lines.

The lean days set me free
quite unexpectedly
to stumble across
a midnight pool
that draws my thirsty eyes.

Here on its bank,
I plunge my arm in,
again and again and again
and grasp great armfuls of words
that clamour deep in me

They ask me in silvery voices
to cut them - gut them,
set them free.
So I kiss them
and say
ssshhhhhh - go gently.


Monday, March 22, 2010

This is not a protest poem

But it is an angry poem.

Having had a look at the poems the other brilliant poetry bus poets had to offer this week, I decided I'm being a bit cowardly.

Rachel Fox's post in particular was really inspiring (, and it's made me think a bit more about the way that I write poetry.

Having said that, this poem is not a protest poem.
Buuuttt TFE did ask for vitriol and venom and anger, and this is possibly the meanest, angriest poem I've ever written.

Barren thoughts

Look at you there with your bovine stare
and that thing in your arms you’re carrying as
though you’re not quite sure who put it there.
Oh please . . . . Don’t you dare look so wan.
If you hadn’t opened your legs like you did then those kids
you’re so dazed by wouldn’t even have been born.

Besides, do you think I’m a fool?
Don’t you think I can see your pride too?
Oh I see it alright, gleaming in there,
in your dumbstruck eyes and your unadorned face
that smugly tells all you don’t need any help
from my kind of war paint any more.

You’re a mother. A breeder. A queen.
You’re a sow with her suckling pigs.
Bowed by the weight of your new-born child . . . Well
at least I still walk straight and tall.
See? Look at me! Back unbent, chin held high. No years of weight-lifting
great platter faced children like yours.

I’d hate to think what you must look like inside
after pushing each one of those out.
Did you manage a break between birth
and concept? Or was there just no time to spare?
No failures for you, then - no clots of bright blood
lost down the loo of some A&E ward.

Just children, their small mouths like slaps in my face,
as you walk past, your bright brood in tow.

Chickening out on the Poetry Bus

I found TFE'S poetry prompt ( this week really hard. Most of my angry poems are personal, and having toyed with the idea of posting one here, in the end I decided against it.
Instead here's a poem that's a little angry, and a little snide, and a little bitter, (pretty much the way I feel after a drunken night out).

The morning after

Did you think you were a witch?
Or some class of enchantress?
With your ‘lazy grace’ and
unbrushed hair and those big hips?
Did you?

When you came into a room
did you really think all eyes were on you?
Did you believe in your conceit
that voices lulled because
of you?

Well now you know - you were never
what you saw in your head.
And all those moments spent
wondering what was being said?


Well, not about you anyway.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

All Aboard . . . . .

It's Poetry Bus time again, only this time we're catching a train.
To meet all the other passengers visit Totalfeckineejit's place at

All aboooooaard . . .

Victoria Station

Monday, March 1, 2010

TFE's Poetry Bus is on the roooooaaad

This week Total Feckin' Eeejit's prompt was very deep and meaty, prompting lots of dark thoughts and pondering. Here's me offering, (as usual I'm late)

Night and day

There is a rhythm
to the way the grass
as a unit,
a mass of millions
of blades
that slice
through the air
like knives.

There is a beach
not far from here
where people walk,
back and forth,
from their lives
like metal filings
by the tide’s
invisible pull.

There is a woman
who opened her mouth
and all that came
out were snatches
of tunes
borne by the waves
of the radio playing
on the windowsill
next to her bed.

There is a sense to the way
that things grow,
to pennywort blooming
on a stone wall,
to celandines starring
a shaded bank,
to a body cast
deep into the soil,
to night eating day.

Monday, February 22, 2010

TFE'S Pocket poem prompt

This week, after lots of false starts, I decided to have a bit of fun with TFE's Pocket poetry prompt (
and not take it too seriously.

The thief of self-belief

Yesterday there was a poem
in my pocket. By lunchtime
it was gone. Instead all I found
when I reached in my hand
was a tiny, wizened man.

He stood on my palm,
chest pushed out,
eyes darting greedily round.
‘I am the Thief of Self belief,’
he said. Seconds later he’d gone.

I hunted him out of the bedroom
where he’d built an effigy
from my red suede shoes
and my green silk dress,
with a yellow balloon for a head.

‘I am the Thief of Self-Belief’
he cried, sweeping across my desk,
smashing my cursor key,
shredding my poems like confetti
all down the stairs.

I tracked him down in the garden
where he’d started
to dig up my bulbs.
‘I’m the the thief of Self Belief’
he yelled, laying waste to a bed.

So I fled back inside and as fast
as I could gathered up the words,
words that littered the stairs,
the floors - I even found
some in my hair.

Then I stuck them all
back together and crept outside with the page. But I am the thief
of self belief he hissed
as I dropped the poem on his head.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Love and lust and holy relics

Here’s my pome, prompted by Total Feckin’ Eejit’s weekly prompt. It’s technically supposed to be inspired by Valentine’s Day thoughts of love and lust and romance, but this is what came out.

The relic

The relic is trapped in a filigreed frame.
My sister, who sent it, swears by its powers.
It comes with a booklet on Gerard Majella,
the patron saint of mothers and mothers-to-be.

When I hold it in my palm the metal pulses
with the sorrow and hope it has witnessed.
I leaf quickly through the booklet
then shove both it and relic in a drawer.

That night we make love, but something’s changed.
Something sacred has slipped from the room.
Urgency has been replaced by tenderness
and the relic lies silent in its drawer.

Friday, February 5, 2010

What about . . . .

Word clouds.

Are they a bit adolescent? (Something about them reminds me of 5th year english folders trying a little too hard) But they're sooo nice and satisfying if you pop a poem into them and see it emerge transformed.
The poem that I put in looks way better than it does in actual, on the page, print. I got the image from, where it's copywrited to Jonathan Feinberg (who is apparently a really gifted word cloud designer).

Here's the original poem.


It was June when I learnt you had passed away -
a long, long time after the burial.
After your bones had been weathered chalk white
and your skirts had been tucked in some drawer
and your faded silk shawls had been claimed by some girl
who danced on your grave and made light of your fame
and swore she would never end up
the same way.

You were regal. There really is no other word
to describe your grim grace, the stern measured gaze
that you cast on the people who walked
on your streets -
But you still had to die, I suppose.
Smog stained and tatty and everything else that you were.

Now when I walk on the pavements up there
I notice the cracks, the narrow paths
that cut between headstones and graves.
Sometimes I think I might shrink,
slip between them to join you in your ancient sleep,
you and the millions lined up in graveyards,
like dominoes, ranged toe to head.
Here the living take up far less space
than the dead.
I watch my step instead.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Red Car

Total Feckin' Eejit's having a party, and in honour of the event I've dragged Pure Fiction out of retirement, but this time it's purely for the poetry.
The party's in honour of Nuala Ní Conchuir's latest poetry collection, Portrait of the Artist with a Red Car. I love her blog and I've been dying to hop on TFE's poetry bus ever since it started out, but before I managed to leap aboard, it crashed. So this time I'm grabbing the chance before the bus gets too full, then I'm heading over to TFE's for what sounds like the party of a life-time.


The road is not red,
exactly, more of a pink.
‘It’s the sandstone that makes
it that colour,’ one of them says,
but that is not something
you need to know, when you’re
six-years-old and you’re sitting
in the car with your knees
pulled up under your coat.

And your eyes are pinned
on the hill ahead
and the road is pulling you
forward, onwards,
eating you up, eating up
the time this drive will take,
when the three of you,
just you three,
are together.

And everything is pink.
The gently patterned hill.
Your hand on the back of the seat.
Their faces, turning slightly away.