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Urgency has been replaced by tenderness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.