Tag: poem

Things I Will Pledge Allegiance To

My dog, my books, a cup of tea –

the universe, my poetry.

Chris, risotto, sticky buns

Bees and flowers, my two sons.

Education, my left leg,

The sun, the sky, scrambled egg.

The Labour party, at least for now,

A speck of dust, a holy cow.

My favourite sock, a biscuit crumb

A lock of hair, my lovely Mum.

Slime mould, grass, a hairy knee,

immigration, celery.

A wink, a laugh, a persistent itch

But never to the idle rich.

Poems I wish I had written: Number Four

Day Seven Prompt: A list that isn’t a list

I used https://poetrysociety.org.uk/poems/the-silkies/ as inspiration for this.

Poems I wish I had written: Number Four, The Silkies by David Hart

She has my name, for one thing:
Mrs Kendrick.
But she wears it like a siren,
sultry defiance on her lips, sweet as jam.
A flash of red across a grey sea
as she hangs them out to dry.
A wild thing, alone apart from the birds
chattering in lines above.
She whispers to the seals, tells them
secrets of the sailors and their sullen wives.
Offers them wisdom from the sea,
salty and cold. They blink
their black eyes at her
and go back into the water,
where she can’t follow.


Everything is loud.

The clock’s unbearable tick



Your hand shakes

as you pass me the glass.

We both know it’s nearly over.

We lived well, or

well enough; we stood

for something.

That’s what they’ll say

if they say anything.

We’re already past tense.

I touch your arm and

your breathing slows.

We’re still here.

That’s all that matters now.

The lamp flickers and dies.

There is a knock at the door.

This came from a writing group prompt: 2am. I watched a documentary about the night of the long knives in Germany before WW2 and wanted to reflect the feeling of waiting for that knock.

I hate poetry

I hate poetry.

All those long words squeezed into spaces too small for them.

Cruel, really. Like battery hens.

If I shake the cages they might come rattling out and spill all over the floor,

or maybe

They’ll fall apart into letters and make new words. Maybe

rude words. An act of rebellion

against the one who locked them in.

I hate poetry.

I hate the techniques with long names no one

knows how to say.

Enjambment with its b sticking out like a foot

trying to trip you up.

Making words fall off the edge and dangle on the next line

feet flapping helplessly.

I hate poetry.

I hate the sneakiness of it. The ideas hiding behind things;

words dressed up in other words

like a man in dark glasses and a false moustache

infiltrating terrifying Yakuza syndicates called


where if you say too much

you get taken out.

I hate poetry, I do, really.

And I’m certain it doesn’t like me, either.

The rhyming ones are the worst.

Words bouncing off one another like a ball against a wall

knocking against each another.

Verbal fisticuffs.

The next time you begin a poem

and you herd together the verbs and bind them to the

adverbs and nouns, remember this:

one day the words will tire of poetry’s oppression.

They will cluster together in the wrong order

and smash their way out,

leaving wreckage of broken lines and

empty space where once ideas were kept.

Poetic Justice

I stole the first one when I was still at school.

Nervous, waited till it was quiet,

a little haiku no one would notice

slipped into the pocket.

The thrill was overwhelming.

I needed to take another.

This time I was more ambitious;

I chose one we’d done in English:

Stealing by Carol Ann Duffy

because I liked the irony.

I don’t think she even noticed it was gone.

I felt the words trickle over my hands

Like lemonade from stolen fruit

Wonderful, contraband words.

I bathed in them

I drank them.

I almost got caught when I went

to take that Armitage one

and after that I stopped for a bit

but gradually the old feelings came back.

I found myself sneaking out at lunch

to pilfer a Jackie Kay or a John Agard;

returning to my desk, full of my secret,
stolen words

Dem Tell Me

scrunched up in my pocket.

But it wasn’t enough.

I wanted more.

I couldn’t sleep
for thinking about them.

All of those words waiting for me

They called to me

I needed them.

I lost control

I took every poem I found

And even then I didn’t stop;
Morphemes became my morphine.

I started taking other words;

From manuals or newspapers

Or government reports.

That’s when they caught me.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

was lost for words

When they found me,

Speech concealed in my bag.

I’m better now.

I only take the words I need.

I don’t

I can’t

I never