Catching up on Poetry – NaPoWriMo after the London Book Fair

Once the London Book Fair was in full swing I did not have the space or time to keep writing. I have spent the weekend trying to catch up.

I really want to say how amazing the NaPoWriMo blog has been – not only in encouraging writers to keep writing poetry every day this month –  but in posting truly fabulous inspiration and challenges that have taken me out of my comfort zone and gotten me to try to ideas and styles that not only have I loved, but feel compelled to return to after this is all over. In the meantime, I keep following and enjoying the challenges – not all of them, but most!

Here is the poem inspired by Day 20 – the challenge was to use 5 random words from a list and make it into a poem – I didn’t use the entire list, but I used most of it – more than 15 words – which was even more of a challenge.


The owl absconds with my pencil
she flies upwind, my afternoon’s
work squandered, so I pour tea
that smells of clove and cinnamon
it’s a miraculous elixir, amber as
it pours out from the thermos, under
the watchful eye of the thief, cyclops
who stole to build a nest in some willowy
tree. The afternoon is mercurial, the air
scented, more seaweed than gutter, it changes
quickly, wind gusts like artillery fire, salt tang
of the sea on my tongue, the curl of my toes
in response to a chill burst, it is ego, elusive
in its quest to commune, twice I have been
confounded by a ghost, an owl once stole
my wedge of cheese, but left the truffle.
It is why I am still svelte.

The second challenge that I took on was quite unusual but a lot of fun – the challenge was in making what I wrote make sense afterwards. This challenge had us take a poem in a foreign tongue that we don’t know at all and “translate” it as best we could. I chose a poem entitled Delphi IV by Jos De Haes from Belgium.

Delphi 4

I suppose that the lake was hidden
blood-red over the silver sheen
flowing salvation, marred beneath
the poor vole sad and missed.

Over the ribbon of the iceberg
the ripples of the slavering deep
this stream runs alcoholic mergers
shot with starlings that won’t waken.

So many shimmers in the stream
blood-wingers plant still birth
– and on the bluff all’s in a tomb
of once haunted mounds of silk.

Blink once in the splintering wood
your glow and prime are coming
die there panning for the goldpost
on which they wrote in blood your name.

O children, my puppies, my wonder
we die cold in the ocean seas
and waken with a blood curse, standing
the dagger is a sword of sound.


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