Rhyme or Reason

All this washing!

All colours faded

Magic thinned

Sweet spells spun out

Dark potions dried

All wrung tight

Hung out in rain

Concoctions separate

Mystery now plain

All once known

Must be re-found again


www.napowrimo.net day 3 rhyme…random words…sense from chaos.

CLP 03/04/2020


It was Mrs Howard who Love taught me

In the temporary classroom

Sat on the rugby field

Her love of Love and its expression

From the page in gently found words

Spoken In bright metaphors

And subtle allusions


She spoke to me of hidden themes

And how a phrase could mean so much

How a rhyme can unlock the heart

Or harden up that vital muscle

To misunderstanding

And ill-focused yearning


She hooked me in

Close by the Itchen River’s bank

A young rainbow trout lifted up

From its soggy bed

On a fly fisher’s sharp whip

I was spotted, baited

Hungry to be caught and taught

To engage with finer forms

Than all those scawny spratts

With whom I’d been engaged before

Directed to gods, war, injustice

We were un-schooled

In more urgent places

Behind softly closed doors

Beneath blankets of meaning

Where bodies of learning could be openly studied

At length; in depth


It was not a coy mistress

Who opened Love to me

Her joy of Love

Without ambiguity

Writ large in her notes

Like billets doux that pointed me

Towards insights and Passion’s feelings

Mrs Howard my teacher

So pure and simple.


n.b. Paul Gordon and I formed “The Mrs Howard Appreciation Society” of which we two were, (dare I write it), the only members. She was a great teacher and we never thought of her lustfully. She was just a lovely person with a gift for sharing her love of poetry. Thank you, Mrs Howard, where ever you are.


n.n.b. NaPoWriMo 2019 Day 28 prompt: Write a poem about writing poems 🙄. Like writing songs about writing songs, this is navel gazing of sorts, which in the right company is a pleasant enough pastime I suppose.


CLP 28/04/2019

Natural Consequences

Anarchronistic Britain

Cannot decide European future

Government has ignored

Knife mayhem

& numerous other pointed questions

Requiring serious thought.

Unburied victims wait


Yield to zymogenes


“&” was the 27th letter of the English alphabet

Xenoliths are small particles of elements found within larger deposits of mineral, rare elements amongst dross.

Zymogenes are the bacteria that help break-down and lead to the fermantation of organic matter, although xenoliths are not organic… so I claim poetic immunity.

NaPoWriMo 2019 Day 19 prompt: Use the English alphabet to shape a poem. Artificial and challenging. I cheated to make the final line sensible as best possible.

CLP 20/04/2019

Emotional Blackmail

“I just want my kids to be happy”

So commonly heard

So unthinking said

And missing the point

Of parenthood

And childhood


“I don’t care what he does, as long as he’s happy”

What the children know of their parents

Who want them just to be happy

Is that they hold the keys

To all the doors

Well before they’re eighteen


“I’ll do anything for my babies”

Who soon learn that to sulk

Is to take control



Power without responsibility


“I don’t know where we went wrong”

So commonly heard

So unthinking said.


n.b. Happiness is a derived emotional state that seems to come from a sense of being at ease amongst those you respect and share purpose. Hence the attraction of online gaming and gangs. Happy families it appears to me, do things together, rather than just being an altar for feeding the children’s egotistical pleasures.

NaPoWriMo 2019 Day 20 prompt: Use speech commonly heard.


CLP  20/04/2019

The Witch

A pronounced bow wave

Presages her imminent arrival

Her keel knifes the dark waters

Peels twin curls off the surface


She draws down the light of stars

Calls the wind to her direction

Tides pause on her command

Squalls and storms follow


Treading water as she passes

We can only witness this spirit

That lifts like incoming waves

Leaves us awash in her wake


n.b. NaPoWriMo 2019: Day 13 prompt, witch

I was asked, “Is this poem about a boat, or a person?” You decide.

CLP 13/04/2019


I could not tell you when it was

But I see the moment even now

She made a point of coming in

24 carat gold still on her hand

Me at my desk, gladly interrupted

“You can have it back. I set you free”

As if I had asked for it to end

Her choice of words deliberate

Her implication clear

It was a bind that tied me down

Caused me misery

As if her magnanimous gesture

Would release my spirit and let it fly

Then she went to text her son

“I’ve given him back my wedding ring”

Her Jocasta to his Oedipus


I carried it round for a while

Spun it on the bar

Placed it on my little finger

Twisted it around

Until I walked past a jeweller

And exchanged it for hard cash

Which like our marriage

Didn’t last.


n.b. NaPoWriMo 2019. Day 12 prompt giving away or destroying something precious.

CLP 12/04/2019

Oh, Where Have You Come From, My Blue-Eyed Boy?

I come from Malmo

Its low gentle farmland

Mudflats by the Øresund

I come from beneath the cavernous sky

Of the Lincolnshire fens

I come from the tops of Cork’s raging cliffs

And sea-carved bays

I come from coal-stained valleys that cut

Through Merthyr’s coal-drained hills

To Cardiff’s terraced streets

I come from the Blitzed houses of Portsmouth

And its wartime volunteer committees

I come from the smog of The Smoke

And Maidenhead’s Thames

I come from a dormitory town laid out

South of the Downs


I come from so many places

Across such a long time

Can I still trust my sources?

I don’t know anymore


So, where have I come from

This blue-eyed boy?


n.b. NaPoWriMo 2019: Day 11 prompt is origins. As ever I owe Bob Dylan credit and an apology for twisting his lyrics from “Hard Rain”

CLP 11thApril 2019


I’ve been travelling now for a very long time

“Trying to get as far away from myself as I can”

Now it’s getting light; must be the end of the line


Got to get some rest, I’m past my prime

I’ve been moving from town to town without any plan

I’ve been travelling now for a very long time


I’m keeping up appearances; might look like I’m doing fine

The road is unravelling, things hanging by a very thin strand

Now it’s getting light; must be the end of the line


People are just people; most are friendly and kind

Connections get stretched tight throughout a life span

I’ve been travelling now for a very long time


Travelling light, but weighed down by my mind

Why I’m waking alone each morning I still don’t understand

Now it’s getting light; must be the end of the line


When I think of you, I look at my hand

It’s bare, naked; there’s no gold wedding band

I’ve been travelling now for a very longtime

Now it’s getting light; must be the end of the line


n.b. This villanelle draws on Bob Dylan‘s “Things have changed” and was prompted by NaPoWriMo 2019


CLP 06/04/2019


Catapulted into our pond

Like a block of concrete

Your failed heart

Cast us away

On waves that rocked our boats

For seven lifetimes


CLP 04/04/2019

NaPoWriMo Day 4…you want sad?