Poetry

In which Sophie pins down Howl (inspired by Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones)

He was a slitherer-outer. They all knew it,

but one did not care and another stared off in the other direction.

That left only one more, and it was up to her to try and pin him down,

to stop him avoiding all that was his to do.

So she busied herself with listening and learning,

careful to sew it all into place

where once she might not have dared.

Did it work?

No, not the first time.

Or the second. Or the third. Or the many attempts that followed.

Yet one day, after her temper was expressed in the form

of a can of weedkiller thrown at his head

(from which he hastily ducked),

she grasped her patchwork of knowledge and held it where he

could slither away no more.

As he looked upon it,

they both saw that he’d slithered away so fully

that he’d gone full circle

and ended up being honest after all.

Poetry

Dance of the Birch Trees

She crafted her words from wishes and silk,

calling the birch trees into step

and letting their faces spin the tale.

 

And spin they did,

and spin

and spin

 

until only silver thread was left,

ready to adorn the garlands

that were to be placed in the branches aloft,

 

ready to enchant any who passed under.

Poetry

If I only had a…

The scarecrow hops his way along,

uncaring hands and sharp-tongued jokes,

hushing the crowd beyond a whisper,

until they realise the fun he pokes.

 

His purple jacket torn to shreds,

wicked grin and moss green hair,

singing the golden bricks back to attention

not caring if the way is fair.

Poetry

Watering can

After all the hours of pin-pointed work, no end in sight of the path,

I can’t help but dream and long for the touch of a hot, comforting¬†bath.

 

To soak up all my sour maturity, ease out my twisted frowns,

wriggle out of my seriousness and stay awake, lest I accidentally drown.

 

Eternity in such a healing pool might prune my fingers and toes,

but I can say, without a shadow of doubt, that I’m no delicate rose.

Poetry

Far Above The Clouds

The man uncurled his fingers and looked at his palms.

Bells. There were bells, tubular ones

resting there, instead of his bag of secrets.

The rain still poured down on the mountainside,

yet the clouds were below him, not above.

His hand twitched, and he fell forwards

into the long grasses, through soil and rock

until he could not be told apart from it all.

The bells clattered to the ground, ringing

out for the valley to hear. The rain

stopped at the sound of those bells.

Those tubular bells igniting the day.

Poetry

Aunt Maria: A reflection

We mustn’t walk out that door. Not yet, see.

They might still be there. Or even worse, we might.

Keep out of sight. Timing is everything.

Don’t tell me you’ve forgotten the rules already.

Tap tap. Hear that noise? It’s her again.

Let’s ignore her. See how she likes it.

Drowned out, background noise.

Like a buzz. A Queen Bee, I should say.

We’re not trapped in her hive anymore.

We can’t be managed.

I feel smug that she knows.

Poetry

As the crow flies

Safe in the nest. Safe in the nest until

the feathers fall into pillows ready for stuffing.

Downy softness to lull the head to sleep.

It hops. It pecks. It hops again.

Cocks its head to the side

with a measured eye, seeking.

Dreamer land. Dreamer land on the horizon.

Caw Caw Caw.

Poetry

The fee for crossing

The oil paint stains his fingers.

Thick, congealed blood

two different shades of green.

One

for the tree,

one

for the reflection of the tree

on the wavering lake. Just

where that photograph of me

was taken.

It’s too dark to see me now,

but if you felt

around the pine needles,

you’d find cool metal coins,

two of them,

which I’d promised

to balance on my eyelids.

Poetry

Daisy chain

Our link between worlds –

You, standing on a plinth of long grass,

looking across the clouds

to watch them take breath. Wild

flowers root at your feet.

Me, voice on the wind

ready to wake your ears

from the ballad infecting

your past. Fleeting,

barely a strand of thought

connects us, gone the instant it arrives.