A Room with Winter Sun

We’re here for a visit. Brought two cakes
and what cheer we can. She’s been here
three years, the same amount of time that she’s been blind,

the same amount of time that she’s
lost her will to live. She’s tried three
times, and three times she’s been stitched back up. Now she sits

in her room, floods of winter sun
warming her back and yet she sits
in the dark, in blackness without sight, not caring.

‘And I don’t even have the heating
turned on,” she remarks. We chat, she
chats – economics, banking, politics, but no

mention that we just buried her
sister’s ashes today. The late
afternoon sun dances on her face, shadows set

into deep wrinkles ploughed by age.
She’s a sundial casting shadows.
And we eat cake, cut into neat squares by the nurse.

No one is allowed to touch knives
here. Nor scissors. No cords on drapes.
And in between sips of tap water and bites of cake

she says, ‘It’s a struggle growing old,’
and I can’t but agree, although
I’m twenty-years her junior, and then she says,

‘Living like this is pure hell.”
Without emotion and matter
of fact, stating facts as facts. And what do you say

to a statement like that. So we
nod and clear our thoughts with more cake
talking long into late afternoon. The sun casts

deepening colours that track the time,
and we offer the nurse one more
piece of cake but she declines, taps her watch, saying

that it’s time for goodbyes. The cake
is packed up by the ward nurse,
and taken away, where I don’t know, but suspect

that the nightshift will swarm on it
and then lick the plate clean. I can
but only agree; living like this is pure hell.


Written in Denmark 28 April 2013.
This is written based on real events and prompted to Joseph’s Recursions prompt #21. This piece does not follow a specific form, but I have restricted its rhythm and confined it ‘spread’ to an 8.8.12 count per stanza with 3 lines per stanza (reflecting the Taoist belief that the number 3 symbolises death, not specifically of a person, but perhaps a belief or way of being). Recursion Prompt #21


AprPad Day 17: Red on White

Red On White

From whose knot did you untwine,
unstitch and untie, unravel
from your vine of thread, scarlet
as poppies on a battlefield,
vermillion love, lost red button
staring back from the snow.

Written for Miz Quickly’s prompt: Day 17 “Found Objects”

AprPAD Day 16: Selma Siri

Selma Siri (version two)

There was this brass bull
that I once rubbed for luck. Just the once though.
The right horn only, as rubbing the left
emptied your heart of love, as if,
but the right one was polished to flashes
of stroked affection.
And there was this girl who waited tables
nearby. Selma Siri was her name.
That girl, my-my, she was no polished bull –
she was rock hard and gave nothing away
when you rubbed her
the right way. She had a throaty sewing
machine kinda laugh that needled a bit
but we loved Selma Siri’s pretty name.

Written for Miz Quickly’s prompt Day: 16
Originally written as poetic form: Dodoitsu x4 stanzas, and reworked. My original poem is at http://miskmask.wordpress.com/2013/03/25/selma-siri/

181 Words About Fingers

181 Words About Fingers

I’ve been thinking a lot about fingers. Not
layers of buttery shale fingers wrapped
in chocolate, but fingers that bend and pop,
knuckles jagged and ragged with uneven
nails with ridges and dips, discoloured with
tints of green gardening, fingernails half-
mooned with craggy hangnails that bleed
and swell and redden, nails to bite, to tear,
fingernails to clip, to chip, to file and fiddle.
Fingers called thumbs that are sucked, stuck
into things like ears and fingers up noses,
or down your throat. Fingers with rings,
fingers that pick up bees that sting, fingers
holding pens, writing letters you’ll never
send because fingers crumbled the paper
and threw it away, fingers holding brushes
that paint memorable scenes of mountains
and streams and oceans, fingers that speak
with articulate signs, fingers that swear,
fingers that curse, fingers carrying an old
leather purse, fingers that dig, fingers that
plant, fingers on chins so a person can think,
fingers in winter turned cold and mist blue,
fingers to hold that say, “Yes, I love you. “

Yes, I’ve been thinking a lot about fingers.

Written for Joseph Harker’s Recursions Day 15: Create a poem that’s the opposite from your usual style and subject matter (paraphrased). For the full scoop on today’s prompt pop over to Joseph Harker’s Recursions Day 15:

April PAD Day 1 – Lunch Is Served


The table was set with glowing cloudy bowls,
Shallow bee coloured dust from daffodils,
And broadtail cloth tinted of sticky toffee.
The guests were predictably storming
The rain-painted gate, while steaming
Spoon-flavoured soup waited
Like robins in soft metered rain.
Written for April PAD, Day 1 Naming Constellations Recursion #1