#NaPoWriMo 2021 – Day Twelve – Destroyer

He’d be gone before the rubble settled.
Leave a town burning in his wake,
crushed stone slithering through cracks
like sand in a broken hourglass,
pooling empty hours into empty streets.
This seafarer, spacefarer, carving out
his stamp on a place
so he might be able to see it from above
when he glanced down
at the ruins he’d built.
He must have seen a beauty in destruction
or why would he have sought out more?

This prompt challenges you to write a poem using at least one word/concept/idea from each of two specialty dictionaries: Lempriere’s Classical Dictionary and the Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction.

NaPoWriMo 2021 Prompt – Day Twelve

#NaPoWriMo – Day Eleven – Aspasia

The greatest honour a woman can have is to be least spoken of in men’s company, whether in praise or in criticism.

Pericles’ Funeral Oration (after 490 BCE) from Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War


The Assassin’s Creed games have taken your image,
placed you at the centre of their storyline
as the ultimate villain
and laid Pericles’ death at your feet.
It makes me wonder if Thucydides was wishing you away
when he wrote the Funeral Oration in his play,
tongued words of rebuke into Pericles’ mouth
to made it clear that you would have been best,
sticking to your shadows
with the other none-citizens.
Or better yet, if you could have pretended the role
of a true Athenian wife:
silent, and isolated at her spinning
in another room,
while the men burned hot in their political worlds
instead of staking yourself a place among them,
and into history,
as just too brilliant to possibly be respectable
for where’s there is smoke there is always fire.


The men may have their forums, but I still speak
and build my own places of discussion,
for there is a freedom in love
without the binds of law
when means my tongue has no need to bow down
to politicians or their stages.
After two and a half millennium I am dust
and nothing remains of what I wrote
except in the gossip of others’
which is always a shade of fiction on the truth
and too often without inspiration
for how to bring down another woman
stepping outside the chalk lines men draw.
Do not believe all that is written,
or all that is said,
it becomes too easy to make figures
when the known history is soft enough to mould
into shapes that suit the reader best.

write a two-part poem, in the form of an exchange of letters. The first stanza (or part) should be in the form of a letter that you write either to yourself or to a famous fictional or historical person. The second part should be the letter you receive in response.

NaPoWriMo – Day Eleven Prompt

If you would like a half-an-hour podcast of who Aspasia was exactly, then I thoroughly recommend Natalie Haynes episode on her from Natalie Haynes Stands Up For The Classics on BBC 4. She was the lover of the Athenian politician Pericles, (known as the father of Democracy) and utterly unique for her time. Once I’ve finished my post on the women of the Peasant Revolt I think I’ll have to spend some time pulling together a blog post about her, because she was an amazing historical figure pushing the boundaries of what women were allowed to do, and what was assumed about them.

#NaPoWriMo – Day Ten – Clutter Bug

First it was the slugs,
then the pigeons, this year squirrels
and not just the one hiding shells
in the grates of our drain pipes.
This year there’s a pair of them
running track along the broken fence line.

Continue reading “#NaPoWriMo – Day Ten – Clutter Bug”

#NaPoWriMo – Day Nine – Fate Speaks

Once there is time
I must download one of those meditation apps
and learn how to let go
of the little things out of my control.
I should make space for more me-time,
worry less about the lives of others
and untangle their questions
from my existence.
I read a quote once,
it said we are more than what people make of us,
which was nice but not so accurate
when you’re an idea rather than a flesh sack
and what people make of you, makes you more
and more…
I should learn how to trim down for summer maybe?
Shed the unnecessary pounds,
find a way to slip back inside a double handled jar,
put a lid on it,
Tell them all to make their own way for once,
that I am done guiding
or being blamed
for every bad decision that was ever made.

write a poem in the form of a “to-do list.”

NaPoWriMo 2021 – Day 9 Prompt

I love a “to-do” list. I have them at work every day, and outside of work I jot down little lists of things I want to achieve with my free time or important tasks that must not be forgotten. My own list for today looks a little like this:

  • Write NaPoWriMo Day Nine Post (Done!)
  • Deal with house stuff. (Done!)
  • Submit rejected short story to the journal suggested by the editor of the journal that rejected it.
  • Submit a poem (or poems) to Spelt.
  • Compile submission document for Interpreter’s House.
  • Make a list of submission calls for the rest of April.
  • Write 1,000 words for NaNoWriMo

I always find that if I get the first couple of things ticked off first thing, I’ve got the momentum to get the rest of the list done. If I leave it all to the last hour of the day, nothing will be achieved and I’ll just file the list away with the rest of the good-intentions that never saw the light of day. Have any of you got “to-do list” tips for an expert procrastinator?

#NaPoWriMo – Day Eight – Return To The Spoon River

Dead Man Of Many Names

I like to imagine someone finding me.
Perhaps stripping up floorboards on a Sunday
and finding my femur cocooned
in the hidden vestments of a priest
also long dead, and buried.

Somewhere out there I have ten fingers,
ten toes, and twenty-four knobbled bits of spine
that have been turned over,
kissed, caressed, worshipped more thoroughly
than I think I ever was in life.

Funny thing isn’t it, the idea of relics,
when with each breath, what dark deeds I slipped
into the hidden hours!
When no one else was waking or watching
and I could move freely, like a wraith.

They built a reliquary around my skull,
but gave it another man’s name and called me saint.
Then the King’s men came,
beat the bone until the alter glittered with dust
and there was one less piece of me.

I like to imagine someone finding me,
the slow horror on their faces at the bone clack
of de-fleshed limbs shifting,
their trembling hands lifting cloth
to find that I’m still here.

I’m mixing prompts again today. Day Eight for NaPoWriMo was the challenge to “write your own poem in the form of a monologue delivered by someone who is dead.” I mulled this challenge over for a while, and this morning I thought of the perfect way to merge it with last night’s DVerse Meet The Bar challenge.

Write a poem about the body parts (e.g. eyes, hands, feet) as a metaphor and/or story. It doesn’t have to be about your body or family’s history (from the first person experience), if this makes it uncomforable for you. You can write about the body’s experience of someone else (from a third person narrative perspective). You create the mood – serious, or sad or sexy, or funny or filled with nostalgia.


Relics played a pivotal in medieval Christianity, though the validity of these relics is sometimes questionable. During the reign of Henry VIII, and the reformation, ‘Popish’ totems were destroyed and the churches stripped to bring them more in line with the developing Protestant faith in England. Many of these items were hidden away for safe keeping however, and some were brought back out during the reign of Mary I. Some were lost forever. My thought was this, how would someone feel about their body being dug up and distributed across a country, perhaps a continent, under the claim that the bones belonged to a famous saint?