Dark mouths open. Hollow depths, or so it appears until a scream finally sounds.
Before my husband and I started dating, I wrote a fib for him a thank-you gift for fixing my laptop. It was NaPoWriMo that introduced me to the form, and he’d never received a poem as a gift before so he found it quite novel. Now I’m not saying poetry is the basis of my marriage, but sometimes a little fib can go a long way.
They fill her grave up with hindsight. Shift the weight of blame to keep her bones in the mud, her soul buried under reasoning, as if the stake wasn’t enough they must reform her a monster. Imagine her rising half clothed in skin, ribcage a broken casket heart still guttering not all the way extinguished. That way her howling can be dismissed as nothing more than yes, yes, yes.
Who missed a day of NaPoWriMo, not me that’s for sure. The Day Six prompt was “Go to a book you love. Find a short line that strikes you. Make that line the title of your poem. Write a poem inspired by the line. Then, after you’ve finished, change the title completely.”
I decided to follow on from Day Five, and chose the last line from the Fiona Benson poem that inspired me, “The woman is blamed” (from [Not Zeus: Medusa I] – ‘Vertigo and Ghosts’).
Pleaded innocent for hours, reading as guilty when she protested in that shrieking, crackle voice
and choked on communion wine prayers with her mouth full of spells.
It does people some good roping up witches, purging evil from the world
the woman is blamed.
I’m mixing two prompts this evening. NaPoWriMo’s Day Five challenge to mirror the layout and of an existing poem that I admire, (I chose a Fiona Benson poem from her collection ‘Vertigo & Ghosts’) and the DVersePoets Quardrille prompt: wine. During the 17th century there were a number of ‘tests’ to prove the innocence or guilt of a person accused of witchcraft. One of those ‘tests’ was to offer them communion or to have them recite the Lord’s Prayer. If they choked, of stumbled over the words then it was proof of their guilt. Fiona Benson’s poem [not-Zeus:Medusa I] ends on the line “the woman is blamed” which I’ve kept the same, but I’ve not followed the syllable count exactly.
At some point in the empty hours of a night, the motorway tarmac softens into a sea, allowing broken ships to slip upwards their ghost ragged rigging thick and slack with mist yet sailing steadily beneath these walkways, beneath these sleeping midnight travellers, watching through the steam of their coffees not so much as blinking while spectres leap from mast to mast, all colours bleached down to canvas and a single bone white skulls screaming at the heart of every flag.
I’ve not posted a response to the Day Three prompt as I’m still working on my deck of words. I decided to use Caroline Taggart’s book ‘500 Beautiful Words You Should Know’ as inspiration for my deck so I’ve only got around 20-odd words picked out at the moment. I still wrote a poem yesterday as I took part in the Weekend Writing Prompt, so I’m still on track for 30 poems in 30 days.
Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt was to write a poem inspired by one of the images from the Space Liminal Bot twitter account. After a bit of scrolling I came across the image above and it sparked the idea for today’s poem.
No point crying over spilt memories, when the morning slinks in early and worn, shivers itself under the covers beside you dew damp and clinging.
Regrets evaporate eventually, or so you tell yourself, tucking your face into the hollow of morning’s shoulder, scenting last year’s summer.
‘Imagine if-‘ Slide your hand across morning’s mouth, so similar to your own it seems, hush her into half-sleep.
We have other questions to ask when the sun is finished stretching awake, and none of them look back on the moments set in stone.
‘But you want to? Don’t you?’ heavier now with pillow pull, sinking stone dropped into still waters, down, down we go.
The earlier moments seem blurry now, edges smoothed so it all seems inevitable, choices we tripped around first time, face planting into our decisions.
Still… we got here in one piece, or enough pieces to pull together a whole with two halves and another third steadily on its way.
‘All of it could have been so different,’ but nothing wistful in that thought which slips away with the other dreams at the call of morning breaking.
Today’s optional prompt for #NaPoWriMo, is to write a poem about The Road Not Taken, pulling inspiration from Robert Frost’s poem. I’m already very good at picking apart my past choices, and obsessing over how things could have turned out so differently if I’d made a slightly different decision. I decided I didn’t need to voice that again in a poem as it’s not the healthiest of habits, and I’m trying to be better about looking forward rather than back. It’s all experience in the end, and we can only learn from the past, we can’t change it.