NaPoWriMo Day Twenty-Eight

So, a backwards story is the prompt for today. A little strange, but let’s see what we can do with it.

A Change In Season

That was when the thaw came.

Fingers blue and black against the ice,

blood can freeze if you get it cold enough,

still just enough life to shiver,

teeth like tic-tacs rattling in a box,

the pin pricks of goosebumps,

one cool breeze to lift tiny hairs,

a chill along the spine,

clothes in a pile on the sand

legs bare to the winter sun,

footsteps towards the waves.

The sea takes bites out of the cliff-face each night.

NaPoWriMo Day Two


Today’s prompt for NaPoWriMo is to write a family-portrait poem. To be honest I wasn’t entirely sure what to write for this one. I’ve written about numerous family members before, my mother in ‘Your Sheep‘, my sister in ‘Jo’, my Great Gran in ‘Ba‘ and the women of my family as a whole in ‘The Women I Came From‘. Both my Grandfathers have poems about them, the one actually has two! The second poem ‘Rock’n’Roll‘ was more about him and my Grandmother watching their family grow up however. All in all my family has played a pretty massive part in inspiring my writing so today’s prompt is more than a little tricky. What is left to say that you as a reader won’t find in another one of my poems?


This Family

It’s the sort of family where everyone in Shropshire

is a cousin of some kind.

Introductions become a test of how many links

it takes to skip from you to them

and who in between you both know.

With Dad it’s a little different.

Irish mother, Scottish father,

scandal wedding and English small holding.

Three kids and almost no links to speak of…

Until the three weddings

a husband, two wives,

and all the family that came with them.

My mother is a Swinnerton

and they like to claim heritage back to 1066

where William the Conqueror earned his name

and Sir William Swinnerton got his stake of land

to do with what he will.

On this side therefore there are cousins in gaggles

and aunts, uncles, great upon great

until your head spins for so many generations

of such and such or so and sos.

There are those aunts that somehow know them all

and insist on telling you just how you relate

to the greater picture of the family

despite the fact ten minutes later

you’ve forgotten her name as well.

My family is a great, sprawling mess

impossible to escape.

Any yet when I left for uni

I missed nothing more

than the feeling of belonging

to something larger than myself.

National Poetry Day – A Poem Called Confusion

On the 8th October it will be National Poetry Day here in Merry’O’England.

To celebrate this I thought I’d track back through my old poems and bring out the very first ones that I published here on Writing and Works and see how they fit in with life today.This was brought about by discussing with a fellow blogger the troubles of improving as a writer and looking back on previous work that you realise wasn’t as good as you thought it was.

Over the last three years a lot of my priorities have changed and it seemed apt that in a month where we will be celebrating poetry, I should try my hand at responding to some of my own poems from back before University.

Feel free to try it yourself and link back in the comments section below. How has your image as a writer grown in the last three/four/five years?

March 2012:


It’s weird.
But I feel…
If I write it down
Then maybe…
It will be more real.
Because you!
You’re safe.
You’re constant
You’re sanity!
My sanity!
No questions asked
Or confusion
Or false reliance.
You don’t expect…
Expect me…
To be anything,
Anything at all,
Except for me.

But I don’t think…
No it can’t…
Not us?
See you’re safe,
You’re sanity.
We’re best friends
That’s you and me!
So please.
Don’t say,
You want more.
Don’t wait,
Don’t knock
On that locked door.
I guess…
In some ways…
In some,
I love you.
But as a friend,
And only as.
But in that!
That way!
I cannot…
Could not…
Love you more.

So don’t say love.
We’re not that.
See love can be fleeting,
But us?
We’re build to last.


Interest rate!

Get three percent!

But only if you switch,


set up Direct Debits-



and next month

and every month

don’t let them STOP!

Remember to organise







the opportunities!

Maybe I just want my money,

where I can see it please.



I never understood the joy of being drunk,

until I was sat on the kitchen floor of my student flat,

head bruised,

from misjudging how far to lean back,

and how quick

a kitchen counter will jump out.

My Grandfather

‘One of the old men fearing no man’ Thomas Yarnton of Tarlton by John Drinkwater

My Grandfather no longer ages.

In photos from family gatherings he stands


than the rest of us

our constant invariable.

Despite broken ribs,


smashed sternum,

destroyed spleen,

punctured lung,

fracture wrist,

cardiac arrest

not once but twice!

Despite the bull’s best efforts,

our urges to lessen the workload,


take time,

watch the races and leave the farming-

An old farmer never retires.

He doubles the size of the vegetable patch,

rebuilds fences,

two new stables,

buys a flock of ewes

(in lamb)

(and claims they’ll lamb themselves…

we all know they will not lamb themselves.)

To him, technology was foreign,


to prove the family wrong

he bought a laptop.

And taught himself to use it in six months.

(Though email still proves elusive

And the last text he sent me




My Grandfather is the same

as the man in my memories,

And even at my most feminist

I did not mind to be princess,

So long as it was my Grandfather’s princess.

My Grandfather is one of those old men fearing no man,

who does not age in photos,

and makes me brave,

when I remember

that his stubbornness

runs just as strongly through me.