#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?

Mothers, Have Mercy On Us All

Is there a quota for mercy?

Do they give it to the younger angels,

take their hands on clear mornings,

and steer them to the edges of clouds

where they can peer over the banks

into the depths of blue beneath.

All our little prayers bubbling up

to be popped by small celestial palms

crumb dusted from the mercy

their mothers have parcelled out

so they can toss it to the mortals below.

And do some of us know the places

to stand on those clear mornings

where the young ones chatter

and rustle their down like tissue.

Which ones crumble mercy to dust

so it falls evenly and ripples far,

the others who wodge their palms

into pebbles that punch through

but settle far too soon.

Who’s voice calls them home.


Mary Mother of God have mercy, mercy on us all

Vertigo & Ghosts by Fiona Benson

Half Faith – DVersePoets Haibun Monday

I was raised in stone built churches on country lanes. Visited four or five times a year, more often late than on time, flanked by my parents and sister. I prefer the old hymns to the new, the silence of reverence to the cries of praise from a congregation, and the arch of oak beams far above me, over the neat square faces of twentieth century municipal buildings thrown up in towns.

My Grandmother would say that God is always with her, no matter the place. When I told her I wasn’t sure I believed in him, she explained how he came to her whenever she was in need. How each time she opened herself to him, he was there. Even though she failed to seek him out when the storm clouds passed. I envied that faith when my own was a rickety boat threatening to drown me at sea.

Elizabeth The First is quoted as saying she did not want to make windows into men’s souls. I have to take sides with her about that. Poetry has a way of carving the essence out of you. Presenting it on a platter for the world to see. Something almost tangible in the way it tells you who you are. My faith is more like water. It runs through me like a stream, babbling in the background, but slipping through my fingers when I reach to grasp it. It is a part of me I still don’t know.

The air smells of rain.

I can feel it in my lungs

with each breath I take.