Category Archives: March

March 2015 Prompt : Finding the extraordinary in the ordinary


Here’s a quote from Philip Levine published on the latest Poetry Trust e-newsletter:

“Don’t scorn your life just because it’s not dramatic, or it’s impoverished, or it looks dull, or it’s workaday. Don’t scorn it. It is where poetry is taking place if you’ve got the sensitivity to see it, if your eyes are open.”

Here’s a poem by Paul Farley called ‘Treacle’ :
And ‘Curlew’ by Jeremy Hooker:
And, finally, one from Philip Gross, ‘The Duke of Nowhere’ :

Finding the extraordinary in the ordinary.



Sedia Gestatoria

This poem comes from two sets of notes I made about the pictures below. One set was made in 2008, the other this week. I have always found Francis Bacon’s paintings amazing, powerful. The sedia gestatoria was a throne used to carry the pope through the crowds. A sort of pope-mobile of the past.

head-1 head-2

Sedia Gestatoria
after two studies of Pope Inncocent X by Francis Bacon

I am God’s scream,
head half-hidden
in the World’s dark.

The gold of my throne
is the food of pain,
the death of life.

See how my frail hands
grip the arms of the chair.
I am the swallower of pain.

Grief-dribble stains the silk,
purpled in death, of my robe.
I am the World’s scream.

Old soldiers

Old soldiers

Those mighty oaks
are standing at ease
this afternoon
in the fields around our house.
Relaxing in the sunshine,
murmuring contentedly
amongst themselves
in the gentle breeze.
Nodding sagely at one another,
they shift from foot to foot,
resplendent summer uniforms
rippling green on green
with every languid gesture.
How reassuring to know
they are out there
on guard at all times
and in all weathers.
They deserve a spot of
rest and recreation
once in a while.
Who knows when next
they will be called into action
to fight off a besieging storm.
Remember them last winter,
stripped to the waist,
battling doomsday
with flailing arms.




I’m afraid I’ve not been around here much so far this year. Life became complicated, but has started to settle down a bit now. Anyway, here is a poem for you to comment on.



It didn’t have to be that way.
Lining up your troubles on the bar
was unhelpful. Outside the Haar
was rolling over the Farne Islands
bathing the seals and seabirds
in a fine salt mist. I watched
as you downed each bottle all
the while running your fingers
along the latticed chair back.
I was about to play my guitar
in an effort to relieve the tension
when something in you snapped
and you rushed out the door
without a word. I knew I’d find
you on the beach by the sea cave.



“Sweetbreads!” said the waiter.
She wished she hadn’t asked.
She wished she hadn’t eaten it.
She wished she hadn’t turned green.
She wished she hadn’t ordered
for desert the assiette of sweets.
I wished I hadn’t eaten it,
eaten sweets for my sweet.
Not on top of my own sweet.
I wished I hadn’t turned green, too.
“See you at breakfast,” said the waiter
as we staggered off to our room.
“Sweet dreams!”


The ice-cream van

[for March challenge 3 – food …]

A gypsy love song
on a Sunday afternoon
came wafting through the window
into our front room

a chariot of wishes
crystallised in time
Oyster Shell Delights
Rockets made of lime

a teeth-less giant
tattling the news
stained with “Love” and “Hate”
arctic blue tattoos

pouring out a rainbow
wrapped in greaseproof paper
the outside world came down our street
disguised as a Whippy Wafer



[March challenge 2 – substituting something for something else]

I have forged you a crown
from hand-picked pieces
fired in sunshine yellow
whet with droplets of dew
polished by an army of millipedes
wearing boots of woven sugar stealers

I have grown you a gift
of golden chalices
ripened for royal arrivals
who stop to refuel as they transit the seasons
travelling on one-way tickets
to winter
to sleep
a deep sweet sticky sleep

I have made you a memory
hewn from a goldmine of time
to circle your thoughts
like a halo of hope
when days turn colder
and the seasons turn grey