Literary Time Travel

Think of the books
that we could unravel
if we took the train
for literary time travel.

Would Anna Karenina
miss that train
or Laurie Lee not go to Spain?
Should Juliet marry Romeo
if back in time we all could go?

Jane could decline to wed Mr Rochester,
the d’Urbevilles lass
would  fulfil her dream.
At eleven in the morning,
Joyce  might run out of steam
saving us from that long
stream of consciousness.

I wouldn’t mind betting
if he hadn’t met Eve,
Adam’d still live in the garden,
never to leave.

This is a re-blog from 2010 for the dVerse prompt to write about time – any time.

Posted in re-blogs, rhyming poetry | Tagged | 18 Comments

Renaissance Camp


image:  Sandwood Bay from Undiscovered


Sandwood Bay in Sutherland
in days gone by only reachable
after a twenty-mile trek across moor and mountain.
Nowadays a road ties it to so-called civilisation,
a retrograde step.

My renaissance camp would set up there
back in time, like a Tardis,
I’d wander the pristine shore
rejoicing in the sounds of the sublime
the swish of sea, the cry of guillemot
the scream of dive bombing oystercatcher.

Mermaids would whisper their stories
into my ear to re-invent for the children
who’ve accompanied me there -
sturdy trekkers that they were,
receptive to wilderness and beauty.

They’ve picked up the baton
in search of remote places
now that trekking is behind me,
renaissance of the seeds sown so long ago.

North West Scotland from Google Earth Edited by Sally Hutt

North West Scotland from Google Earth Edited by Sally Hutt 

For Poetic Bloomings Camping Challenge, day 20   “Camping is an escape, but it could be a chore as well. It’s time to re-invent the experience. Pick the one place where you wouldn’t mind setting up camp . Replace the tent for a cabana, or the woods for a Hawaiian beach front. Give it a fresh face”


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A Forest of Flies – wordle 170


A Forest of Flies

Words hang heavy while creatures swarm
and buzz and hum around the room,
storm my citadel; jump
with passion onto my skin; thrive
on my flapping, swatting, clapping;
sneer at my efforts to remove them.
Without an ounce of magic
I’ll never be free of them.


Today’s Wordle words stung me!  Living surrounded by  rural beauty has its disadvantages.  The hot weather has brought a plague of flies.  Do go and see what others have done with these pesky words here.

Posted in free verse, life writing, wordles | Tagged | 20 Comments


 We’ve been on a bender for a week at the dVerse Poets’ Pub, to celebrate its 3rd anniversary.  The final prompt of the week is about what life at the pub means to us.
I’ve already posted twice today, but what the heck, I have to join in this one to show my appreciation of all that the hosts and bar staff do for us.

Motivator, accelerator
stimulator, educator
communicator, resonator,
I’ve run out of tors
to describe the community
which is the dVerse Poets’

of good conversation,
prompts and wisdom,
not to mention

All this keeps us writing
and reading
and enjoying
our Pub.

Posted in really bad poem, rhyming poetry | 19 Comments

Orage in camp

For the Granada Camp for Wayward Poets, Day 19.  They suggest we give thought to the creepy crawlies and other creatures around our camp.  Today has seen us besieged by thunderstorms, so my mind turned to their effect on fauna.

The storm crashes through the membrane
of blue sky, brings booming thunder,
streaky wayward lethal lightning,
machine gun hail  to batter us.

The limb of ancient oak creaks and cracks,
tumbles from force of wind on wood;
perfect habitat of birds transformed
to home for insects, fungi, lichen.

Creatures cower in the undergrowth
fearing the storm as bird of prey
until the drama fades,
and they creep away.

Posted in free verse, nature poems, short poetry | 3 Comments

6 word Saturday


Klervie's playmat


Klervie’s playmat is finished.  Now what?

 I have at last used the fabulous New Zealand fabric Celie sent me, to protect the leather of our armchairs:


I don’t usually like gladioli, but some have appeared beside the patio that are splendiferous, if in rather a strange place!


Do go visit other 6WS-ers here

Posted in life writing, pictures, quilts | 15 Comments

The Three Year Ball

at the dVerse Poet’s Pub

 The most famous view in Florence

I’m invited to a party
Well, more than a party: a ball.
Not any old ball but the ultimate,
in Florence, no less, in Boboli, beside the Pitti,
where I first wrote poetry in company
until two in the morning exhilarated by Italy,
by poetry, by friends.
Will there be poetry this time?
There must be, as all the guests are poets
and when poets get together
there’s no stopping them.

I’m too excited to think straight
let alone to prepare fancy food.
I’ll take  French patisserie, instead,
some champagne and crusty French bread.
Have I time to visit the coiffeur?
Go to Town to buy a new dress?
I’m having such a bad hair day –  a mess.
What the heck do I care,
I’ll just get on that train and be there.

To be continued, with a little bit of luck

 Pitti Palace from half way up the Boboli

Photographs © Vivienne Blake, 2008

Posted in free verse, life writing, really bad poem | Tagged , , | 29 Comments

Ottava Rima – at Kielder


A hatch of midges hovers in a cloud
above the Kielder Water at eventide.
Hungry for human blood they are avowed,
not to disperse until it is supplied.
Despite this hazard, hardy walkers crowd,
for the beauty of the lake can’t be denied.
As complex eco-systems demonstrate,
it’s nature’s way ever to compensate.

The Granada Camp for Wayward Poets prompt yesterday was for an Ottava Rima about a lake.  Normally I love writing formal poetry, but this one nearly had me beat – it took all day, off and on, a line at a time.  You can find a description of the form  and some stunning poems here.

Posted in formal poetry, humour, nature poems, rhyming poetry, short poetry | Tagged , | 8 Comments

Panegyric to Rosie

Celebrating its 3 years of existence, the dVerse Poets Pub wants us to write an ode to a favourite poet.  Odes are not really my style An ode consists of strophe, of complex metrical structure, followed by an antistrophe, which mirrors the opening, and anepode, the final closing section of a different length and composed with a different metrical structure.  I hope I have understood this recipe.


Panegyric to Rosie

O poet lady with a magic touch, you inspired me.
Your poetry’s accessible, succinct and I admire you
Two indivisible poets: the late UA Fanthorpe -
through whose captivating poetry
I met the other half of the pair: RV  Bailey,
fell under her firm but kind spell as teacher and poet.
From her I learned to shrink my words to bare bones,
save readers the task of wading through waffle to find the germ.
Since she told me to shrink my poetry,
I did.

Posted in formal poetry | Tagged , , | 22 Comments

Fête de Saint Pierre

Day 15 at Poetic Bloomings suggests that we “Pick a traditional event and place yourself into the fray. Or make up an event and be as outlandish as you want. Limber up, give your best effort and go for the gold.”  Well, you can’t get much more traditional than our biennial village carnival for the Fête de Saint Pierre, on the nearest Sunday to quatorze juillet (Bastille Day)

In January we decide the theme;
each element is given to a team
then starts the head-scratching
when fantasy designs are hatching
for four fantastic floats.

are refined
the hard work begins
to adorn our chateau with princess and prince.
Through winter cold
twists of bright crèpe paper are rolled
and glued onto painted board
all working in supreme accord.
The nights shorten, panic grows
as fête approaches. Will our chateau
be ready?  Will weather be kind?

Sunday dawns dark and wet
the hour approaches, gloomy, yet
at the sound of music the sky clears
as it always has in earlier years
and with a drumroll the parade begins.

Carneval 2014 3rd float, Chinon carneval 2014 back of 2nd float, Tintin Carneval 2014 3rd band carneval 2014 back of 1st float, Chenonceau Carneval 2014 4th float, ours, Michel left  Carneval 2014 2nd float carneval 2014 1st float comes throughcarneval 2014 1st float bevy of beauty

Carneval 2014 by night closeup of our float Our float  lit up for the torchlight retreat

There were lots of pix of preparations on my 6-word-Saturday

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Evening Walk

After the Harvest

After the Harvest  2013 above and The view this morningThe view this morning 13.7.14

Distant view
of trees and pastures
now obscured by waving maize.

Remote hum
of main road motors
muffled by beloved birdsong .

Inaccessible roughness
of thick bark on oak trunk
untouchable high above the bank.

Sweet flavour
of luscious blackberries
lingers long on my grassy walk.

Insistent perfume
transports rosy thoughts
from some secluded garden.

This is my feeble attempt for Day 13  at Creative Bloomings Camp challenge :
The prompt: “Again we’re on the nature trail. Your senses are bombarded and you experience each one. Write to your senses as we walk the trail. What are the scents? Scenes? What do you hear? Write your poem in five stanzas highlighting your walk through Mother Nature’s playground one sense at a time.”



Posted in free verse, nature poems | Tagged | 5 Comments

Resignation – Wordle 169

One lacklustre morning,
the sun eclipsed by millions of pewter clouds,
I sulked in my room.
A manufactured collection of heterogeneous words
grabbed me by the throat and squeezed.
Euterpe, the cheeky muse of lyric poetry,
took a hike – shot off her mouth
to the first sympathetic person she met,
complaining that I wouldn’t come out to play.
I sighed (side, geddit?)
and gave honours to the wordle maker.



Posted in free verse, nonsense poems, really bad poetry, wordles | Tagged | 17 Comments


Holding our breath in reverence
for the mystery of the forest
we’ll explore the dangers ahead
timid yet brave for adventure,
breathing in good fresh air.

How to escape the labyrinth?
Tie a string and trail it behind,
leave paterans of twigs at junctions
or cut blazes in bark to point the way?
Keep an eye out for monsters
or maybe there’s a bear.

Collect pebbles in pockets
for a cairn at the top
to show that we were there.

Day 12 of the Granada Camp for Wayward Poets Challenge at Poetic Bloomings

Posted in free verse, rhyming poetry | Tagged | 8 Comments

Six word Saturday

Here’s to co-operation, esprit de corps

The carneval floats are finished, lined up in  the hangar after six months of hard work by the four teams.  Last night the Mayor gave us a wine and biscuits party to view them. 

vin d'honneur pour les travailleurs

vin d’honneur pour les travailleurs

carneval 2014 hangar, long view CARNEVAL 2014 our chateau lit up
long view – that rocket was used in 2010                         Our chateau lit up

 This is the first time in ten years that I have glued not a single papillote, nor made costumes for this or that character.  But Jock has contributed enough input for three, so I was allowed in too!  The results are splendid – the ingenuity of  a disparate group of villagers to make the designs and carry them through is praiseworthy.

carneval 2014 Chinon with vineyard carneval 2014 chateau 3, detail
Each element is covered with thousands of little twisted paper papillotes, a speciality of our village.

carneval 2014 3rd chateau carneval 2014 Tintin chateau
The parade of the “Chateaux de la Loire” with marching bands is set for Sunday, with a candle-lit retreat followed by fireworks, so pray for no rain. Those papillotes are very fragile.  

On Monday – which is July 14th, the French National Day – a “grillade” (barbecue) for participants is given by the Comité des Fêtes.  It will be a huge and jolly meal lasting about 6 hours.

Posted in life writing, pictures | Tagged , | 21 Comments

Recipe for Joy


Past and future days
soaked in memories and dreams
comfort and solace

each life comprises
a multitude of diverse
coming and going

good days and bad days
tolerated with courage
happy and sad days

doing and making
obsession and digression
learning and laughter

for Red Woolf Poems Thursday prompt Cooking Poetry

Posted in formal poetry, haiku and senryu | 3 Comments