Tag Archives: readwritepoem

alchemy of flame

lost in a labyrinth of mirrors
the lives I chose not to live
tease me with their gold-red glitter
and against their glazed silence
the cries of long-faded passion echo
suffering and joy indistinguishable

where is the thread to guide me?

I have been seeking that tantric alchemy
that transforms the bitter almond tang
of old love’s pain into rich bright mead
now the drink simmers before me
its scent brims with sweet intoxication
saying wisdom has tempered the poison

does temptation cloud my seeing?

in the crucible metal shivers and curdles
before melting in consummation
to be shaped by the whim of the vessel
into which it once chose to throw itself
the first hot breath of that forging
traces my skin with sensual intent

should I give myself to the fire?

This started with a readwritepoem prompt about other lives… and took off in an unexpected direction.

The photo is Goblet of cognac, originally uploaded by Andrejs Jegorovs.


No, really

It’s amazing the world
hasn’t ended yet.

No, really. It is.

It seems that, so far, the fates
were always looking away
in those moments when I fail
to be perfect.

(They can’t be paying much attention…
so I suppose there are a lot of other things
they’d rather watch)

But I’m sure one day they’ll be looking on
At just the moment when I do something
stupidly human.

And the sky will fall. The seas will boil.
The hearts of everyone I care for will break
And the whole wide world will stare
and laugh.

No, really. They will.

Another readwritepoem prompt – this time to face your fears and do it with oomph!

Day and night



turquoise swishes across saffron
a sussurating oscillation
as we dig for starfish
crisp cotton melts and clings
to my zaftig ebullience
bladderwrack crackles underfoot
senses seasoned with salt and desire


under the moonless sky the ocean
is starred with amethyst luminescence
meteors zoom past, illuminating
an ethereal path we could take
your fingers embrace mine with a tingle
like the sensuous fire of chillis
my body remembers resilience

After a month of being too busy to do much writing, I’m back with time to write again. So here’s a poem inspired by the latest ReadWritePoem prompt – based on the wordle cloud above.


I scavenge the depleted memories
of antiquated courtyards
chasing their tatterdemalion slink
through chrome and marble jetsam
across their forgotten brillance
My fingers trace words civil and obscene
and with the tenuous thrum
of broken-stringed tablature
the lost resurfaces
and is jettisoned again

This poem started with a collaborative prompt on readwritepoem– which started with various people contributing the following words:

Tatterdemalion slink across chrome alleys.
Villas deplete memories of sacred tablature.
Antiquated courtyards host tribal artifacts,
which nobody recognizes nowadays, remain
untouched. Yet civil guards scream obscenities.
Lost meditation resurfaces. I brilliant though
forgettable words tenuously scavenge jettison

Like the poem, I sifted through the jumble of words and sifted out those that seemed to have a story… then deleted several of them as it made my poem rather adjective heavy! And here is the result. The poem is also a tribute to the antique markets and stalls of Buenos Aires, full of useless treasures and messages from the past.


The world is splintering. Tearing apart
Each day a slow-motion explosion
Of the fragments of my aching heart
Fighting to contain erupting emotion

Arms ache to close the ruptures (yours too weak
To do more than wish to return my embrace)
Tears unite our flesh, pressed cheek to cheek
As if resisting the separation we soon must face.

Yet how can mere arms contain the storm?
The ripping in my chest can only echo your pain
Not take it away – I can’t even keep you warm!
And each embrace is closer to never again.

Tangled in the racing fuse our arms strain to hold
Our world safe for one more hug before it can explode.

Of all the words I’ve read this week, these, from the powerful and poignant blog The Price of Love, were the ones that stayed with me, and turned into a poem:

“I hugged her and comforted her as best I could, feeling her pain heaving through the sobs against my chest. I held her then, but what more could I do when I was tearing down the middle inside?”

Bones of the earth

amazing photo volcano eruption lightning

amazing photo of an erupting volcano from metro.co.uk




Blurring all the days and nights,
cloud banks muffle the sky’s bright space
And a tirelessly destructive breeze rewrites
the expressions of the world’s wrinkled face.

But still the pulse of the living earth
awakens striving hope and breath
in the cataclysmic earth-wombed rebirth
of dreaming mountains from molten death

Ageless rocks in the elements’ hells,
stand and weather the eroding dew,
which joyfully rivers to eternity’s wells,
where long-lost hopes are born anew.

This poem was produced in response to readwritepoem’s challenge to write a poem based on the skeleton of someone else’s. I used a skeleton provided by throwshiswords – I didn’t read his original poem until afterwards, so all I had was this skeleton:

_______ all the _____ and _______,
_______ ____ obscures the ____.
____ _______ breezes _______
erase the ______ of the ___.

But still the _____ _____ of the ________
awakens ______ ___ and ____.
In the ________ _________ echo,
_________ half-__________ ______.

Ageless ________ in the _______,
_____ and _____ and _____ alone,
connected ______ ___ to _____,
a long-lost _____ is _____ _____.

And here is the original poem I produced based on that skeleton:

Blurring all the days and nights,
damp mist obscures the stars
subtly destructive breezes patiently
erase the face of the world

But still the pulse beat of the living earth
awakens tentative hope and breath
In the quiet, unregarded echo
of patient half-heard dreams

Ageless rocks in the elements’ path,
stand and weather and endure alone,
connected subtly to eternity’s wells,
a long-lost hope is born anew.

I then went back and did some tweaking – I wanted to deepen the connection between some of the images, and also felt the poem wanted rhyme. Thus ending up with the version that appears at the top of this post.

An intriguing process – firstly that I spontaneously used some of the words from the original poem that didn’t make it into the skeleton (dew, mist) – and something of the same mood. And secondly that, although the final version contains very little of the skeleton, I don’t think it’s a poem I would have spontaneously written without the prompt.

Scent of the earth

I smell green, I smell damp
The soft soil, bruised by my steps
Emits smells strong as a skunk
But infinitely sweeter

(green, damp)

I smell puddle, I smell pool
Fresh or stagnant, sweet or bitter
The moist breath of water meanders
Around me, murmuring of caimans.

(puddle, pool)

I smell feathers, I smell fur
My nostrils strain to catch,
Slipping through some clearing,
The secret musk of jaguar.

(feathers, fur)

I smell vines, I smell orchids
The sex perfumes of plants
Make this green world a red-light zone
Dizzying in its need to breed.

(vine, orchid)

I smell sun, I smell steam
In rare patches of light and heat
The scents are brighter, headier
As life passionately basks.

(sun, steam)

I smell shit, I smell piss
Here life is basic, raw – honest.
With no chemicals to strip
The fertility from fertiliser.

(life, death)

I smell life, I smell death
The sweet fetor of leaves
That in their dying
Feed voracious new life.

(life, death)

Here in these intense green
Cathedrals of the living world
The overwhelmed senses sing.
Reverently, I smell the earth.

Recently I’ve been lucky enough to be able to visit the amazing world of the tropical rainforest. And if you’ve ever been there yourself, you’ll know the incredible scents that come from the mad green diversity of life. In response to a prompt to write about smell at readwritepoem, I knew that I wanted to try and capture some of the amazing richness of this world, through its smells. I know next time I’m in that environment I’ll realise just how little justice I did to the amazing bouquet of life, but I’ve done my best!

The wonderfully lush photo is Tropical Rainforest, originally uploaded to flickr by Raja Daja.