Past Forward – dVerse


I cannot do this
I cannot do this
I cannot do this
That’s what I want to say.
I am full of making the best of it,
overflowing with doing the right thing,
drowning in putting on a presentable face.
I can feel my lungs bursting
as I inhale the Vesuvius, the Niagra of emotions
roiling underneath this envelope of skin.
I wish I could vomit them up
I would enjoy the acid green bile
as it sluiced between my teeth.
I am no more blemished than any other woman of my age,
I am not comparing the events of my recent life
with the tales of others and presenting my trump card
or – God forbid! – the Joker,
(This is no laughing matter, after all).
I just want you to know that
for once in my life,
there is no schedule, no timetable
(and in any case, since when does public transport
EVER run to time?).
The list of destinations,
the horizontal flow of 24-hour clock times from left to right
is pinned vertically to the bus-stop wall –
such a mistake you see
to expect such things as
shock, denial, anger, bargaining, guilt, depression & ACCEPTANCE
to follow some rigid plan,
and I am such a fool to be surprised when they slide down the shiny paper, a jumble of letters
and numbers, soggy with tears and snot.
I’m not crazy.
I haven’t lost my mind.
But there is a limit to carrying on,
to bearing the burden of being the replica,
to losing your own identity
in favour of the one who left without even a backward glance.
So now, one year down the line from that early morning call
I choose to re-model me in my own image,
I choose to seek what makes me different
rather than what brands me as ‘the same as’.
Mostly, I have done what is expected,
mostly, that has been a burden self-imposed
to honour someone I knew better after death.
That’s OK, hands up, I accept I made that choice – kind of.
But know this.
I cannot do that
I cannot do that
I cannot do that


This week, on dVerse Poetics, Marina Sofia has asked us to write about shattering and rebuilding. What shatters our world, how do we rebuild it? Drink, faith, drugs, self-belief?


The timing couldn’t be more… perfect/imperfect.

Tomorrow it will be a year since my Dad had a devastating stroke, from which he never recovered. He died 12 days later. So this is kind of a tough time.

But I have decided to take part because poetry, writing in general, has been a catharsis, and so it continues. I think we all feel that, don’t we?

Please pop over to dVerse to read some excellent poems on this theme – there will be lots of deep digging, I know it. Join in – we don’t bite!



Like sweet bells jangled – Magpie Tales

waterhouse john william sweet-summer-1912

Sweet Summer, 1912, John William Waterhouse

Ophelia is waiting for her lover in the sultry summer sun.

For him, she has shunned her family and cast aside her morals, her instincts and above all, her better judgement.

The garden appears to be sheltered and obscured from the view of passers-by. However there is a place in the wall where, if you place your eye just so, you will be rewarded with the full spectacle of the fountain, the camellias, the lawn and anyone who cares to rest within.

Ophelia knows this and she also knows who else knows this. Isn’t this hidden gem where the lords and ladies of the kingdom, inflamed with their desires and wants, their peccadillos, flock to catch a glimpse of their hearts’ desires?

She can feel the heat of them, these eyes. She can imagine the carefully plucked eyebrows rising in shock to see her, the future king’s potential wife, lying here in such disarray.

She is imprudent with desire. It will take very little to tip her over into the sweet, dark abyss.

To her at least, in this moment, it will be worth it.


Here’s my latest entry to Magpie Tales. Waterhouse is another one of my favourite artists, along with Millais. This painting to me is reminiscent of Waterhouse’s Ophelia, so I was drawn to writing about the tragic young noblewoman who took her own life in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. A great deal of poetic licence has been taken, of course.

I hope you enjoy it, and that the sense of madness comes through.

The title ‘Like sweet bells jangled’, comes from Ophelia’s speech when she is fretting on Hamlet’s seeming loss of mind:

“Oh, what a noble mind is here o’erthrown!—
The courtier’s, soldier’s, scholar’s, eye, tongue, sword,
Th’ expectancy and rose of the fair state,
The glass of fashion and the mould of form,
Th’ observed of all observers, quite, quite down!
And I, of ladies most deject and wretched,
That sucked the honey of his music vows,
Now see that noble and most sovereign reason
Like sweet bells jangled, out of tune and harsh;
That unmatched form and feature of blown youth
Blasted with ecstasy. Oh, woe is me,
T’ have seen what I have seen, see what I see!”

magpie tales statue stamp 185

Post Haste – Sunday Photo Fiction


Working for the Royal Mail used to be something Stephen felt great pride in, carrying on the family tradition of his great-great-great uncle, Samuel Robertson. He had been a forthright gentleman, by all accounts.

Stephen unlocked the curved door of the letterbox and removed the basket from its belly. In a few minutes, the hungry mouth that had swallowed thousands of letters for decades would be blocked up, probably forever. What a sad day.

Reaching into the gloom, Steve ran his hand inside before locking it shut. ‘Just making sure,’ he thought, not really expecting to find anything.

The dusty, dirty envelope he pulled out looked like it had been trapped inside for decades. The writing was faded, but Steve could just make out the name on the front of the envelope. “’Mr Stephen Robertson’,” he read, surprised. “That’s me! But…?”

He opened it, hastily, furtively. It was addressed to him, but how could it be? Was he breaking the law, he wondered? He pulled out the single piece of paper, hands shaking.

“’Dear Stephen, do not decommission this letterbox. There will be consequences. I remain your servant, Samuel Robertson, Esq.’”

“As you ask, Samuel, mate, as you ask,” thought Stephen, driving away.


Here’s my latest entry into Alistair’s Sunday Photo Fiction. He supplies us with his own wonderful photos, so deserves our support! Happy Sunday, all….

Do take part if you have time, or just pop over and read the other entries.