Icebound – dVerse

No, do not reach inside of me.
Not any more.
For there is nothing left.

Sweet sister death – dVerse Quadrille


You never told me, father,

how to prepare for this journey,
dismissing your own war-wound,
saying ‘It’s nothing’.
I am bitter to my shattered bones,
staring into the chests of my comrades

my enemies,
spatchcocked like the chickens

cold-slabbed in your butcher’s shop window.


Hurrah! the dVerse pub has re-opened after the summer’s hiatus. We have a fantastic interview with Brian Miller, one of the  co-founders, to celebrate 5 years of dVerse. In much more sobering news, we have also learned that the lovely Viv passed away on 5th July. She was always very supportive of my work in her comments, so I am terribly saddened to hear of her passing. My thoughts, along with everyone else’s, go to her family and loved ones at this time.

Tonight, we are hosted by the lovely Grace, who has invited us to write a quadrille – 44 words, no more, no less. I love the form, it really makes me work to get my meaning across.

I watched a documentary on BBC iPlayer about the poet David Jones, who’s epic poem  about the First World War, ‘In Parenthesis‘ is considered to be one of the finest of its time, of all war poetry in fact. The title of my quadrille is taken from a phrase in Part 7 of his work, and my poem has been informed somewhat by him, and the subject matter of his work. If I had even an ounce of his talent, I would be delighted.

I’m a bit of a war poet fan, and although I had heard of him, I hadn’t read David Jones’ epic work. The documentary, which was both about him and his poem, has enthralled me and my family. I have ordered a copy of ‘In Parenthesis’ and am desperate to start reading it.

Anyway, please do hop on over to dVerse and take part if you can. Or just enjoy the work you find there!



My mother was doing that thing she did. That thing with the rags in the sink.

It sets my teeth on edge, every time, because I know that it’s the signal, loud and clear, that something IS WRONG.

It’s mostly Dad. He can’t keep her happy now, can’t even bother trying any more because he can just be doing nothing, nothing at all, and she’ll high-tail it to the kitchenette and start slopping those rags around, pounding and pounding, sloshing filthy water all up the walls, muttering under her breath.

I was standing right behind her yesterday and she didn’t even notice. She was so utterly and terrifyingly focused on that pounding, pounding, making the counter top bang against the wall, not even noticing the flakes of bubbled up plaster and paint fluttering down from the ceiling as the cowboy carved-out excuse for a kitchen complained in protest at her rhythmic bang bang bang.

Once, just once, Dad kinda slipped up. Forever and ever since, Mother hasn’t let him forget it. It’s like she’s on the hunt for the tiniest hint that he doesn’t want to be in the family any more, that he wants to up sticks and live a good life, for God’s sake.

I remember ‘The Mistake’ as Mother calls it, as she hisses the words through her teeth, as she pounds those innocent rags to shreds in the sink. She was standing behind the counter, That Woman, giving him this root beer-float kind of smile. Mother saw it, filed it away, pressed her thin lips into an even tighter line and waited until we got home. I can only have been all of seven, perhaps eight. Boy, did she let rip. Yes, Dad did know her, yes he had passed the time of day with her, yes, he had once poured his heart out to her over one too many beers, yes, he shoulda confided in Mother, his Goddamn wife. But, the simple fact was, he hadn’t. He’d made a mistake.

And twenty four years later, he’s still paying the price.

So, my mother does that thing with the rags in the sink and Dad, he does that thing with the newspaper. You know, hides behind it, holds it up close to his face like the print is all faded and small.

All those unspoken words making the air thick as molasses and treacherous as quicksand.