Back to Basics – dVerse Form for All


Rabbie Burns fell upon his sword they say

But I knew he was pitchforking hay

Literally, I took their words

Because he had only wanted herbs.


Herbs to make his food more savoury

For he was sick of bread and gravy

But bread it is the staff of life

Saving the stomach from hungry strife


He had eschewed his wife’s basic meal

Then worked on the farm, his void purse to heal

He dropped down dead, empty and vague

All for his obsession with parsley and sage.


Oh, Form for All, how I enjoy you! Here’s my thought process.

“Dammit, it’s 8pm (here in the UK), I’ve not long got home from work, I’m tired, I just want to put my feet up… Noo! dVerse! Why do I have to work out how t write a new poetry form? Why isn’t it Open Link Night?… Hmm, I could have some fun with this… Oh! I have an idea…!”

Tonight over on dVerse, Gayle has invited us to write a Clerihew. As Gayle explains ‘A Clerihew is a comic verse on biographical topics consisting of two couplets and a specific rhyming scheme of aabb that was invented by Edmund Clerihew Bentley (1875-1956) at the age of 16.’

I hope you enjoy my attempt – I have no idea where the story came from (not unusual, to be honest)!

Why not have a go yourself? It’s fun!

** Gayle kindly pointed out I forgot to include the name of a famous person in the first line of my poem… So I have used Rabbie Burns, the Scottish poet who was the son of a farmer. Thank you, Gayle!

Chaos Theory – Daily Prompt


She wanted to be the kind of woman who left chaos in her wake. Lying in her bed at night, the broken spring burying itself into the small of her back unless she wound herself round it like a question mark, she counted all the ways in which that would never happen.

One. She was short and stocky – more likely to be solid and dependable than the willowy, angular and above all, tall creature she saw in the department store on a daily basis. True, she looked good enough in her simple, black shift dress, was always neat, always tidy. But, definitely not alluring.

Two. Her hair, no matter how much she wielded the curling irons, just wouldn’t stay in those Marcel waves her ‘ladies’ seemed to manage so effortlessly. Half an hour after she had stepped behind her counter with its sumptuous display of silk scarves and the waves would drop like loose change thrown at a beggar in the street. Plus, she was mousey. No woman who caused chaos, who left broken hearts in her wake, had mousey hair. If only she had a sleek, jet black bob.

Three. She had to work. Mother needed the money to feed the youngsters, now that Father was gone. Oh, the euphemism. She had told Miss Oliphant that her father had ‘gone’, just knowing that her manager, with her lower middle class mind, would assume she meant that Father had passed away. She wasn’t going to disabuse her of this. There was no way she was going to become shop-floor gossip, and share that he had run off with the bar girl from the Rose & Crown.

Four. Spectacles. No siren ever wore spectacles. On the odd occasion she was able to take the time and spare the money to go to the cinema, the heroine of her chosen film was always beautiful and, most importantly, spectacle free. She hated her myopia, hated that she had suffered in silence at school and been branded stupid.

No, there was no chance of leaving chaos in her wake – a disappointing eddy of grey, flotsam strewn foam maybe, but definitely not fireworks, no inferno, no suitor tearing at his chest in angst, calling out her name.

Since when did anyone called Gladys have that kind of effect on the world?

She sighed, twisted herself round the broken spring once more and closed her eyes.

‘Oh Gladys,’ he sighed, rolling the name round his mouth with a mixture of delight and despair. Ernest, the under-apprentice storeman picked at another spot erupting on his chin meditatively. When would she notice him? How could he attract her attention? How could the likes of him, buried in the store-room for most of the day, approach the unapproachable? She was clearly the kind of girl that broke hearts and left chaos in her wake. He imagined a string of suitors, dismissed here and there with hardly a thought on her part.

She was clearly out  of  his league.

I thought I would attempt taking part in the WordPress Daily Prompt. Today’s word is ‘chaos’. What do you think?

If you want to take part, pop over to the WordPress Daily Prompt page. I’m linking to CHAOS right here.


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