Monday, 19 June 2017

All Covered in Chalk


All Covered in Chalk

The players wear a hat, and a long purple gown,
Then, are chased through the streets, to the heart of the town,
There to be judged, by how many a hand,
Has been laid on their gowns, before they reach the strand.

In the original story, Esme never was caught,
So, the winner is decided by how few stains she’s got.
Every year, it’s the fate of those less agile girls,
To be patterned with chalk from their feet to their curls.

Then, one fateful year, a girl with hair like red fire,
Heckled the chasers, and ignited their ire.
She ran along rooftops, and down narrow braes,
She knew all of the short cuts, and secretive ways,

But, catch her they did, and before she was let go,
Her cloak was all white, as the pure driven snow.
With chin tilted high, she strode onto the stage,
And, although she had lost, her face showed no shame, or rage.

There stood her friend, who had been the slowest for years,
She was laughing, and smiling, and wiping at tears.
The red-head strode past her, to the end of the line.
“I guess that I lost, and yet still, I feel fine!”


Friday, 19 May 2017

They Cast Her in Copper



They cast her in copper,
And hid her away,
With plans to unveil it,
On her victory day.

The day came around,
And the plans were all laid.
The stalls were set out,
And the banners were made.

And one little girl,
Holding a large fair day biscuit,
Glanced around for her bullies,
And decided to risk it.

She ducked, and she weaved,
Through the thickening crowd.
The people seemed too big,
And their voices too loud

There stood the great statue,
With a ship on her shoulders,
Her teeth gritted with effort,
And her muscles like boulders.

Just like the real thing,
She'll keep the sailors alive.
Protect them and raise them,
And make sure that they thrive.

The girl looked up at first, then,
For the first time in a while,
She looked down at her tummy
And broke out in a smile.


Saturday, 6 May 2017

The Soil




She takes out her glass
From her scientist's pocket,
And examines a flower
Growing out of a socket.

Squashing down her fear
Of the scary plant pot,
She peers in to find out
What kind of secrets it's got.

She imagines a seedling
Alive in her head
Looking for light, and some water,
Needing to grow, and be fed.

If it's ear-bound, the sound,
Would be the least of her woes.
At least it would smell nice,
If it grew out of her nose.

The roots of this plant,
Aren't touching the ground
She wonders if this is why
There are no others around.

With all of the other plants
That she has found,
The green part has grown up,
And the root part grew down.

Her heart is in flight
And her brain starts to boil,
What if the plants here
Were killed by the soil?









The East Wind



The wind from the west whips up sand from the bay
The tide grabs the boats, and it takes them away.
A sough from the south brings you air that is warm,
but if it hits the north wind, you're in for a storm.

It's the wind from the east that has the most range,
It gallops through barley, and makes young people go strange,
And if you're not careful, when the wind changes tack,
They'll leave with the East Wind, and never come back.

And that's the wind too, that brings us the wrecks,
With seaweed for rigging, and crabs on their decks.
And unspeakable horrors alive in the hold.
Their eyes on stalks, and their skin wet and cold.

Sometimes there are people, now nothing but bone,
Who all promised their loved ones that they'd come safely home.
We bury them on a hill, looking out to the sea,
In the hope that they look out on where their homes used to be.

The young in town wonder why the aged ones mutter,
When the flags on the rooves take on an easterly flutter.
They look to the hill, then hide their faces in their glasses,
And hold their children's hand, until the easterly passes.








Friday, 21 April 2017

The Historian's Aprentice



The Historian’s Apprentice
By the light of the candles,
And the smell of the must,
I wear out my elbows,
Shifting cobwebs and dust.

And fetching the ink, 
For the Grey Hat to scribe,
But for me to be near her,
Is enough of a bribe.

She babbles and mutters,
As she wields her straw broom.
As the long candles flicker,
Her words fill up the room.

She drawls about medicine,
And mutters in verse,
And her opinions on maths,
Come out clear and terse.

When she lectures on love,
A tear shines in her eye,
But, I’ll never have the courage,
To ask her just why.

When her broom is hung up,
And the ink put away,
And the last of the chores,
Are checked off for the day.

She looks at me then,
Through rheumy grey eyes,
As the last of the sunlight
Reflected there dies.

And I take her gnarled hand,
And I lead her back home,
Where she sleeps like a bookmark,
In a bed-sized old tome.




Wednesday, 12 April 2017

The Dark Water

Wax and grow, spreading, slow,
Trickle and wend, around the bend.
Gurgle and flow, up we go,
To laughter's death and smile's end.

Seep, creep, up the wall,
Grip the pipe, grasp the gutters,
Up to the highest windows tall,
To parch the life behind the shutters.

Bubble and creep, quick and steep,
Ooze and pour, onto the floor,
Through the window, in we seep,
To the light blue room, with the painted door.



Friday, 7 April 2017

The White Hat



Her office space is very neat;
A desk, a bust, and an official seat.
She sits tall, erect and prim,
she'll smile at you as you walk in.

But for visitors, there is no chair;
no space to sit, just walls and air.
So, nervously, you shuffle in,
beneath her gaze, and her steady grin.



Friday, 24 March 2017

Turbulent Waters



All of my friends 
can count higher than me,
They can add,
and subtract,
and think faster than me.

And they can sit still,
when the teacher is talking,
while I'd sooner be out climbing a tree,
or just walking,

My parents have weeded,
and tiled my path,
They've paid for my tutors,
and helped me with math,

But I'm only happy 
when I'm down by the sea
When I can be the person
who I want to be.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Upside Down



Upside-Down
They said it sprang up 
from under the ground,
Years ago when this terrible 
totem was found.

But I wonder…

Did no one consider,
And if not, then why,
The chance that it plummeted,
Down from the sky? 


Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Caught



Caught

"The rules for the black hats
state that if you are caught,
you must tell us a riddle,
whether you're willing or not."

"A riddle?" says she,
"I have hundreds to spout.
For starters, please tell me,
Why do sisters fall out?"

"That's not a riddle!" I cried,
"That's as vague as can be!
I meant like,
"What thing has eyes that can't see?"

"I know that one," she said,
"The answer is, 'Me in the dark.'
Unlike that one,
my riddle's not such a walk in the park."

I hesitated, 
not wanting to forfeit the test.
"Is the answer,
that they cannot both be the best."

"Nice try." Said she,
"You could well be right.
But the answer to a riddle
must fit the question air-tight."

I muttered and grumbled,
but wouldn't give in.
as I searched for the knowledge,
that would help me to win.

And then came the answer,
and it fit like a glove,
From an old song about Esme,
and lost sisterly love.

"Sisters will fight,
it seems clear to me,
when one has the other
thrown into the sea!"


Thursday, 2 March 2017

The Hat Eater



The Hat Eater

The sea is too big.
It's really not fair.
I can't find out why things wash up,
or from where.

If I find a skull,
on the soft rocky ground,
There's no telling who lost it,
by where it was found.

And these ragged torn clothes,
half buried in sand.
Did they wash up,
from a far distant land?

And these footprint-shaped pools,
as wide as a spade.
Where on Earth did they come from?
and by who's feet were they made?




Friday, 24 February 2017

Emelia's Letter



Paper airplanes predate real planes, which is why some people still call them paper darts.









Friday, 17 February 2017

The Exiled Queen



My warmest regards
For your beautiful letter.
Your wonderful welcome
Could not have been better.

I was sitting alone
When it flew past the shutter,
And a breeze brought it down by my feet
With a flutter.

The blue of your ink
Will remind me of home
I'll take it out often,
As I read it alone
And hold it with care,
To my chest with both hands,
And think fondly of you,
And these windy young lands.

Your beautiful bird
Brought a smile through my tears,
And banished my gloom,
My sorrows and fears.
Just how you have made this,
So delicate and wise,
With just paper and skill,
A letter that flies! 


Sunday, 12 February 2017

Sir Barry



He cuts a fine figure,
In his burgundy gown.
A vender of vigour.
A young frog about town.

A high social climber,
despite his wet skin,
but the servants and houseboys,
still won’t let him in.

For the folk of blue blood,
and the well-heeled young witches,
disdain folk of the mud,
the denizens of the ditches.

And so every night
Once the wine is all drunk,
he'll return to his home,
in a hollowed out trunk.



Friday, 27 January 2017

The Ballad of Old Ezme



Don your hats, it's time to play.
Today's the day!
Today's the day!

Old Ezme's hunting round today,
Chase her away!
Chase her away!

The red hats guard from such as her,
see them pass in a crimson blur.
Chase her away!
Chase her away!

The white hat has the final say.
Come what may!
Come what may!

The guilty for their crimes must pay,
Lock them away!
Lock them away!

Old Ezme couldn't help but sink,
so let's throw her in the drink!
Into the bay!
Into the bay!

(in a different hand)

But Ezme didn't die that day,
So they say...
So they say...

She pulled out a sieve, and sailed away,
So they say...
So they say...

And white hat tried, but couldn't follow,
her cries rang bitter, wroth, and hollow.
All the sails on the ships were slack,
as she watched old Ezme's shrinking back.
Sailing away...
Sailing away...

Monday, 23 January 2017

Witch Knight



I've long since done fighting
and hung up my armour.
I'm finished with knighting,
and now I'm a farmer.

But when I am needed,
and calamity threatens
I'll put on my armour,
and sharpen my weapons.

Against those such as me,
many spears have been broken.
I have limbs like a willow,
and a will that is oaken.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Alistair the Frog



I punt down the river,
and sleep by its side,
Although I sell lots of things,
I don't charge for a ride.

The frogs although gifted,
don't have a quick mind,
So they turn to the foundlings,
and those left behind,

To sell people their wares,
their weaving, and pottery.
I've won the greatest of prizes,
in life's lazy lottery.

Friday, 6 January 2017

Plummet


"A bell would be loud
to drop from up here,
but the sound it would make
would be perfectly clear."

"A pigeon would take
far too long to land,
even if I could coax it
with a crumb from my hand."

"The pin from my hair knot
would be far too small,
I wouldn't hear the sound
of its landing at all."

"There must be a way,"
thought the girl, "To test,
what floats, and what doesn't,
and what plummets the best."