NaPoWriMo 2019



Well, I missed last year’s NaPoWriMo challenge, but I have more time again now, and am determined to have another go, although I am writing more prose these days. Flash Fiction is interesting and often what counts as a poem is technically, as it lacks rhyme, rhythm or other form, a flash.

I have left it a long time before getting back here in earnest, and now comments re this post seem to have been copied in from an old post I wrote in 2017. I will think about that later…


Day 8 – Snookered

I will admit to having written an earlier version of this poem before, but it was so close to the prompt today that I am using it anyhow with just a couple of tweaks.

The prompt was to use jargon ( from work, but this is from sport ) to drive the poem.

One thing you should know – a half butt is a longer than normal snooker cue.

I was sick of love the night we met

in that seedy Longsight dive.

I took my cue from you

not even half, butt it would do.

You bent towards the bed

you took your stance

and we began our dance.

You forced an angle;

feathered me into

kiss, double kiss,

dragged me into a cocked hat,

held me in fingertip grip

played postman’s knock

at the top of the table

and ended it in-off

that cheeky shot

which never should

have found the pocket.

But it did.


It was a fluke, but the truth remains

you had me snookered.


Day 7 – What I Would Give

The prompt to day is to write a poem of gifts and joy. I think I went off piste with this, but there are gifts of a sort in my poem.

Just more regret than joy.


I would give you my approval if I could

knowing now how much you craved it


I would appreciate the way you chose

to prove yourself a man.


I didn’t care to learn how much

you did to win that green beret.


Three quarters of the boys who tried

dropped out within a month.


I would sit now on that parade ground

my mouth a smile, eyes proud.


I would give you back the legs that carried you

thirty miles across the moors at night.


I would give you back strength in your arms

now pale and thin as saplings.


I would applaud the fact you would not ask for aid

until there was no help for it.


I would tell you that I know the efforts made,

say that you did well.

Day 6 – The If Function

I am in a hurry today – would like to catch up and write the poems I missed at the beginning, so my poem is very simple and relies only on repetition to make it a poem at all.

I may come back to it later, as the function key in spreadsheets strikes me as having possibilities for metaphor.

I was once a tax accountant btw. and the prompt was to “write a poem that emphasizes the power of “if,” .

Well – I looked at the suggested poems, and tried hard to get that poem by Rudyard Kipling out of my head. This is the result:


The IF function

It lets you make logical comparisons

between a value and what you expect.


What can we expect if we measure success

by our child’s grades and not her character?


What can we expect If we measure our worth

by counting up the dollars we have made?


What can we expect if we measure justice

by asking how much money we paid?


Press the function key. Find your answer.


Day 5 – The Beat Goes On

The prompt today was hard. Or it was for somebody like me who, if given three options: easy, harder and fiendish, will take fiendish and then end up hurling insults at the cat.

Who is blameless.

I gave up in the end. My villanelle wasn’t quite a villanelle and I didn’t use contrasting ideas, although I did shamelessly steal pieces of text from a number of sources: Leonard Cohen, Nietzsche, Beethoven, O’Shaunessy, Maggie Stiefvater.

The Beat Goes On.

You don’t really care for music, do you?

Where words fail, music speaks,

but really, what’s it to you?


I’m the song you hummed as a little kid

then forgot you knew, but

you don’t really care for music do you?


When I rock to the beat you cannot hear

you declare me insane,

but really, what’s it to you?


I am music maker, dreamer of dreams,

needed more than you know,

but really what’s it to you?

You don’t really care for music do you?


Day 4 – The Gifts

The prompt today was to write a sad poem and the example given was Teicher’s Son.  The prompt suggests simple words and maybe even a sonnet. I’m not up to a sonnet right now, but have tried for simplicity, setting the words on the page so that they can be read in more than one way. I don’t know if this makes communicating sorrow simpler or more complicated.

The Gifts

You chose chocolates as a gift but never knew

I picked up two that winter. The other?                            Loss            .

Both were salt, both dark at the heart,                                       substance

melting,  diminishing moments                                          after

then hardly visible last smidgeon of                                              blood

my belly scooped                                                                       hollow.

You slept alone in our hideaway                                                     hotel,

I walked frozen streets in a chilly                                     city

and yes, I found the frozen  winter                                              river

across the freeway and behind wire                                   fencing

my hands numbed purple, dark grey                                          sky.


It’s overdue, but thank you for those sweets,                bitterness,

the cold wind from the north.

the frozen river I couldn’t reach.

The chocolates.                                                                                    Loss.

Day 1 – Prescription

The prompt for April 1st was to write a poem that provides instructions. I don’t want people to give me instructions – I did register Fleabag last week when she told God that she wanted somebody to tell her what to do, but I am too old now. There was a tug of recognition, but that was it.

This is my instruction poem:


It is recommended that metaphors are stored correctly

so that they don’t degrade and lose their effectiveness.

Some metaphors can interact with other metaphors

so that they don’t work as well

You may experience unwanted or unexpected

thoughts or feelings while using metaphors.

They may be relatively minor, for example

a headache, a dry mouth or elevated heartrate;

they can be life threatening such as

Irreversible Damage to the Heart.

Tell us if you experience adverse effects

caused by exposure to metaphors.

Remember that all metaphors are potentially harmful.

Do not exceed the recommended dose.

Handle with care.