bits and bats and sticks and stones and pics and pomes


A whimsical take on will-making

To my beloved wife I leave
my second best mousetrap.
I know she dislikes the carnage
which results from the best one.

I have no harpoon to leave
since I am fasting from slaughter on the seas
and have turned instead to simple domesticity
a cottage with roses around the door,
a thatched roof, complete with a signature cat,
and on the white wall of the living room
a painting inspired by a Japanese print
maybe you can guess the one?

For the rest my possessions consist of
the contents of one Argyle sock,
and five locked wooden boxes,
which you will find
behind the shoes in my wardrobe.

Written from prompts on WritersDock. William Shakespeare’s will contains these instructions: Item I gyve unto my wief my second best bed with the furniture; 

Fast Food Feast

‘Would you like salt and vinegar, love?’ John’s godmother pushed the sachets towards him. 

He struggled with them for a moment, so she fished in her handbag and shoved a pair of opened scissors across the table. 

‘I suppose you’ll be wanting those flipping pancakes for afters, will you? These places have a nerve, the way they market death disguised as delicious food.’ 

John looked up from his plate. ‘Ah, but the manufacturers know just how short-term memory is when it comes into conflict with appetite.’

Prompts: salt and vinegar love, the godmother, opened scissors, flipping pancakes, market death, short term memory.

I imagine these two almost as Little Britain type characters, a lumpish guy with specs, who looks stupid, slobbish and greedy, but talks in a high-flown way.  The godmother, middle-aged and slightly disapproving, yet indulgent.

Feb 02 2008

Red alert

‘Red alert, red alert.’  The announcer’s voice rang out.

Lou saw red lights flashing in the street, in contrast to the darkness inside the houses.

‘Everyone is to remain in the sector.  Red alert.’ the voice continued.


‘That’s okay, if you have nowhere to go,’ thought Lou, ‘but I must see Joe before tomorrow’.


She pulled back the curtain. A few officials were standing in the street.  One had been posted to each junction, to control the comings and goings.


Still the voice boomed from the loudspeaker on the lamppost. ‘Red alert. Red alert. No one is to leave the sector.’


‘There’s something odd about this lot.  Something’s missing,’ thought Lou.  She realised nothing in the street was moving. She was watching ghosts in a cemetery dance, and had caught them playing statues.


‘Red alert,’ the voice continued on its loop.  'Everyone is to remain…’


‘…in this chicken house?’ Lou muttered to herself. ‘not likely.’


She put on her black coat, pulled her scarf over her face, took a deep breath and went out.

‘Red alert! Red alert’ she heard as she passed the loudspeaker. ‘No one is to leave the sector.’


She continued, hugging the wall, past the first sentry.  Only then did she notice that they were all cardboard cut-outs.


Five Gold Rings

The 12 Days of Christmas were used as prompts, form 26th Dec 2007 onwards.



Almost every day of that sunny summer they played in the fields at the top of the street. They walked for hours, climbed trees, or played at explorers, hunters, and warriors defending their land.  The storm was sudden and unexpected, and while they sheltered in the old barn, Bill picked up a few strands of straw from the floor – when the lightning flashed they shone like gold.   He twisted them together and wound them round Joan’s finger – ‘Now, we’re married,’ he said.



Joan opened the door and pointed to the sky.  The full moon shone and the stars were hardly visible.  ‘Look at that ring around the moon like white gold - it threatens stormy weather ahead.  It’s beautiful, but out of reach. We have to accept it as it is.’



‘They were never married.'   She lowered her chin, half-nodded. ‘Mr and Mrs Smith. I mean, how many people are called that? That was no wedding ring.  Brass curtain ring – Woollies’ best, I reckon.’



‘With this ring I thee wed.’  Chosen carefully, engraved with the date and their two names.



Gold rings, in a pile, incorruptible gold, waiting to be melted down and reused.


 30 Dec 2007



Shaman Spider Woman

Picture by Susan Seddon Boulet

She spins the thread

to weave the web

of power on earth.


She throws it dry

on the branch

filigree between the leaves

tracery of twigs.


Her eight legs smooth

the silken cloth

which holds the fly of life

in fate’s trampoline.


No escape until

she tightrope walks the thread

for dinner.


She is Miss Haversham’s

nuptial fantasy, forever

waiting for nothing.


She is Arachne,

another Prometheus

daring to challenge

the gods’ authority

with her skill and power.

Sent crashing into spiderhood.


The silk-steel cables hold

a suspension bridge

high over the gorge.

The magnetic drop

to river or road

is a hard landing.


December 19th 2007


Almost There...

Well that’s it,  we’re almost there
It’s a mix-and-match Christmas for all to share
Selection box is labelled – read with care
But watch out for the fairy with golden hair

She’s a devil in a dress with a wand so fine
Presiding in the Hall of Doom –scented with pine.
Gold and silver baubles, see how they shine.
All under the bridge - let's drink some more wine.

11 Dec 2007

Just another piece of nonsense, though I think Christmas fairies look spooky, and too good to be true.

Christmas excitment

I’m in a rush, I just can’t wait.
I don’t care if you’re hopping
mad at me for dashing by -
I’m off Christmas shopping

I hit the town, I’m full of glee,
The atmosphere’s entrancing.
There’s a brand new outdoor skating rink
I want to go  ice-dancing.

No lullaby will  calm me down
I’m wired and real delighted
Life glitters gold, I feel ten years old
With secret chocolate- I’m excited.

Nov 29 2007

Last Orders

The café across the road had changed its name – it used to be called Smokey Joe’s, but now it was called Last Orders.
Jade (a real English rose in spite of her name like a green stone) called in there – she’d arrived early for the funeral. She had an hour or so to kill before the others were due to arrive at the crem.
It was her aunt's funeral - a Wednesday’s child, but she had been full of fun, never of woe. She was always the one they turned to in their own troubles, the centre of the family. Jade smiled wryly. The dead centre now, I fear.
She ordered a café crème, and flicking through a leaflet on the table, wondered how the funeral directors and florists managed to survive on such competitive rates. They must earn hardly enough to keep body and soul together. And the café looked as though it was on its last legs too.

Nov 27 2007

Vampires' Ball

Everything’s ready for the vampires’ ball
Reserve your tickets one and all
On sale in the precinct £10 a throw
Buy them quickly then Go, man go

Do you really need more information?
You could start your own investigation -
But if you really want to dance
Come on, get in there, take a chance

There’s ruthless Robyn, looking spry
And Dracula’s bride – she’s camera shy
The coffins are lined up against the wall
Dive in at daybreak from the Vampires’ Ball.

Nov 2007

The leaves on the trees...

In spite of  frost and now drizzle, the sumac’s leaves glow.

No blaze, but night-held embers under the ash of the grey morning light.

An extra special beacon to misguided souls who rarely lift their eyes from flickering computer screens. 

A tree so common, so eager to proliferate, that I uproot its suckers all summer long. 

In autumn its beauty makes the heart lurch.

Prompts - the leaves on the trees were changing colour...major blaze...extra special...misguided...

November 13 2007

Mythical Love

Prompts: Mythical Nights /Strange Ideas /Doorstep Challenge /Searching Yesterday /Constantine and Me /Too Late   About 30 minutes.

Mythical nights
One thousand and one
Scheherezade wove tales
to keep her man entranced
and herself alive

Teenaged, I imagined
nights of love
would give me
the key to the universe -
strange ideas
some of us latch on to.

The magic doorstep
challenges me to enter
a chamber of delights
dancers in sheer trousers
what modesty claims to conceal
curves and shadows
full of promise.

Potential unrealised
I thought
I spent yesterday
yesterday’s today
in a box
behind the shoes

the photographs of Constantine and me
the letters
promising to turn his life
into the great twentieth century novel.

He died
and our love
long since.
Too late for regrets,
all is for the best.

I cultivated my garden
unshaded by his strength.
I grew straight,
no longer huddled at the foot of the wall,
sheltered from the sun and rain I needed.

Mirror of Truth

The prompts were:  Mesmerised  -The Big Yellow Bus  - Add Up and Take Away  - Pink Rabbits  - Merry Month of May  - Off the Beaten Track  -  Mirror of Truth.  I took about 30 minutes.


He was mesmerised,
just had to sit next to her.
She was already in her place
on the big yellow bus
that took them home from school
in the evenings.


Each day life does its sums,
adds up the good and the bad,
but it often takes away
what you can’t keep in a school bag.


She said rabbits, rabbits, rabbits,
I’ll have white ones for luck
worried little guys,
with waistcoats and watches
that never run on time.


But he said
Give me a pink rabbit
Sugar sweet as mouse
With a wee fluffy tail of cotton candy.


In the merry month of May
It’s too early to make hay
Though the sunshine and
the fields are mighty tempting
we’ll go off the beaten track
you’ll be my Jill, I’ll be your Jack,
and instead of making hay it’ll be lovely.


She looked in the rear-view mirror,
And decided she’d stay put
Didn’t want to follow him into the future.
For the moment, her truth was here and now

All or nothing

I seesaw from nihilism to piety

Believe in nothing, yet hope for the best

Am I destined for rainbows or flames

Will I be cursed or eternally blest?

My mind may be blown like a dandelion clock

My green fingers control all the rest.


Prompts: Believe in nothing - hope for the best - seesaw - rainbows or flames - mind-blowing - green fingers

Dare to go?

So here she is, Miss Incorruptible Innocence in person, daring to visit the district she’d been warned against, dismissing all advice to “better bring your friends…” Why is she here? Chasing the elusive flame of desire? Seeking a rich vein of inspiration? She has a handful of names in her address book, but words mean nothing to her in this state of mind. And the one name that means anything is inaccessible, the words “I’m finally finished with you, you bitch” echo to the rhythm of her head banging against a wall. This is reality? Or is it but a moment’s dreaming? Even with the lights out, she is not yet bold enough to venture into these Dickensian depths.

14 Sept2007.


Better bring your friends
Incorruptible innocence

Catch a flame
Find the vein
Handful of names
Finished with you

Words mean nothing…
This is reality…
Even with the lights out…


What a performance!

Life is but a joke and God’s the guy wearing the hat with bells on.  He’s got us all assembled in this big building, like some kind of school hall with a stage at the front, and rows of plastic chairs – you know the ones that join together in rows and screech like a cockatiel when you move them across the floor. 


He’s standing there like the master of ceremonies in a school pantomime, where the staff dress up and play silly roles.  Cinderellas and barefoot servants wielding birch twig brooms,  men in drag, and girls in tights.  The clip clop of coconut shells – oh no it isn’t….oh yes it is….two riders approaching, oh no it isn’t, it’s  the pantomime horse complete with its front and back half, throwing out globs of brown plasticine shit into the crowd. as it makes its way towards the stage.


The next scene is  the castle kitchen and the cook is throwing a Ramsay fit.  “Confusion! Confusion! Too much confusion!  Where’s the wine?  They drink my wine. They put this vinegar in its place.  They hide the cream. They drop the meat on the floor.  Clear up.  Clear up,  two minutes before serving- top chefs are in to judge – move it. Move it. No time to waste.” 


We’re sitting there,  laughing when that damned jester holds up the “Laugh now” sign.  Life may be a joke,  but it’s rapidly growing stale. There must be some way out of here.  Surely we can bribe those guards lined up along the sides.  They all look as though they need a drink, with luck they’ll accept this money, even though none of them knows what it’s worth.  We get away with it, and the joke’ll be on God.


17 sept 2007. About 20 mins.


There must be some way out of here

Too much confusion

They drink my wine

None of them know what it's worth

Life is but a joke

Barefoot servants

Two riders were approaching