The familiar sense of dread crept over him like the summer fog dragging a wet blanket over the city. As the bell for the last period of the day rang, the usual quivering in his gut began. He gathered his things slowly and carefully. Last to exit the classroom again. The boy knew he was only delaying the inevitable. Sure enough: the bully waited out of sight behind a neighbourhood rubbish bin, springing out as the boy walked by. “What a sissy, you ol’ four-eyes!” the meaty monster began, shoving the boy’s shoulder as he walked past. “Learn anythin’ new today, Space Cadet?” Another shove from behind, harder this time. The boy tried to control the shaking, each hand clutching a shoulder strap of his pack. He looked down at his feet as he briskly strode the sidewalk. “What’s a-matter, freak?” intoned the bully, racing to get ahead of the boy. His shaggy black hair fell in his eyes. “Is the little, bitty baby afraid? Aw! Run home to mamma.” With a leer on his face, the tormentor jumped in front of the boy, stopping him in his tracks. He put his fat sneering face just inches from the boy’s. “You make me sick, punk!” He stabbed one of his fingers into the boy’s chest. “You are a good-for-nothing idiot! You ought to go . . . ” He never finished. At that moment a huge, wild-haired woman jumped out of a car that had pulled up beside them. “Wilbur, you lazy good-for-nothing! You should have been home an hour ago.” She grabbed the bully, who seemed to have shrunk at least six inches, by one of his ears and shook his head like an agitating washer. “How (she slapped him across the face now as he raised his hands to shield himself) many (slap) times (slap) do I have to tell you, idiot: Be home by three!” She was shaking him now, like a puppy jouncing a rag doll. “Just wait till you get home, stupid. You are going to get it this time!” And she nearly threw him into the backseat of the vehicle. The boy watched the bully as the car pulled abruptly away from the curb. For a brief second the two boys’ eyes met. As he turned away to continue his walk home, the boy felt a strange ache in his middle.


YES! It is April! And that means: National (or GLOBAL) Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo for short).
So, here I go again, on the writing roller coaster with hundreds of others across the earth. Why don’t you join us? Check it out here.

1 April: Write your own prose poem that, whatever title you choose to give it, is a story about the body. The poem should contain an encounter between two people, some spoken language, and at least one crisp visual image.

The Way Home


There is home.

The place from which you were wrenched,

that for which you have spent every moment searching.

Sometimes you are so close,

you can smell the heather

and the pine.

No amount of striving will take you there.

You must settle in yourself,

let go

and dare the drop.

Too much thinking

will obscure the path.

You can only find your way home

by trusting your heart.


Day Thirty

Prompt: Write a poem in the form of a series of directions describing how a person should get to a particular place.

View from a Lost Window

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Early spring,

and the robin-chat

sings for no other reason

than he can,

calling the morning sun

into the sky.


I rise

to draw back

the aperture veil.

Dazzling butterscotch blossoms

greet my early eyes,

— a flow of honey,

a field of extraordinary fire —

breaking my breath

and catching my heart



and casements later

I close curtain lids,

drawing on the memory

of golden streams,

which cause my soul to cry

for the beauty

of clivias.


Day Twenty-Nine

Prompt: This one is called “in the window.” Imagine a window looking into a place or onto a particular scene. It could be your childhood neighbour’s workshop or a window looking into an alien spaceship. What do you see? What’s going on? Write it.

I wrote of one of my favourite views OUT of a window.

Clivia miniata





Day Twenty-Eight

Prompt: Write a poem that poses questions.

Is this a cop-out? Can one word and a title be a poem? What else can one write after that title? Is this the real poem?



We dream

of flying

but we cannot leave the ground.

We long

for home

but only have temporary accommodation.

We reach

for something

just outside our grasp.

Most of the time we walk through this world blindly,

putting our fists through walls which aren’t there,

chasing shadows.

Reality always seems

just around the next corner,

over the horizon.

But every once

in a golden while,

at times when we least expect it,

we gaze into heaven

for the briefest of moments,

and we are undone.


Day Twenty-Seven

Prompt: Write a poem inspired by an entry from the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows. The entries are very vivid – maybe too vivid! But perhaps one of the sorrows will strike a chord with you, or even get you thinking about defining an in-between, minor, haunting feeling that you have, and that does not yet have a name.

I started with ONISM : n. the frustration of being stuck in just one body, that inhabits only one place at a time, which is like standing in front of the departures screen at an airport, flickering over with strange place names like other people’s passwords, each representing one more thing you’ll never get to see before you die—and all because, as the arrow on the map helpfully points out, you are here.

On and On


Every night in my dreams

I see it, I hear it —

Tell me when this nightmare will end.

It plays there in the station

The taxi, lift and weight room

And I am slowly going ‘round the bend.

Here, there, and everywhere

This melody annoys me to the core.

Over again, an endless refrain

It will play on repeat and rewind

And this song will go on and on . . .

I hum it in the shower,

Find I’m singing it every hour,

Praying that it’ll get out of my head.

Regret when I first heard it,

And even though I’ve spurned it,

I fear forever it’ll always go on and on and on . . .



Day Twenty-Six

Prompt: Write a parody. Besides being fun, writing parodies can be a great way to hone your poetic skills – particularly your sense of rhyme and sound, as you try to mimic the form of an existing poem while changing the content. Just find a poem – or a song – that has always annoyed you, and write an altered, silly version of it.

Can you guess the song I parodied? Yes: My Heart Will Go On. 😂




-in many ways-

a day

like any other;

but we remember


day on this date

years ago

that changed our fate


When a plain city girl


a friend of a friend

from the airport,

and that friend of a friend

was a plain country boy

from a rural African village;

and that city girl

and that country boy

fell fast and deep,



And through all kinds of storms

we’ve walked


as one,

encircled by beautiful children,

strong well-rooted trees

whose boughs reach toward heaven.

How blessed –


⁃ who celebrate today,

a day

years ago

when a city girl

and a country boy


and discovered

another world.


Day Twenty-Five

Prompt: Write an “occasion” poem. What’s that? Well, it’s a poem suited to, or written for, a particular occasion. This past January, lots of people who usually don’t encounter poetry got a dose when Amanda Gorman read a poem at President Biden’s inauguration.

Protect Culture


Culture is of the order Philidota,

from the Ancient Greek.

Culture usually lives in hollow trees

or burrows.

Generally nocturnal,

culture tends to be solitary,

only meeting other cultures to mate.

A number of extinct cultures have been identified

and it is greatly feared

that existing cultures,

due to extensive poaching,

could soon all be things of the past.

Culture has poor vision and is toothless,

however this does not mean culture is defenseless.

Culture is covered with protective scales.

Culture can emit

a highly noxious-smelling chemical

from glands near the anus,

and will use this method of defense

when threatened.

Culture has sticky saliva and often picks up unwanted tidbits.

We must all do what we can to protect culture, for our world would be a much poorer place without it.


Day Twenty-Four

Prompt: Find a factual article about an animal. A Wikipedia article or something from National Geographic would do nicely – just make sure it repeats the name of the animal a lot. Now, go back through the text and replace the name of the animal with something else – it could be something very abstract.

Guess my wonderful animal.

(I am on holiday [yay!] and have to use my phone to publish, so it might look a bit different .)

Umbrella Thorn


You stand,
a canopy on the vast savanna.
Your elegant white flowers
perfume the grasslands.
You nervously twist your fruit
into helixing coils.
Beneath your boughs,
the obligatory elephant.

Haak-en-steek, they call you,
for like your cousin Wag-‘n-bietjie,
you wield two weapons —
straight daggers and barbed hooks.

Far from nurturing,
you poison even your own offspring,
preferring to stand alone —
solitary silhouette
against a pumpkin sun.

Resembling the bush you inhabit,
you are harsh and proud.

Iconic tree of Africa,
lift your head.


Day Twenty-Two

Prompt: Write a poem that invokes a specific object as a symbol of a particular time, era, or place.

Acacia tortilis.
(I will say it again
for those down under
who might be screaming “Vachellia“)
Acacia tortilis!
(An old woman finds it difficult to change habits.)

The Umbrella Thorn (scientifically known as Vachellia tortilis) is an iconic tree of the African continent.

(Creative Commons License information here.)

I Quit


You can’t judge a book by its cover.

You can’t cover a dent with paint.

You can’t paint everyone with the same brush.

You can’t brush your teeth with a stick.

You can’t stick a knife in my back.

You can’t back away from a fight.

You can’t fight fire with fire.

You can’t fire me; I quit!


Day Twenty-One

Prompt: Write a poem that uses lines that have a repetitive set-up. The way that these phrases resolve gets more and more bizarre over the course of the poem, giving it a headlong, inevitable feeling.

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