Prompt Eleven: (laugh) Ol’ Pop

Bubbles on surface of water

They told us (with straight faces)
to ‘prepare for the worst’
that with too much excitement
dear Grandpa could burst

But they could not protect him
from dangerous gas
from poorly-timed hiccups
or farts in the bath

And, much like those rogue bubbles
that rose to the top
poor Grandpa was gone
with an ‘Oops! Haha!’



Photo by Jernej Graj on Unsplash

Prompt Eight: (image prompt) Count and Capture

Male hand playing mancala

You watch him close for sleight of hand
take the measure of this man
the moves he makes
the pieces he takes
not because he has to
but because he can

So deftly he defeats his foe
through uncompromising blow after blow
and how his grin
reflects his win
reveals everything
you need to know

He will not lure you in tonight
his hook will not attract your bite
there is no sense
nor much defence
in taking part
in unfair fights


Photo by Tobias Tullius on Unsplash

Prompt Seven: (image prompt) Ne’er be one

Married couple on a bench on a hill

We shall meet at the mount
on the day that we wed
after all of the clamour has cleared
and with all of the good will
as wind in our sails
we shall fly on their well wishes

We shall sit on our bench
overlooking the country
and places we’ve lived all our lives
and remember each moment
that led us to this one
with nothing but love
in our eyes

We shall think of the future
we’re starting together
a journey we’ve longed to begin
imagine a family,
a future adventure,
the home that we’ll build
this dream in

Then after an hour
or two at this place
with our arms ’round each other, no doubt
We’ll return to our loved ones
who’ll see in our gazes
there’ll ne’er be one,
t’other, without.


Photo by Marc A. Sporys on Unsplash

Prompt Six: (letter) I hope you did not learn from me

Boy on a swing


I hope you did not listen to me
what little did I know
and how little did I know it
how often did it show?

I hope you did not learn from me
I hope that it was clear
my life was plagued by past regrets
there were no lessons here

Except to forge your own way through
the obstacles you face
not to become like your old man
not to just take up space

Pursue the passions of your heart
have pride in who you are
for doing what you’re meant to do
is sure to take you far

And if you know not what that is
don’t wallow in a pit
nor imagine what you could have done
whilst there’s still chance to do it

I hope you did not learn from me
for what had I to teach
except that, if your dreams are small,
that’s all you’ll ever reach


Photo by Johnny Cohen on Unsplash

Prompt Five: (5 word selection) This Morning

Sunflower on window sill

Wine glass
on the window sill
red-gloss lipstick on its rim
a half-kiss momento
of the night before
as bright as
nail marks on my back
as hungry as
sunflowers reaching for the sun
I occupy the space in which
your scent lingers
lean into the memories of you
as passers-by on the pavement below,
never looking up,
cannot comprehend
the magnitude of
this morning


Photo by Michael Barber on Unsplash

Prompt Four: Mannequin Music

There’s a mannequin
at the old piano in the woods between
your house and Jenny Finnegan’s
and it’s warped and ruined
and full of leaves

But the naked
former window model
without any legs to
control the pedals of the
mangled upright:
the soft
the sostenuto
and sustain – all
damper than they should be –
knows no better, you say

You’re wrong, Jenny tells you,
‘Look at her,’ she says,
all freckles and fascination.
’She knows that
broken things can still be beautiful,
she knows it better than most.’

You think about that mannequin
when you can’t sleep that night
mind all abuzz in
Jenny Finnegan’s wake.

Prompt Three: La La La (How/Where/Why/What/When)

woman in black shirt and green shorts underwater

You wonder how
she keeps going about her day
when the world is crumbling
but she just smiles and reaches across
to wipe the crumbs away
from the side of your mouth

You wonder where
she finds the abundant store
of resilience and positivity
from which she daily draws
whilst your reservoir runs dry
scorched by a world that’s on fire

You wonder why
persistently passionate
she never forgets to kiss your cheek
or to straighten your tie;
why she rinses and recycles:
tote bags against a plastic tide

You wonder what
it is that sparked the light
in her to life, for life
what makes her want to be
Your wife; what you’d do without her
in your life

You wonder when
she learned to embrace her strength
that she should not be weakened by
comparisons to the supposed accomplishments of men
when everything she overcomes
they can hardly begin to comprehend


In response to prompt three: music from la la land (arranged for two cellos)
Photo by
engin akyurt on Unsplash