Prompt Four – I just want to be your Priority

Text prompt:

Nancy Anne Smith suggested this subject for a prompt we do every year. Your challenge is to write a poem about the topic of marriage, without ever using the word marriage, and while also ideally avoiding the words spouse, husband, and wife.


I just want to be your Priority

 Call me your darling, call me your baby,

Shona, pet, or Habibi.

Soulmate even, maybe.

I just want to be your priority.


Violent wars on the telly

Politics and pollution in London and Delhi

Through the good, the bad and the smelly

I just want to be your priority.


Builders, gardeners, plumbers, all

Doctors, dentists, solicitors call

Taxes rise and pensions fall.

I just want to be your priority.


River cruises and weekend walks

Holiday food which tastes like chalk

without all our easy nonstop talks.

I just want to be your priority.


Endless cups of Darjeeling tea,

Trapped in timeless tranquillity.

Lives crystal clear yet dustymisty.

I just want to be your priority.



Prompt Two – My 12-Year-Old Self

Prompt Two – Text Prompt:

Write a poem from the point of view of yourself, ten years ago.

(My poem is 45 years ago, not 10)


My 12-Year Self

She jogs beside me, this child so sweet,

I knew her well, a long time ago.

We run in synch, on our neighbourhood street,

but share wee smiles as we go.

Does she like me at all, I wonder now?

Her approval seems to matter.

Does she think I’ve done all right?

I wish she’d stop and chatter.

She’s tough, this kid, will go quite far,

if she’s helped along the way.

How lithe her limbs, how long her stride,

riding, running, playing all day.

I look again, see young dreams shine,

Athletics arenas, gymkhana races.

There it is then, her twelve-year dreams,

writ clear on both our faces.

In the forty-five years that separated us,

life happened in its stead.

Dreams denied, young plans just died,

new ideas settled in her head.

Should I say sorry now, apologise to her,

for not fighting harder for those dreams?

But she looked up then and smiled at me,

I saw acceptance in her beams.

My twelve-year self was ok, thank God,

with what I had made of her own life.

A middle-class woman, now middle aged,

A writer, a mother and a wife!



Prompt One – When the Past is not Tense

When the Past is not Tense

after Diana Khoi Nguyen


This is how they found us,

giggling, draped around the room.

Cousins, meeting post lockdown

after months of giggling on zoom.


Cousins, first best friends

childhood partners in crime,

Stolen mangoes, fashion trends

secrets shared, joy sublime.


Life then got in the way just like life does,

and we went our separate ways

for four decades and more

forgetting, bypassing, magical days.


We met, at weddings and such

with partners, spouses, and soon, young ones

We’d hug and kiss, not say too much

And return ‘home’ with our daughters and sons


Through covid then, a WhatsApp group

we joined it one by one.

Seven in all, a dysfunctional troupe

but oh boy, was it fun!


‘Remember when’, each text began thus

from the eldest, in her seventies, who remembered all.

Tales of notoriety, her stealing mangoes, and us

the younger ones, on lookout call.


Today though, we finally meet,

and wear the childhood cloak we share.

They find us thus, when they come to greet,

lost in the love that hangs in the air.


Honestly, this is my fourth marathon, and I’ve still managed to forget how to do this.

Please could someone who has two minutes say if I’m doing this right?

Hour Twenty-Four – The Best Naps

Hour Twenty-Four – Above Image Prompt


The Best Naps


The best naps I’ve ever had

Were never on my bed

Where the duvet is warm, the sheets are clean

And pillows under my head.

Head lolling, body sliding sleep

in busses and ‘planes instead.


As students burning the midnight oil

We woke up in the morn

on books wet with sleep-soaked-drool

and pages creased and torn.

But fresh, we bounced, and went to class

in yesterday’s clothes we’d worn.


Now, when sleep is oft elusive

sometimes I do nap at night

When I fall asleep on the sofa

in the glare of the telly’s bright light

How deep that sleep, regular now

with eyes shut half tight.


But then I drag myself to bed

and shut my eyes to sleep

Alas, I’m wide awake now

and begin to count them sheep

All night long, I long for that nap

the memory of sleep so deep.

Hour 23 – Not the Man Called Ove

Hour Twenty-three – Pick the title of a book that you love. That title is now the title of the poem. That poem can be about the book directly, or indirectly, or it can use the title as a jumping off point and be about something else entirely.



Not the Man Called Ove


He was nothing like Ove, my dad.

He was never grumpy.

Handsome, uniformed, sometimes frumpy.

Ove would not get his Scotland and England mixed up.

Or prefer his tea in a handled, saucered cup.

Dad did. He often did.


His first visit here then.

Expecting men in white

at an oval green.

Heck, he expected to see the queen

stroll around with Bertie and Jeeves.

Instead, he marvelled at coos, gorse and fallen leaves.


He spoke to the local village shop lady

in his best fake Oxfordshire English.

He did the same when he went to get chips ‘n fish.

‘Dad, this is Glasgow, we don’t do posh here.’

(I almost said dinnae there,

you can’t live here and not speak some local).


Back in his own land, he introduced me as his

‘Daughter from England.’

Twinkling at my fury, he would

tease, with old familiar ease.

And make up a song about a posh Macintosh.

Ove would not do that. Oh gosh, no.


Ove had more gravitas.


But they twinkled the same.

These two darling men.


Hour 22 – For my Husband

Prompt Twenty-two – Use the word Tenderness as this hour’s prompt.


For my Husband


You tippy-toe into the room.

Is it very late?

Or very early?

As today meets tomorrow

Or is it yesterday meeting today?

I can’t say.

Bleary-eyed with exhaustion

I lie myself down on the sofa

To catch seventeen minutes of sleep

Before the alarm shrieks again.

You tippy-toe in then,

And thinking me asleep

You pull the blanket up to my chin.

And envelope me in your tenderness.

And fuel the bleary out of my eyes.


I don’t know if you inspire me

It is too early (or too late) for deep thinking.

But I do know,

I do what I do

Because you believe I can.


As you wrap me in your tenderness.



Prompt 21 – Ella and her Fella

Prompt Twenty-One – Write a poem that’s no more than 50 words, but one of those words must be either umbrella, or almond.

Ella and her Fella

There once was a girl called Ella
Who was madly in love with her fella.
But when her almond-shaped eyes
Saw through his two-timing lies,
She shafted his bum with her umbrella.

Hour 20 – Beginners Book of Poetry Prompts – Chapter One

Hour Twenty – Write a poem using any one of the following titles:

The Watchtower, Second Breakfast, Books for Beginners, The Woman with the Top Hat, Echo Husband


 Beginners Book of Poetry Prompts – Chapter One


  • Get yourself a nice hot drink. (Tea works best for me but wine is fine).
  • Head to the shelf where you keep old photo albums.
  • It’s okay to get distracted by the last piece of cake enroute.
  • Place said cake by the tea, by the chair. You will return.
  • Ignore the dust on the albums, pick the one at the bottom of the pile.
  • Now you can clean it with your sleeve.
  • Do not open. Yet.
  • Return to chair, cake, tea (or coffee/beer/wine).
  • Look at album on your knee for three minutes.
  • Do not open. Yet.
  • Remember albums, print shops, films, cartridges.
  • Do not open. Yet.
  • Remember fathers writing dates and captions on black paper with white ink.
  • Wipe errant tear (optional).
  • Have a bite of cake, a sip of drink.
  • Exhale. Sigh with comfort.
  • Now open album.
  • Rewind fifty years.
  • Much later. Write verse.