Hour Nine – Beetnoon

Hour Nine – Look in your cupboards and find a food that brings up a childhood memory, and the memory is your prompt




Rummaging in my kitchen shelf for some ground black pepper

to sprinkle over my omelette

I upset the carefully casual collection of jars skulking at the back.

Abandoning hunger along with the staid egg,

I decide to tidy the shelf instead…

… when this whiff attacked me.

And became a time capsule to float me back to

  1. Aged Six. Nine. Ten. Twelve. Fifteen.

My entire childhood.

My Indian childhood.

Of beetnoon or kaalanamak (black salt).

I don’t have an English name for you,

Oh, beloved half-forgotten magic potion.

I sprinkled you on everything.

On the healthy vegetables and daals, I was forced to eat.

On boiled potatoes and fried potatoes,

or the exotic potato wafers which came in packets.

A luxury. A rare treat.

The spicy, hot ‘n sour tang

hits the back of my nose now

just as it did fifty years ago.

My mouth fills with juicy anticipation.

Hunger returns.

I sprinkle beetnoon on my omelette

and savour the heat of childhood adventures

in the now cool foreignness of Scotland.



Prompt Eight – The Introvert

Hour Eight – Gigans must be 16 lines in length with seven stanzas (each stanza is separated by a line break). It goes couplet (two lines), tercet (three lines), couplet, couplet, couplet, tercet, couplet.

The first line is also the eleventh line, line six is repeated as line 12 as well.

Optionally the closing couplet should put a twist on the poem, but that isn’t a requirement.


The Introvert


I want to stand next to you

and not feel any less.


I want to be in a room full of bright souls

and feel sleek. I long to belong

not be an unwelcome mess.


I want to be on the same page

and not have to pretend


or bend and blend,

struggle to befriend.


I want to stop looking in.

I want to stand next to you


and be on the same page,

perform on the same stage,

alive in the same cage.


But. I’m free, you know?

Just. Always outside. Looking in.





Seventh Hour – The Graduate

Hour Seven – Look on your phone and find the 10th non selfie picture and use that as your prompt.


The Graduate


Shiny sturdy ravens all

They stride into the ancient hall

and take their designated places

after tentatively, anxiously scanning faces

at the back, where proud parents silently catcall.


Velvet bejewelled masters all

They glide into the ornate hall

Indulgent pride in their speeches

touches the young ears, teaches

the congregation. The words enthral.


The ceremony begins, black-robed all

They line-up nervous, they mustn’t fall

through the careful walk across the stage.

The handshake and blessing mark their page

and then, they are Graduates after all.
















Prompt Six – The Stuff of her Life

Hour Six – Write a letter to yourself from the perspective of someone who is no longer in your life. It could be a former teacher you admired but you lost touch with, someone you knew from childhood, someone who passed on, etc. The specifics are very much up to you.


The Stuff of her Life


After a year passed by, of your passing on

(Both of you passing on)

I steeled myself to open her steel almirah.

Expecting dusty sarees and musty smells,

expecting my heart to squeeze

the grief out of my eyes.

Oh, but I had to smile.

She was a hoarder, that one, your wife.

The things she had clung to, the stuff of her life.

There were letters you had written her

all through the almost-sixty years of marriage.

I have put them away, for your grand daughter

to find in my closet, after I am gone.

(Poor thing, what will she do with them, I pause to think.)

I found letters you had written to the 18-year-old me.

(How did Ma have them? again I pause to think.)

You wrote incredibly boring letters,

a dashing dude, dad, you could’ve done better.

I read a few, they all had the same last line.

“Don’t forget to drink Horlicks, hope all is fine?”

Well, what do you know father?

I have decided to obey you, almost forty years later.

I now drink Horlicks daily; it helps me sleep.

Thanks for the advice, I will not weep.



Hour Five – Space in the Sun

Hour Five – Write a poem using at least 5 of the following 10 words/phrases.

Hardback, sunflower, knitting, cheddar cheese, space, wine glass, pavement, nail, oak, satchel


Their Space in the Sun


I pause in my mundane cause to look out.

Our neighbours, robust Scots in their eighties,

had brought a picnic out onto the pavement.

Possibly to catch the last rays of the day’s sunshine.

I could see her hand him cheddar ‘n ham sandwiches

before she went back to knitting booties for her fifth great grandchild.

He handed her lemonade in a wineglass before bringing out his

well-worn hardback Alistair MacLean from his better-worn satchel.

Even as the leaves on the old oak swayed the other way

to give them more space.

Their space in the sun.


Prompt Four – The Football

Hour Four – Write a poem set a hundred years ago, or a hundred years from now.

The Wooden Football


The boys played ball, that’s what I’ve heard

They kicked it around whenever they could

Boots caked in mud, and sometimes blood

The football was a good ball, carved out of wood.


They clambered out of trenches, forgetting their wenches

Pushed and shoved and joshed around

While guards watched over, shouted to take cover

When bullets began to rain on the ground


These teenage boys, the rifles their toys

Out to save country and king

They didn’t grumble, or weep or crumble

As they hummed the tunes they used to sing


Of victory marches and enemy lines

Of bringing the villain to his knees

Of the green, green grass of their home so fine

The English roses and buzzing bees.


And as they came out that night to play

What they saw was two wooden balls, not one.

One was theirs, they knew it well

The other, kicked over barbed wires, just for fun.


Hour Three – The Fiddler

Hour Three – Not exactly a text prompt

Listen to the following song before writing a poem, you can also play it again and write with it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N5j1AwBaPtk


The Fiddler on the Street


He took his fiddle to the middle of the street

The naked, barren empty street

Bereft of traffic or busy feet

At the leafy corner where the two roads meet

He began to play, alone on the street.

Net curtains fluttered and neighbours came out

with folding chairs, they set about.

And soon their feet, tap-tapping to the beat

of the music that began to fill the street.

He had planned this just as a little treat

for the children who lived across the street

who planted rainbows on windows to greet

the daily exercisers who walked the street.

They came to the gate, and smiled so sweet

to thank him well for this unexpected treat

But they stayed far away, they didn’t cheat,

holding hands, on the other side of the street.

Young and old, cheered on in the heat

and sang along, an impromptu feat

And, for a while virus worries forgotten

thanks to the fiddler who fiddled joy into the street.

Prompt Two – Musings

Hour Two – Text Prompt

Read Robert Frost’s poem Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening,  chose one line or phrase, and with credit, write a poem with that line or phrase in it. Prompt partially contributed by Se Johnson.




Life could be easy, airy, light, and breezy

if it were only up to us.

But as I sit and ponder, my mind begins to wonder

at all the nonsense and the fuss.


I don’t see the point of stilettoed heels.

I don’t see the need for seven-course meals.

Nuclear arms, ammunition farms, wireless-synched alarms!

What is the reason why storms are named each season?


Why can’t things be easy? Old-fashioned and breezy?

As we stop and stare at woods dark and deep.

But ah, that’s the grumble, like Robert Frost we crumble.

Because we all, we all have promises to keep.



Hour One – The Poet’s River

Hour One – Write a poem about being in water. It can be about swimming, the shower, a bath, the rain, etc.


The Poet’s River

And so, it starts. After being poised, quivering
in nervous anticipation, shivering.
Prompt on the hour, the claxon sounds.
As one, we pinch noses, dive in, from separate grounds.

Safe. Knowing as I do, I’ll be underwater with you
for the next 24 hours. The day (and night), only ours,
to gently swim together, or race.
To frolic, glide, discover – at our own pace.

We will cast our nets and catch the words
attached to everything everywhere like seaweed.
We will string them together into verse,
which we will wonder over later as we read.

I will remain fresh, calm, joyous and still.
And when I flag, for flag and flail I will,

You will nudge me. Not judge me. Or let me bail out.
I’ll waken from exhaustion as I hear your shout.

As will I, for you, my brethren, my tribe so dear.
I’ll say bravo as often as you want to hear.
And together we’ll string the pearls of words into verse.
And send them out bravely, into the universe.

Once the day is done, then the night, then the day again, bright,
we will start swimming up towards the light.
Reach up. Break water. Gasp at the shock of the glare.
Shake off the droplets of exhaustion. Breathe in air.

Carrying with us for one whole year
the exhilaration of swimming in the poet’s river.






A Test

Hello all, am not new to this game, but having a senior moment of pure panic and can’t remember how to navigate around the system.
Good luck everybody, and lets have fun again