WYSIWYG: it goes beyond
Discussion of computer fonts,
And colour-palette editing:
There’s WYSIWYG in many things.

That boy that passed you in the street;
A charmer, nicest guy you’ll meet,
Or else a thug of darkest kind,
Based on what you expect to find.

The lady sitting in the park:
Mad biddy, or a right good laugh?
The children laughing as they play,
Hooligans, or just OK?

For What You See Is What You Get,
Depending on what you expect.


Thoughtless health, casual happiness:
Fade to black, aching emptiness:
Bleak despair, lonely hopelessness:
Moving on.

Finding hope, future brightening
Treatment plans, self-enlightening,
Falling back, darkness tightening:
Moving on.

Pitch and yaw, hope to bleak despair
Back and forth, experts everywhere
Callous disregard, no-one seems to care:
Moving on.

Seeking balance, self-reliance
Over-reaching in defiance
Self-defeating non-compliance:
Moving on.

Making progress, staying ready,
Little set-backs, just an eddy,
In the river, flowing steady:
Moving on.

Prompt: Moving
Form: 8/8/8/4, aaaR.



Faithful companion, loyal friend,
Warm weight at the foot of the bed.
Clattering claws across the floor,
Rushing to greeting at the door.

Eager for daily exercise,
Snatching the ball out of the sky
Bounding full-tilt across the park,
Playing outside ’til after dark.

Proud to show-off each new-learned trick,
Picking up new ones, smart and quick,
Sitting so quiet, well-behaved,
Off-the-leash romp is fun and games.

Friend of my youth, and well-loved still,
Lives in my heart, and always will.

Prompt: Dogs
Form: English sonnet


Autobiography of a Face

Look to the lines
Not just the brow:
Around the nose
Beside the mouth
Beneath the eyes
Even the chin

Observe the chin
Weak or strong lines?
And keep your eyes
On the eyebrow
The second mouth
Speaks what it knows

Ignore the nose
For shape, the chin
Betrays the mouth
With habit-lines
A furrowed brow
Stays in the eyes

To the right eyes
Or a keen nose
Loquacious brow
Will soon pitch in
Those tell-tale lines
Though closed the mouth

And by that mouth
Behind the eyes
Are written lines
That life well knows
Proud, forward chin
Hides anxious brow

Oh, traitor brow!
Though pinched the mouth
And bold the chin
The brow holds “ayes”
Where tongue claims “noes”
In practiced lines

Writ on the brow, clear to my eyes
An open mouth above the nose
Take on the chin: truth in those lines

Prompt: Anatomy of a Face
Form: Sestina

This was fun. Sestinas can be cumbersome, but by keeping the lines short, I managed to get through it in the time. 



Sleep is elusive, and will probably
strike when least expected – or welcome.
It’s past ten o’clock at night, and only civil twilight.
The red tint still touches the sky.

Speakers buzz, unused. Turn them off.
Sore arms already, how will I keep this up?
Drinking water by the litre, still dry and queazy.
Bodily needs clamour; an aesthete I am not.

There should have been a fête today,
but no-one came, rain prevented play.

The timer ticks at double speed,
multiplying the seconds.
So much poetry has me
Thinking in rhythm.

Hope this is coming out OK,
I’m not looking at the screen.

Touch tells me when fingers are correctly positioned.
Index fingers swirl in little circles, seeking confirmation,
assurance that my words will be readable.

Typos slink in, like neighbours’ cats,
making themselves at home,
scratching at my spelling,
shedding on my prosody.

Eyes averted, typing blind.
Engrossed in the view from my window.
Night sky so clear, curtains must be
open, and the lights low.

Prompt: Free-write
Form: Free-form

The edit consisted mostly of deleting excess words, trimming phrases and placing the line-breaks. An interesting exercise, and an indication of how nine hours of poetry has affected my thinking.


“We need to talk.”
A phrase to chill the warmest blood.
“We need to talk.”
The peril of the neighbourhood
To make male faces pale as chalk,
Suburban couples shorthand code
For “Mister, you done messed up good!”
“We need to talk.”

Prompt: Use “we need” as a refrain.
Form: Rondelet



Commanding the room
The largest lead weight
On the rubber sheet
Of social intrigue

Little ball-bearings
Scattered in patterns
Move at a distance
But never too far

Prompt: Concrete imagery
Form: Unrhymed quatrains



The fields of sunlight-green go on forever,
The ancient arch reveals the rural scene
Containing countless shades of blue and green
Each leaf and blade of grass defined but never
Destroying harmony with one another
But delicately balancing between
Variety and unity of mien
A perfect patch of land, in perfect weather

Observing from the shadows, I remain
Detached and distant, in the cool, grey stone
As only those who stand without can claim,
Touched by the sight, held back from being home
In such a peaceful idyll, sad refrain:
Suspended on the threshold, standing alone.

Marathon prompt, hour six.
Form: Italian sonnet

Sam Vimes’ Kyrielle

With rolling gait to last throughout the day
On cobblestones trod many times before
The copper’s beat, that old familiar way
On night patrol, in company with Law

The titles to my name are so much sham
For making idiots react with awe
My mirror shows me still the same old Sam
On night patrol, in company with Law

The terrier, I always find my mark
With Sybil as my anchor, I’m secure
The truth cannot stay shrouded in the dark,
On night patrol, in company with Law

Prompt: A persona poem
Form: Kyrielle