Weds Poetry Prompt: ‘The Awaited Weekend’


This week’s prompt:  Write a ‘pandemic’ poem

I haven’t posted for a while due to some personal issues, but given today’s prompt was such a topical one, I felt the need to share my effort on the blog. As you may be aware, the UK will be re-opening pubs and restaurants this coming weekend. I have somewhat mixed feelings about this, as the poem will elaborate- hopefully I succeeded in injecting some lightheartedness into it as well though!

‘The Awaited Weekend’

The masses wait expectantly,
Driven into a dribbling frenzy
By the tight restrictions
That they’ve begrudgingly lived with
These past few dragging weeks…

They salivated at the news
Of a slight loosening
Of the supposedly iron-clad rules;
Planning their messy weekends
In crowd-controlled debauchery…

Yes, the precious drinking holes
Have been opened wide again,
Gaping and excitedly waiting
For hordes to thrust themselves in
And (slowly) slide into them…

But it will all be carefully monitored,
Names taken briskly at the door
And patrons politely ejected
Should a neutered establishment
Reach its dictated capacity…

It all sounds a bit dubious to me,
A fellow already ravaged by anxiety;
What chance is there of relaxing
If I’m constantly worrying
About who might get to close to me?

Of course they’ll try and enforce
These new measures and distances,
But I fear once inebriated
All will surely descend
Into the usual crammed depravity…

Call me a panicky killjoy,
But I think I’ll stay away
Until a far later date
When we can truly say
Things are back to a normal state…

For these evenings will be tainted
By the inconvenient knowledge
That danger still hangs in the air;
Admittedly closer to being defeated,
But still very much there…

Like this poem? Read more in my first poetry collection, ‘The Awakening’, avaliable NOW!

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Weds Poetry Prompt: ‘Make the Best of It’

light at the end

This week’s prompt:  Write a ‘best’ poem

‘Make the Best of It’

These times are tough,
Full of fear and doubt,
Riddled with uncertainty
(As so very helpfully
And repeatedly
Pointed out to us daily).

All we can do is attempt
To find and construct the ‘best’
In these unprecedented events-
That vague and elusive idea
That might see a small reprieve
To this era of misery…

We can seek the bright spots
And try to keep focused
On passing positive thoughts;
Grab them tightly to endure
Everything happening around us
(Even if we can’t fully ignore).

This half-hearted mantra
Despite its derisive manner,
May actually be the answer-
The key to keeping sane
During these dark days,
Or at least a fleeting escape…

Like this poem? Read more in my first poetry collection, ‘The Awakening’, avaliable NOW!

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Weds Poetry Prompt: ‘Keep Calm’


This week’s prompt:  Write a ‘calm’ poem

‘Keep Calm’

Others have said
I’m stressed
and most likely

I should talk
to ‘someone’
they say,
but not who.

They’ll listen
but can’t offer
expert opinion
or intuition.

So I must
stay calm
while waiting
for space on a list.

Wear a smile
for a while,
until denial
proves futile.

Make little lists
of what brings
fleeting happiness
in midst of darkness.

Until the day
a call comes finally
to talk out and tackle
this looming black dragon.

But others still wait
with it on their plate,
forced to stay
in a fragile state.

If only everyone
could be healed
at the same time,
reclaim their life.

Instead some
are still stuck
asked to keep calm,
but can’t carry on.

Like this poem? Read more in my first poetry collection, ‘The Awakening’, avaliable NOW!

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Weds Poetry Prompt: ‘The Before’

the world before

This week’s prompt:  Write an ‘outdoors’ poem

‘The Before’

The life outside…
I faintly remember
What it was like.
All the people passing by
In confident stride,
Unconcerned with spacing
Between their bustling bodies,
Merely rushing and shoving
Through the crowd around them…
Not knowing what would come
To force a sudden shift
To their purblind attitude.

This world still exists
But feels wholly different…
Streets are eerily empty
With only occasional pedestrians
Weaving in and out sheepishly
To desperately avoid each other.
Yet they still exchange glances,
A solemn, stony acknowledgement
Of our current predicament,
Sharing fears in silence
Hoping soon that this madness
Will merely be a haunting memory…

Like this poem? Read more in my first poetry collection, ‘The Awakening’, avaliable NOW!

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‘Stay Alert’ (An Angrily Written Poem)

Stay Alert

So it’s safe to say, that if you’re a fellow British citizen, you may be ever-so-slightly angry and/or annoyed right now. This poem was my way of venting the other night, and I feel I should probably let it speak for itself…enjoy an angry/sarcastic take on the whole mess…(and a follow-up of sorts to this poem, when the guidance was a lot plainer)

‘Stay Alert’

So now what was once
Blunt and clear guidance
Has suddenly transformed
Into some nebulous caution…

We’re expected to stay alert,
To watch like frantic hawks
For an invisible force
That’s already taken so much…

But fear not! We may yet control
This completely merciless virus
By obeying the new rules
In no way half-baked or obtuse!

The perils of public transport
Should be absolutely avoided
Except when really needed
(But even then, not recommended)

Exercise is now unlimited
But only within defined limits,
You should not be driving
Beyond exploitable boundaries!

You can visit relatives
With appropriate spacing,
But only one can be chosen
For these unwieldy reunions.

Of course some are exempt
From these obligatory directions,
If you hold a high enough position
You can gallivant to any location!

If you are in any way confused
That’s purely your problem,
What is so hard to follow
About these shirking guidelines?

Like this poem? Read more in my first poetry collection, ‘The Awakening’, avaliable NOW!

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Weds Poetry Prompt: ‘Continuing as Normal’


This week’s prompt:  Think of something you can do, make that the title of your poem, and then, write your poem

‘Continuing as Normal’

I’m trying my best to conform
To business as usual
Despite the current aberration
Constantly hanging in the air.
There’s to-do lists waiting
For swift pens to strike through,
A full-to-bursting calendar
With important appointments;
Normality must surely continue
In the midst of the unfamiliar…

But it’s a struggle to soldier on
With doom faintly in the background,
And to ignore the vexation
Caused by vague and mixed messages.
All we can do is attempt
To sustain some sort of schedule,
Defiantly clinging to routine
In the face of uncertainty;
Easier said than done, it seems,
But vital to our sanity…

Like this poem? Read more in my first poetry collection, ‘The Awakening’, avaliable NOW!

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‘After Lockdown’


This is a poem I wrote last night, which also serves as a wishlist of things I want to do once we (hopefully) return to some kind of normality…quite therapeutic to write I found. Hope all of you out there are keeping focused on what will come after, to get through the now…and that this poem is some form of reassurance…

‘After Lockdown’

There’s so much I want to do
After this unrest lifts
And we return finally
To cherished normality…

I’ll warmly hug the family
Seen only via screen recently,
Share laughs and Sunday dinner,
No longer taking it for granted.

I’ll see all of my niece’s new toys
And play our games again,
Then paint all the silly scenes
Our imaginations can come up with.

I’ll see all the friends
That I’ve likely neglected
Before all this madness,
But will now embrace apologetically.

I’ll drink a crisp cider
In a bustling pub garden
During a hot summer afternoon,
Savouring each drop with abandon.

I’ll venture to the beach,
Feel the sand between my toes
Before feeling the chilling brace
Of the sea’s roaring waves.

I’ll do all the things I’ve delayed
And constantly let fade
Into senseless procrastination,
To revive a flagging purpose.

Most of all I’ll treasure
The freedom known before
Now all the more precious
After enduring recent events…

Like this poem? Read more in my first poetry collection, ‘The Awakening’, avaliable NOW!

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Weds Poetry Prompt: ‘What is the Moon?’


This week’s prompt:  Write a ‘moon’ poem

‘What is the Moon?’

What is the moon?
A silver sphere
Silently observing
From midnight blue
Sometimes obscured
But always there-
An eternal watcher.

What is the moon?
A celestial fixture
In so many songs
And scenes in literature-
Musings of what lies
In its darker side
While gazed by curious eyes.

What is the moon?
A guiding symbol
For souls lost
In darkened wilderness
But also a prompt
For prowling packs
To emit lupine howl.

What is the moon?
A prelude to madness
If fully unveiled
As some proclaim-
Or perhaps, lazy justifier
For untoward behaviour
As they don’t know better…

What is the moon?
It can be anything
A beholder wishes-
But always a light
In solemn night
Shining wistfully
In clear peacefulness…

Like this poem? Read more in my first poetry collection, ‘The Awakening’, avaliable NOW!

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A Writer Stumbles into Social Media (Part 1 of a Possible Series)


Currently reading: ‘Salem’s Lot (Stephen King)

Currently writing: 

  • A novel (on-and-off for the past 7 years or so)
  • A short story (potentially a novella) featuring magic and crazy Cat Ladies
  • Poetry and submitting this to various places and competitions.

Lately I’ve been trying to make more of an effort to engage with other writers on social media, and discover the full potential of how it can help more people discover your work. I’m still very much learning and have felt a little frustrated with the lack of engagement (as I vented in a recent poem…), but feel like I’m finally starting to ‘get it’. While I do feel there is a bordering unhealthy obsession with follower numbers at times, it does make writing feel like a less solitary pursuit. Therefore, this post is to simply chronicle my evening of social media engagement from yesterday, which was quite rewarding…consider it a diary of sorts, but also a reassurance to myself that I am making the effort…

Monday 11th May 2020

  • On Facebook I responded to a post in a local creative group, where someone was looking for Covid-19/lockdown related poems for possible use in a short film they were working on. I jumped at the opportunity and sent ‘Spring in Times of Isolation’over in a message, which they praised…I will record a voiced version of the poem as well.
  • I shared an example of ‘Blackout poetry’ I previously wrote in response to a post about this form on a Facebook Poetry group – engaged in some nice conversation about this with other poets, and also followed a great poet specialising in this form on Instagram – check out skyandstones !
  • Received a lovely tweet after sharing a link to this very blog for exposure – stating that ‘Even your writing that wasn’t poetry had a great voice to it’ – hopefully anyone reading this post will agree…
  • Finally I spent most of the evening reading a superb poetry collection in ebook form entitled ‘A Poet in Lockdown’ – which can be yours simply by donating whatever you can via this JustGiving page ; with all proceeds going to the NHS (Britain’s health service) – a very good cause during these times, I’m sure you’ll agree. It is written by a fellow poet living in my hometown of Colchester, UK, and I found it a fantastic and comforting read. The diary format of a poem written every day means there is a topical feeling throughout – it is beautifully poignant while not sugarcoating the truth either. There is also a constant feeling of reassurance throughout that we can use this time to rejuvenate and repair ourselves, which is advice I think we should all follow. Poems I especially related to include ‘Born Worrier’ (‘shopping is so difficult Coronavirus style’), ‘Jargon’ (cheekily poking fun at the various phrases and buzzwords borne of the pandemic), ‘You Are My Cat’ and ‘Listen to the Hush’. Literally everything to do with these ‘unprecedented times’ is covered and/or taken aim at (British or otherwise): Joe Wicks, refuse collection confusion, Donald Trump and his dubious cure ideas, domestic abuse, self-reflection, daily walks; all conveyed in some excellent and touching poetry. I would highly recommend giving it a read, and in doing so you will be donating to a good cause as well.

Stay tuned for the next installment of ‘Stu figures out social media, slowly but surely…’

And before I go – links to my presence on various other platforms! Feel free to give me a follow or whatever the term is on that particular site…

Check out my first poetry collection, ‘The Awakening’, available NOW!

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Weds Poetry Prompt: ‘Answers in the Small Hours’ (catch up)


This week’s prompt:  Write an ‘unsettled’ poem

And so its back to the Wednesday prompts – catching up from yesterday as it was posted a bit late for me, due to a redesign of the Writer’s Digest site. This one ended up being inspired by my lack of sleep last night – but this also meant I had a ‘Eureka’ moment about the plot issues I was having with my short story – meaning I was finally able to progress with it earlier today. It felt so good, and just goes to show the random epiphanies you can have at ridiculous hours at the morning. This is my poem to celebrate:

‘Answers in the Small Hours’

I’m still awake at 3:08
Gotten myself into a right state
Constantly tossing and turning
Over the past and present
And the niggling threat
Of frightening future events
(A frazzled and tired head
Ensuring all hypotheticals
Are tallied and accounted for)

But there are also flashes
Of tantalising ideas for tales
Or sometimes merely answers
To an existing story’s anomaly,
Filling in those vexing gaps
That once had me trapped
Showing that a mind unsettled
Can often finally unravel
The most confounding questions…

Like this poem? Read more in my first poetry collection, ‘The Awakening’, avaliable NOW!

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