#inktober 13. GUARDED


Staying overnight with friends and undressing in a different room, with a long oval mirror, invited me to think about what is guarded in a looking glass. The rosewood frame containing the silvered glass. Fun to play with words to do with glass and mirror. Reflective!!









#inktober 12. WHALE

I had intended to write about whales whilst sitting on the cliff looking out to sea. The wind was so strong, with squally rain, that the car became the only place to write. Balancing an ink pot (somewhere) and writing round a steering wheel in a wildly rocking car certainly added humour to the poem! I find I’m enjoying the daily jottings more. I’m less resistant to the practice. I like making the time.


What is leading the whale

as it banks with a continuous

pulse, in cells, out of cells, energy

rolls up my arm, twists

over in my chest, down

the other arm, over over, pliable

eight until the room joins in the wave

to crescendo into the street, veil

the river, its ozone scents

my breath, as weather charts me

out into purest arctic oxygen

and fixes in my myoglobin

for the sounding dive of my life.


Bionote scans can draw my tired

chest tape in several screens, a tiny spot

barely nearly not there is a nice thing to say

yes barely nearly not there and yet

tiny spot opens wide jaws wide saying

the laws of emptiness leave you

your daily blessings and marshmallows,

and an elk, soft emblem of inner survival

like a padded notebook, making marks

on the tundra, where going home

is a hope feeling, determined

by the practical prayer of steps

in a shrinking isolation of ice.



#inktober 10. FLOWING


Writing in copperplate is harder than it looks! It seemed appropriate though for the content. There’s often play in poetry and this riff on flowing is all about play. Not a very successful poem but it highlights to me how much I play during the editing process. This semi-editing, which is more ‘think before you write’ only gets the poem part way there and I’m so used to the instant edit of typing, adjusting the raw material as I go to get a basic sense of something. Then going back in to cut, add, disrupt and fine-tune. Does that make digitals lazy? Maybe. No. It’s just a different pace.


If a floe is flowing at glacial speeds

it flows a glacial speed in floes.

A speeding floe flows glacially

and glacial speed is floe-flowing

~ going at a glacial pace is FAST



#inktober 9. PRECIOUS



I am struck, again, by the slowness of this process of dipping a quill into an ink pot and writing: one word, a series of letters, making the short marks that form the patterns we call language. Added to this the immediate fixity of the word, the permanence. I suppose there are ways of editing the hand-written but for the purposes of this InkTober challenge I am choosing to leave the marks as they come. If I had been writing this on a computer, I would already be editing, changing ‘lull’ to ‘fug’ or ‘fog’ and then back again possibly, or adding a syllable here or there for rhythmic consistency. As it is, the raw work, faces me on the page. It is.


A precious evil

he shows us why truth 

matters, when respect 

falls, where decency

staggers, how generosity

dies, what ‘freedom’

incarcerates and buries

in unmarked graves. 

He is the flaming beacon

on our deadliest shore

(o it’s always been there) 

in his bleaching glare 

it must be mapped 

we must lose no more 

ships in the precious lull 

we call civilised society.

#inktober 8. STAR


A celebration day poem. How light and airy we feel after good news, in contrast to the darkening leaden limbs of a body under stress.


Small creatures of myself

come out! Shy scaly ones

winged and footed and bare legged

ones, shiny snouted round ones.

Come out and gather your smallnesses

under this star.

There are other stars

millions, but this one

is yours dear creatures. Dance!


#inktober 7. EXHAUSTED


Well I could really write a lot about being exhausted today, especially. In the end, I went for the show rather than tell approach. It’s fun to play with the page as an object and the poem as an object. Like placing an object on a shelf. I’m enjoying the inkiness of this experiment and how aware I’m becoming of the act of mark making. That the words are marks first and meaning second.

#inktober 5. CHICKEN


This daily writing, direct to the page, is becoming an interesting hybrid of page design and poetry. I’m enjoying the ink more, not just as a writing tool but for the unpredictability of the nib which sometimes splodges to obscure meaning. This is frustrating and exciting. I’m also re-discovering my handwriting and how illegible it is. No wonder I prefer typing!


At the end of the garden

is a coop.

Fear is like a head of cabbage

tossed into the run.

Outstretched feathered necks

scamper towards the thud

even before they know what it is.

Meanwhile, a hen, inside the coop

warm bellied in half-eyed meditation



#inktober 4. SPELL


A Spell For Poetry

May all your madnesses grow horns

bite the heads off gingerbreads

dunk your naked butts in a paddling pool

squint your smiling eyes at the sun

turn everyday cake into tractors

fly real fish through a plastic blue sky

hold your teddies close — the brown one and the paler

balance a polar bear on your laptop

& say goodbye with [a grin] an edit

#inktober 3. ROASTED


Roasted – what a suck work. Or so I thought. So I thought… of rocks. How high temperatures cause rock reinforcement but then at higher temperatures still, their strength decreases rapidly. I’m like that. Friction stress and pressure work to first consolidate me, then if it continues to increase, I decline rapidly! Pressure is working to condense my material today. There will come a day where the natural fault zone of my writing slides though and whoosh! We are all vulnerable.