Sunday, 3 July 2011

Robot, Whisker, Scavenge, Faculty

This is batch number two of the poems I’m writing for my ‘Three Random Words’ project. As a quick aside, all of them have been tagged with "3RW" if we get far enough for it to be hard to keep track.  I am still aiming to write a hundred poems while taking my inspiration from three words I’ve been given by other people.

So far I’ve been sent 22 ideas out of 100 and I’ve written a total of 13 of them. Bribes are starting to happen as I am now catching up too quickly.

Catherine Mann (@ctjhill) commented on the first blog post leaving me with “robot, rainstorm, circumvent”. After a brief daydream about 'Short Circuit' (1 and 2) I managed to come up with this:

A high mass of tree roots
growing down from the sky
circumvent the sunshine and
stick to sheltered shadows.
A nature impossible to avoid
in the heart of the country –
the centre of a field.
Grey light and purple cloud
herald in a rainstorm
of dancing lightning and crescendos.
The sparks flash and spit
as a mis-wired robot.
Everything belongs here –
except for the bench and it’s plaque.
The welcomed, jarring presence
of man and machine

Meanwhile over on Facebook Delaine Holland-Keen very kindly gave me “fork, whisker, flannel” which really sent my imagination spinning. I had so much I could do with these words, this is what I actually did:

“Above the Chimney Top”
The clouds creep darkly in towards
a tired landscape cottage.
Take the taken road –
the right fork. Left.

Slow boots treading footprints
over the bones of old prey.
Barbed wire marking the way,
a slight whisker breath between lives.

Cooling air outside gives way to comfort.
A flannel blanket with checked
windows to another place.
Somewhere like home.

I met Pat Kelleher at Alt.Fiction last weekend and after finding him on Twitter (@patkelleher ) he was good enough to give me “cedar, pearl, scavenge” to work with.

“One for Sorrow”
His beak breaks the mirrored water,
a knowing eye from an unknown mind.
Protected by a wide fingered cedar
with a carpet of tangled needles.
The garden an eternal market
with calls to sell and buy
ignored, preferring to scavenge from all.
Never to be left alone
always followed by superstition.
He collects silver and pearl
on the anniversary of each sunrise.

And once more, I also know Colin Barnes (@Colin_Barnes) from the Alt.Fiction gang and he also gave me ideas from Twitter. This time my words were “ramekin, faculty, omnivorous”. Now, let’s get something clear – getting ramekin into a poem was incredibly difficult. I tried an awful lot of things before settling on this approach:

“Old Curiosity”
Smoke scratched wallpaper on four walls
with a broken rocking chair centre stage.
An entrenched  faculty for wonder,
for curiosity and exploration.
The remnants of lives in plastic crates
a fluted ramekin, chipped and torched
alongside a gouged hammer once loved.
Destruction of time marked by
an omnivorous grandfather clock.
Burned down to dust and powder
and the lie that memories last.

Oddly this is still fun, and I'm thinking about what I'm writing a lot more than I usually do. I know this leads to an increase in the amount of coffee drunk and I think it leads to better poems as well. Thank you so much to everyone sending me sets of words, I really appreciate it. 
However. I need more ideas, I’m going to run out soon. Then the targeted threatening emails will begin. Help keep me out of prison, send ideas.



  1. Random words selected from 'Bento's sketchbook' by John Berger: canvas, telescope, bamboo.

    Good luck.

  2. You haven't lost your 'feel' for words, Vicki. Loved reading these.

  3. Thank you very much! My love of writing certainly started back at Lantern Lane...