NaPoWriMo and excuses

The next proper post is in the works, but as I’ve so far failed to clamber over a pretty spectacular writers’ block, here’s a less typical offering to get you through the traumatic interim. As I’m approaching the end of my stay, most of my commitments have ceased, causing me to sink into a mire of ennui, something that has apparently not been helped by my propensity to sleep for over 12 hours a night when left to my own devices. I have, however, been keeping up my NaPoWriMo almost-daily poems, so (as yesterday was the last day) I thought I’d put a few more of those up on here to prove that I haven’t been completely idle. 

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve had all of my exams (which I will refrain from commenting on until I get my results) and several visitors with whom I’ve been trying to get round the remaining Languedoc-Roussillon sights. This has been met with mixed success given the nature of French public transport, which is such that leaving major towns is a near-impossibility, but we made it to the Pont du Gard, a spectacular Roman aqueduct which I would fully recomment trekking out to. We also went round the Roman amphitheatre in Nimes and discovered, quite predictably, that audioguides really are pointless and annoying. The whole trip was made vastly more entertaining by the fact that we bumped into the same two people (who’d asked me for directions that morning) in every single location and on every single mode of transport that we got that day. 

By the Pont du Gard
And here it is looking very dramatic

So without further ado, here are some poems. It’s a pretty mixed bag; there are lots of experiments, a surprising number about animals, and even one or two deep-and-meaningful ones. As per, they work best if you imagine them read aloud.  I have to admit that a lot of them were quick attempts to get something on paper at 11.55pm, but I’d be interested to hear any tips or opinions. Preferably don’t hurt my feelings too much though; the old adage “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t comment on my blog” seems relevant here.


Cat in the window (A true story starring me, Bonnie and a cat)

There’s a cat in the window
Isn’t that kind of cruel?
Yowling a haughty, imperious mewl.

Head through the railings,
Tail in the air,
Wants to be friends; must be nobody there.
I guess we’d better answer.
Conversation ensues:
“Miaow! Hello humans”
“Miaow! How are you?”
There’s a cat in the window,
And I think we made friends,
But along came the owner
And that’s where it ends.


Tiny fishlets in the fountain
Splash a spotlight symphony,
Fire-bright, barely out of tadpolehood –
Wait – that’s frogs, not fish…
And back we go, to Rosie –
The giant brown goldfish,
An unreasonably old fish.
But something of a fixture,
Wait – brown? Goldfish?
Was it the heron or age?
Just time that took her at last, I think.
We found her beige-bleached body,
Floating like… a dead fish?
Or do they sink?
Lilypads bobbed a placid bow,

Cradling the carpse – wait, corpse.
Beneath a gentle-scented canopy,
With sentimental dog-rose petals
Dropping ripples all around.

Beach haikus

Sunshine lines refract
Across the glossy border
Between sand and sea.

White-cold mercury
In self-repelling clusters
Laps across the shore.


Crow on the pavement
Raven black –
A raggedy ruler 
Without a pack.
Taffeta tufts
On his weatherworn wings,
Critics claim that he caws –
Some say he sings.
Beady black peepers, 
Pointy beak,
A dignified nomad
Or threadbare freak?

Whimsy trees

sidelong sweep and slide along
and mumblingly down they come
a lackadaisy oscillation,
back and forth
before the hazy firmament.
along, above, the rustling leaves,
a trailing train to stain the sky,
the ever swooping pendulum sweeps
shiver-swirled loop-
the-loops around the still inside .
back and forth and up and down
and down and up and spiral round
a green-decked ocean’s hushing swell ,
a lullaby
to lull the passers-by.

Waking up

Whispered songs of winter
Fade away, a death sigh,
Flutterbying by a life
That’s realised they’re a lie.
Gradually uncoiling
From bleakly endless time;
No longer wonder why.
Just rest, cradled in the breath
Of hope that holds you tight,
Free, for now, to see the sky.

Carnival of the animals

Spiders have eight legs because
Way back when they had ten, there was
A tax on feet, so they could save
Some cash by chopping two spares off.
And snakes are really very brave;
They once had arms, but lately they’ve
Been giving them to Oxfam shops,
And that is why they never wave.
You ask me why the rabbit hops?
I’ll tell you: he eats lollipops,
Which make him hyperactive, so
He’s got to burn the sugar off.
The giant sloth is only slow
Because she doesn’t like to show
Her running skills: they draw a crowd
But she’s too shy to be a hero.
The elephant is not allowed
In nightclubs. Even though he vowed
To watch his step, he’s rather heavy
And his singing’s much too loud.

© Rowan Lyster 2014
Bonus picture of the day: more and more of these bin-faces have been popping up all over the place, and I saw them in Berlin too. I find them slightly unnerving. 


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