Tag Archives: poem

Landscape poetry



Life is richest

At the margins.

Wood edge, field side

Light and shade.

Butterfly places

Flower haven

Alive with bees.

I eat wild herbs

Underripe blackberries

Spot small birds

Too fast for naming.

Happiest at the edges

Where wild lives

Cling to the unwanted

Land at the boundary.

Untamed, uncut, unfarmed

But not unloved.

Poetry with Mr Death

For several years, the Piranha Poetry nights in Stroud were a key community space for me. I wrote a lot more poetry because there were people to read it to. It was a space that felt safe and welcoming, and that was reliably inclusive. I tend to show up in community spaces and fail to figure out how to be other than awkward and peripheral. But Piranha Poetry always felt like home. I’ve really missed it.

Organiser Gary Death had one of those large birthdays this year, so back before lockdown I wrote him a poem, because I thought it would be funny to jam on the ee cummings line about Mr Death. And then I lost the poem.  By happy accident, I found the hand written first draft at the weekend.


Happy birthday Mr Death (belatedly)


And what I want to know is, how do you like your blue eyed boy, Mr Death?

ee cummings man, his very how pants of the outside of his

Many bells trousers leaps to the microphone.

In the audience, three former students of English literature

Faint at the very sight of him.

No one who has ever tried to answer that question has survived


But Mr Death is ready, like he’s been waiting his whole life

For ee cummings man, poetic anti-super-hero in a war against

Capital letters, to storm his stage and enquire about blue eyed boys.

Mr Death is ready.


Lowers his trousers.


This is his superpower and in the glowing radiance of his posterior,

Literature’s caped crusader has nothing more to say.

One elderly member of the audience has a nosebleed.

Seven will later require counselling.

Three will be haunted by erotic dreams.

Mr Death pulls up his trousers

And invites another floor spot poet

To take their chances.

He likes his blue eyed boys like he likes his piranhas


A Selkie Poem

Storing a Skin


Not everyone who hides a selkie skin

Has stolen the soft seal fur

To trap a lover on the land.


Sometimes the skin is given.


Protect this skin for me

This secret self I cannot be

For now, this memory of

Water loving salt and playful

Swimming diving self.


Keep my skin safe, hold it

So that when I can bear

To wear it again

When my heart can encompass

The sea again


I may put on my seal self

And return to the ocean.


Ingredients for a spell – a poem

One face. Apparently good enough.


One body – sore, awkward

Also dancing, creative

Recently re-imagined.


One heart, much scarring

Bloody, raw

Easily broken.


Hands, two, open.


Words. All the words

To write a new life.


Love. (This is not a love spell)

Love is a key ingredient.


Time, trust, courage.

A spell to change everything.


I cannot tell

If I am making this spell

Or if it has been

Cast upon me.

Reclaiming Power – a poem

Let my power be

What grace I have,

The sway of my hips

A bolder spine

Defiant chin.

Available as I choose

Open arms

Open thighs

The power to say no

Is the power to say yes

With all my heart.


I claim the power to trust

That I will be honoured

My power not misread

As power over or excuse

No patriarchal Goddess

Of Justification, no deity

Of rape culture made to bear

The shame and guilt

Of violent transgression

I refuse this story, this history.


My power is in the gifting

Power to share and express

When that essential energy

Meets your generous power

When we are mighty together

For each other

None diminished.


Enchant me, seduce me, delight me.

You have no power over me

Except as I freely submit.

Gasp for me, yearn for me

Fall at my feet if you

Would give such power to me

And see your own strength

In the beauty of all

You give away.


Let my power flow in my hips

Open arms, open thighs

The willing, triumphant surrender

When it is safe to choose


Safe to choose


How to be sexy

Like most female-appearing people on the internet, I get my share of weird approaches from men I barely know. It was worse back when I wrote smut, because a lot of people infer writing smut as consent to anything – something that has caused me problems in all kinds of contexts.

I’ve never found bodies attractive out of context. I fall in love with people and the people I fall in love with I find attractive. I have a weakness for high cheek bones, and that’s about it. I have fallen in love with people online, it’s something I can do, but it has always been about ideas, creativity, what was shared, and not pictures of body parts.

The following poem is mostly full of things that happened – not all in a romantic context, but, things I find appealing versus things I don’t.


How to be sexy


Don’t send me dick picks.

Not unless I asked for them because

If I am not hot for you

Evidence of your fleshy appendage will not

Seduce me, may amuse me and laughter

Tends to offend, so let’s not.

If I want to look at genitals

I can do that with no pressure

To divert anyone else.

Your thing is not the thing

To sweep me off my feet.

Send me a picture of the impossible creature

You imagined, drew, crafted in soap

Tell me about sexy maths

By all means, show me what you made

Out of mashed potato, cogs, daydreams.

Which philosopher are you turned on by?

Tempt me with imaginary saints

Or your three wheeled steam powered trike.

I want your landscape porn, your food porn

Show me your poetry videos.

Send me a play list of music

In a language I do not speak.

Show me your nerdy toy collection, your cosplay,

Your cats, your knitting, show me anything

I might care about. Could enjoy.

Talking is seductive. Ideas are erotic.

The brain is the most powerful sexual organ

In the human body.

Show me you are more than a way

Of getting your dick from place to place.

Be human with me.

It’s a low set bar.

Toward Beltane

A guest blog from Ing Venning


Toward Beltane



When presented with beige folding,

when gifted with pale pinkness,

do you argue that white

is the take-charge pigment

or that red has always been

the more supportive hue?


Can you accept

my pistil and my stamen

or are you merely a boy,

simply a girl,

never a budding flower

bright with the sunny joy

of scented days and secret nights?


Perfection is the flaw

that defilement approaches.


Will you ask only one

or two questions

before taking your leave?

Or will you open at the south

and beg a third?


Ing Venning is the outsider author of the Wheel of the Year saga (a fantasy series featuring pagan, LGBTQIA+, and non-capitalist characters), Sources (a collection of retellings), and, most recently, a poetry collection called Lexical Numerals (of which “Toward Beltane” is part). Ing is working hard to get off disability and raise himself up to the poverty line in uncertain times. Want to try a sampler of his work or his first novel for free? Visit https://ingvenning.com/

Putting the romance back into Necromancy

I wrote this poem in response to Necromancers, by Penny Blake. More about that book over here – https://druidlife.wordpress.com/2020/03/07/necromancers/

I was rather charmed by the scope for playing with romance tropes in a distinctly wrong sort of way…


We have to be good

Mary Oliver’s poem Wild Geese has been on my mind a lot of late. If you aren’t familiar with it, you can read it here – http://www.phys.unm.edu/~tw/fas/yits/archive/oliver_wildgeese.html


We have to be good


Mary Oliver was wrong

And it breaks my heart to say so.

We do have to be good.

This year demands that we

Each, alone and whimpering walk

The hundred miles upon our knees

Take the impossible, body breaking

Journey without the solace of so much

We held dear – there can be

No holding. Our soft animal bodies

Are so fragile, and those we love

So vulnerable and a hundred miles

Of knee shredding repenting will not

Save us, necessarily. Will not

Save the ones we love most.

What would you tell me of despair

Today, Mary? What would your

World loving words reveal as we

Shuffle fearful, onwards, praying

But not daring to hope.

And all the while, the wild places

Are forbidden to us and we

Must not let our soft animal bodies

Love too closely and the hundred miles

Is so far, so hard, it seems

Unthinkable to cross the distance

In the way we must.

Carry what you can, be it grief

Or fear, the names of those lost

The bitterness and anger for this waste

Of life, for these months we shall

Never have again, for the dreams

Left bloody in the wake of our crawling

For all that is gone, will never be.

Carry what you can.

Weep when you must, but do this

Terrible thing, too far beyond my reach

For comfort, knowing our bodies lack

For innocence, that we may yet be

The death of each other.

A hundred miles on your knees, repenting

There is a far side to this torment

And I believe, with all my aching heart

That some of you will reach this place

Of respite and healing.

If I do not meet you there

Remember me fondly, remember the best of me

And forgive what you can of the rest.

If I can crawl to the far side of this

I will bring you my open arms

I will soak your cheek, your shoulder

With the glad excess of my tears.

Hold fast as thought I never mean

To let go again. Kiss, if you

Will permit it, love with whatever

Raw remnants of self I have.

When we do not have to be good,

I hope to find you.


(This originally went out on my Patreon account, should you feel so moved https://www.patreon.com/NimueB )


Messing with Sonnets

There is an elegance to the sonnet form that has always appealed to me. However, the origin of the sonnet has other things going on besides the structure and rhyme on the page. The Petrarchan sonnet is about the unobtainable, idealised beloved. It’s something Shakespeare both works with and pushes back against. It’s very much part of the poetic tradition of man as poet and woman as muse – something that has long frustrated me about older writing, and that drove me round the bend with Graves’ The White Goddess.

Most of us first encounter sonnet form through Shakespeare, and I think there’s a pull to that kind of language while writing sonnets. Part of the way through writing the one below, it struck me that I really want to work with the kind of language that seems out of place in a poem of this shape. I’ll be exploring that in the future.

I’ve already got a bit of a thing going around deliberately unromantic poetry, and this is certainly one of those…


A Challenge

Give me the lust that dares to speak its name

Bring me the joy of confident desire

The longing that refuses to know shame

The lips that gasp, the skin that seems on fire.

I have no time for guilt or reluctance

If wanting proves submissive unto fear

There’s more to this than getting in your pants,

Informed consent is something I hold dear.

Seduction holds no temptation for me

I shall not be your reason for betrayal

A willing gift of self would be the key

To love on other terms would be to fail.

I am not here to bring about your fall,

Come willingly, or do not come at all.