Tag Archives: poem

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.

If it is not too much to ask – a poem

Bring me your excess and your unreason.

Bring me your broken hearted devastation

At the state of the world, your passionate desire

For something better, your idealism,

Your most irrational hope and wildest optimism.

Show me the places where you are

Almost unbearably tender, already shattered,

Wounded and healing, dripping sweat and tears

Show me your scars. The ones the world inflicted

The ones you made in your own skin

Out of grim necessity, the need for art,

The quest for some kind of meaning.

Tell me the outlandish stories of how

You came to be here, tell me the preposterous

Dreams that define the path you mean to take.

Share with me the warmth of your hands

On my hands, the warmth of you leaning against me

The sacred, magic circles of arms and holding.

Share the rites of passage, the rituals of meaning.

Give me the parts of yourself you are most afraid of.

Give me the weight of your shame, your loneliness.

I am hungry for these things in ways almost no one

Understands but perhaps you are one of the few

Who can cough up jagged truth like owl pellets

And breathe the flames of your most unacceptable self

Into my life. Bring me your unspeakable longing

And your existential fear, tell me what is

Worth dying for, and harder still,

What is worth living for.

And perhaps I can kiss the part of your soul

That was always unkissable and perhaps

I can bring my too raw, bloody and dangerous

Tenderness to the parts of you that you fear

And perhaps there are enough of us we can

Devise new ways of being in the world

With our tendencies to bleed to death when wounded

And scream in pain and ecstasy

And set fire to ourselves

And love everything too fiercely

And ourselves not sufficiently.

Perhaps we can talk about it all night.

We can make sense of it a little,

Make welcome what we keep hidden in the dark

On the inside.

Bring me your excess and unreason

That I may promise fantastical things

And weave life out of that dreaming.

Please stop trying to save me – a poem

Please stop trying to save me


What if I am not wrong, just different?

What if I do not need changing, fixing,

Healing, rescuing, improving, sorting out,

Toughening up?

In just the way that spiderwebs and flower petals

Do not need to be other than they are.

I might be fragile, but it is a quality valued in glassware

And butterflies.

I may be sensitive down to my nerve endings

Like the fine tips of roots and shoots

Or a wolf’s sense of smell.

I have been wounded, my body a fracked landscape

But you don’t mend that by demanding

I learn to better tolerate being fracked.

You don’t make me more well if you tell me

I am not good enough right now, if you

Have to tinker with me, recreate me in the way

You think I should be, over-writing the truth of me

With some story that suits you better.

Some way of being in the world that may

Tidy me into other people’s convenience, but makes me

Less myself, smaller than before so that

The next person can come along to see the damage

And decide what should be cut off now

In order to save me from myself.

What if I would never have been damaged at all

Without the people who wanted to repair me

In the manner of their choosing?

What if all I ever needed was kindness

And the space to live out my own difference?

Anti-romantic poetry

All those heart metaphors


I wore my heart on my sleeve for you.

I spilled my guts.


I put my spleen on my shoulder

Was that helpful?

I draped my lungs over my ears,

Put my liver in the upturned cuff

Of my trousers,

Wore my pancreas on my wrist.


Do I make sense now?

Can you read my entrails?

Is the hollow place under my ribs

Understandable? Clearer?

Do you need to see all my bones?


Is honesty the exposed inner workings

Or was it the mysterious whole?

Where’s the true layer?

What should we dig down to?


I put my heart on my sleeve for you.

Just offal and mess, it turns out

And not much good at all.


(I may be going to do a run of these, exploring ideas around romance and dismantling them in whatever way occurs to me at the time. Especially what we’re supposed to do with hearts – which discernibly work better on the inside.)