Thursday, 29 January 2015

A Poem a Day 2015 (23): Mindfulness

Well, I busted my aim to write a poem a day for the month of January. I ran out of brain juice at the weekend, but never mind! I was just reading an article on acting your shoe size, not your age, which sounds a good idea to me. Being silly should never be underrated. So here's a poem about that. Cheers.


Being here
In this moment
See the finer details
Etched on a flickering leaf
Hearing the plaintive song
Of a blackbird bobbing
Steal a second to listen
To the things inside
Beneath all this humming
This chase of noise
Creep into the silence
Like a waking child
Take the path once lost
The way of rainbows
Painted on a canvas
Of drizzling rain
Here it lies
The secret
This way of peace
In a trivial thing
A momentary flowering
An ache
A cry
A laugh
Where life shakes itself up
Marvel at the rich colours
Rushing to be seen
Interweaving evergreen
Where the dust has blown
Shapes upon the wind
Like snowflakes spinning
Gossamer petals flying to
This arch in the sky
Dripping translucent
To trip across the horizon
Laughing in the face of it all
And so to sleep
Eager to reawake
With the secret
To being free.

copyright Vickie Johnstone

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Flash fiction: Lost footing (Indies Unlimited challenge)

Every Sunday, Indies Unlimited runs a flash fiction challenge. There's a prompt and you have to write 250 words. The challenge closes on Tuesdays and voting opens on Wednesdays. If you want to try, here's the link -

Prompt - Well good job, Wendy, I said to myself as I bent another fingernail backwards, ripping it to the quick. What the heck was I thinking, telling Jason that I’d love to go climbing? Sure, I’d been dying for him to ask me out, but I never should have alluded to being athletic. At all. Ever. I glanced at Jason, just a few feet to my right. He smiled. I smiled back. He’s so cute, and smart, and funny. And every other girl in class has the hots for him, too. I know lying was wrong, but I really wanted just one chance for him to get to know me. Through all that thinking, I had managed to get myself in a bit of a predicament. My feet were now way too far apart, and the left one was slipping…

Here's mine for this week... 

Lost footing

Adjusting my grip on the jagged rock, I summoned my inner ninja. Don’t look down, I told myself. It’s a hell of a long way and you’ve been trying to block out Mr Vertigo all this time. Instinctively, my legs turned to jelly. Come on, Wendy, try harder! My maths teacher seemed to be sending subliminal messages or else my mother, but she would have stretched every syllable until there was a veritable avalanche.

“You okay?”

I peered up through my dangling hair at Jason. I hadn’t tied it back, wanting to look sexy. Now I regretted it. There would be nothing sexy about plunging because I couldn’t see. “Fine,” I managed. Okay, I was never going to be scaling Everest soon, but I could do this. Who needed fingernails anyway?

Realising I was staring hypnotised at Jason’s butt in those tight shorts of his, I chastised myself to get a grip. Sunburn, scraggly hair, bloody knees and rashes from the stinging nettles I’d been attacked by earlier – yep, Jason would surely have the hots for me! In my next life.

I pushed on. After an eternity, I reached the top. The man of my dreams wore a whopping great grin. “You know, not many girls have the guts to do that,” he said.

Jason was impressed! I collapsed alongside him, trying to act nonchalant while panting for my life. “Really? So I’m braver than I think?”

He sniggered. “Just more stupid. Up here no one will hear you scream.”

copyright Vickie Johnstone

Saturday, 24 January 2015

A Poem a Day (22): Wanted on Voyage (Paddington Bear)

Today's poem is written for the Poem a Day challenge on The challenge is to write an erasure poem, which I've never heard of before, based on the first chapter of Paddington Bear. Here's how it works: you choose some words - however many you like - and put them into a poem. You can follow the theme of the story or write something different. 

Here are my chosen words:
humming, station, bear, suitcase old and battered, husband, unusual, brown, odd-looking hat, wide brim, black ears, good afternoon, politely, can I help you, rare, Darkest Peru, stowaway, starving, marmalade, Lucy, lifeboat, London, big place, please look after, sweet, irregular, such a hurry, Paddington, distinguished, long journey, sea water, thirsty, label, parcel, Henry, paw, best circles, jam and cream, saucer, bun, stickiest, tea, strawberry, laughing blue eyes, paws, somersaulted, funny, bath, taxi, letterbox, jolly, thirty-two Windsor Gardens, bookstall, bear.

Wanted on voyage

To the visitor, London is such a big place
With everyone seeming in such a hurry
To get somewhere, just anywhere,
Clutching suitcases old and battered,
Odd-looking hats and blowing scarves.
It’s a sight never beheld in Darkest Peru
Where everything is done in slow motion
As though wading through marmalade.

A cup of tea is as welcome as a lifeboat
On the roaring, cascading saltwater sea.
“Can I help you?” asks the jolly girl
With laughing blue eyes serving buns.
The tastiest, stickiest kind you’ll ever find,
Packed full of strawberry jam and cream,
They somersault into greedy mouths,
To be gulped down with a look of glee.

“Bring me a saucer, young Lucy, will you?”
A man cries over the top of idle chatter.
The girl turns to obey, acting sweet as pie
While avoiding the old man’s lascivious paw –
Her least favourite customer, always here.
Every single day the station is humming;
Queues of the best circles take a taxi.
It was funny how things never change.

Lucy’s favourite customer is late today.
So distinguished, he takes a long journey,
Always stopping at Paddington Station
To say “Good afternoon” with a smile.
But today he has not come, so unusual;
Where can he be in this endless swell?
Then she spies him, so rare among men,
Ever polite in that wide-brimmed hat of his.

He steps past a bookstall towards the cafe.
“How may I help you?” Lucy asks as usual.
To which he smiles. “How may I help you?”
A moment of silence and then he breaks it:
“How would you like to be a stowaway?”
“A stowaway?” she mutters, bewildered.
He smiles. “Only to the cafe across the way
For some cake if you can bear my company!”

She smiles, blushes and nods. “Just an hour,
For my break will only last that long, sir.”
“Call me Henry,” he says, “everyone does.”
With that, he takes off his hat and mock-bows.
Taken aback, Lucy calculates her break is now.
“Thank you,” she says, smoothing her apron.
“No, thank you. This will be something special –
Then I must be off to thirty-two Windsor Gardens.”

Copyright Vickie Johnstone

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

A Poem a Day 2015 (21): Sleepers


Where sleepers dwell
the heart be still
glass feet
seek to tread
the deadliest path
of all
unclutter these moments
sinking beneath
only seeking to
pierce the bubble
watch it rise into
the bluest sky
I wonder why
yellow buttercups torn
upon a painted red door
fresh rain splattered
delicate petals scattered
ghostly seahorses pump air
as they cut through
distant waves
listen to them through
the shapely curve of
a salmon-coloured shell
damp sand sticks
as the moon dips
tracing starlit fingers
to chase away the breeze
now all clouds are lost
in a spraying dance of light
playing across the skies
chance fulfilled
in blissful sleep

copyright Vickie Johnstone

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

A Poem a Day 2015 (20): Scrawled in sand

Scrawled in sand

Tip-toe these twisting lines
drawn lightly in sand
where white crabs crawl
leaving their endless scrawl
little rivulets running
of ice-cold water
when the air finally cools
flock the circling gulls
diving for fish and chips
ensnared in black and white
harmony rides the horizon
dressed in pink and purple
a sweeping crystal wave
in silken silver symmetry

copyright Vickie Johnstone

Monday, 19 January 2015

A Poem a Day 2015 (19): Nightmare

Okay, I'm just off to bed and I think of this one. Too much cheese, perhaps?


Red blood, congealing
seared to the bone
tearing the flesh
in front
of me
cold breath
travels the spine
sweeps around my
I sprint
yet I’m standing
so still
only to float
treading the air
walking on nothing
barefoot slow
then plunging
down, down
past jagged rock
cobwebs flying
spiders encircling
a living net
touching my
crawling over
finding my mouth
I cough, spitting out
as I fall
arms sweeping
is only a minute
I land
in the dark pitch
heart racing
blood pounding
in the distance
something breathes
something comes
I move
travelling fast
footsteps behind me
moving quickly
haggard breathing
it is not
feeling the rock
so cold and rough
my fingers trail
searching it
everywhere for a way
but where?
it creeping closer
I can hear it
raw gasps
a cold chill enwraps
my body
I run
ahead the rockface
closes as if
I search all over
for a way out
my hands feeling
in the dark
but nothing
my exit blocked
behind me I hear it
it’s so near
rasping breaths
I’m too scared to
but it’s here
so close
I can feel it
breathing down my
my hands clammy
locked together
my eyes closed
in the dark
not wanting to
the thing now
touching me

copyright Vickie Johnstone