Saturday, 31 January 2015

A Poem a Day 2015 (25): As the world moves on #MoP

It's Saturday, so today's poem has been written for the Month of Poetry Saturday Challenge ( 

The challenge is to write a poem playing with homophones - words sounding the same (and may be spelt the same), but which have a different meaning. For example, write/right, war/wore.

The added challenge was to write a Tetractys. I’d never heard of one, so I had to look it up. It’s a poetic form invented by Ray Stebbing, consisting of at least five lines of 1, 2, 3, 4, 10 syllables (total of 20). Tetractys can also be reversed. I’ve written a double tetractys. Cheers.

As the world moves on

the sea
rising high
an endless sigh
a yawn upon the dawn; he stands and waves
waiting, his mind adrift on the blue waves
lost in her scent
his heart sent
he turns

copyright Vickie Johnstone

A Poem a Day 2015 (24): Like you're crazy

I wrote this poem just after midnight. Yep, I'm still up! Well, it is Friday. Writer JD Mader runs a writing day on his blog every Friday, called Unemployed Imagination - you can write whatever you like in the space of 2 minutes. JD's initial story is always cool and I nick lines out of it for my prompts. I dunno, but prompts kind of grab something for me and I try to take it somewhere. Anyway, here's what I came up with and if you want to write, here's his blog link -

So, here's my 2-minute bit... I wrote 4 things (2 fiction, 2 poems) so I'll post the others over the weekend. Cheers.

Prompt: Everyone looks at you like you're crazy (from JD's story).

Everyone looks at you like you’re crazy
Except me
For I know
I have a handle on the thing
The breeze in the air
The circle in the stream
The wandering so endless
I know the creeping darkness
The watcher in the shadows
The mind fuck
I have a feeling you know too
These stray things
The way they shift in the light
Only to fade in the night
When he comes a-walking
Talking up the tune
Only to confound me now
Into this space
Of utter burning
I yearn
Eager to begin a story
Only you can tell me
With that crazy laugh of yours
In time with my own
For I am as damn fine crazy
As the life you’ve always known.

copyright Vickie Johnstone

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 3: 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

Sunday, 18 January 2015

A Poem a Day 2015 (18): Furs and stripes

Okay, I'm not sure where this one came from. Some five-minute Sunday craziness, but with a serious message. Cheers :) 

Furs and stripes

Cats in tall hats
Doggies in scarves
Nothing is achieved
Doing it by halves

Fish in pink bras
Or did you say bars?
Does it make sense
Looking out of jars?

Gnus in fancy skirts
Antelopes in heels
Am I dreaming this up?
Know how this feels?

Llamas being farmers
Pigs playing a console game
Now that bit is a true story
They can, babe – it’s not lame

Rabbits head out all fluffy
Bears dress in warm fur
This is how it’s meant to be –
Never to be worn by her

Penguins opt for sharp suits
Smarter than the naked chimps
Or so they like to think
For we know they’re no blimps

Tigers roam in orange stripes
While snakes twist and shake
Ever leaving their skins behind
On a handbag it just looks fake

Whales enhance their blue-grey
With barnacle accessories
Singing songs from the deep
Surely that’s the bees’ knees?

copyright Vickie Johnstone

Saturday, 17 January 2015

A Poem a Day 2015 (17): Roar

I've written today's poem just now for the PAD challenge on Today's challenge is to write a personification poem, where you give human feelings or actions to an object, animal or idea. I love the sea, so mine is about that. 
How I'd love to be beside it in the sun! 
Cheers :) 


It roars and plunges
Smashing against the sea wall
Built to withstand time
Seeking to push inside
The cracks it split long ago
Crawling back, it ploughs on

Tugging at the sandy shoreline
It seeps inward, creating dips
Building bridges over pools
Wreaths of seaweed it throws
Tearing driftwood to pieces
As it polishes stones smooth

Swooping, dipping and flying
It slips, then crashes backwards
Carrying luminescent jellyfish afar
Towards the faint, blurred line
Of the pink-streaked horizon
Where a shadowy ship sails

Shivering and twisting forth
It shoots misted specks flying
Up towards dipping seagulls
Swooping down in hope to feed
Only to soar up high again
Escaping the clutch of the sea

Blown, bubbling surf bounces
Catching a fish in mid-thrall
Tosses a bright orange buoy
Always plunging and wrestling
Ever changing, ever sublime
Surging to the edge of the world

Copyright Vickie Johnstone

A Poem a Day 2015 (16): This man

Hi! Here is yesterday's poem. I was out with friends, drinking ale and by the time I got home, it did not compute to open my laptop, so I wrote it in my notebook to type up later! If it's all a bit weird, I blame the ale! :)

This man

He knows not what he thinks
This man
This sad man

He knows not how to go on
This man
This lost man

Unable to go forward
He waits
Unable to go back

Stuck in stasis
He cannot end
What never began

copyright Vickie Johnstone

Thursday, 15 January 2015

A Poem a Day 2015 (15): His dark places (The Fall)

I'm still watching The Fall! Wasn't sure about the main character, but she's growing on me. Just watched episode 4 of series 1, and so my thoughts drift to him again and trying to fathom out that kind of psychology, which is pretty impossible. So, today's poem is about this. Cheers.

His darkest place

Deep inside the dark wood
Near an oft-running brook
Beneath the high boughs
Of an overarching tree
Sits a house on its own
Where he resides alone
Beside himself
Beside the echo

In dark places he dwells
Thriving on the lack
Of colour, heart and hope
Exhausted as these things are
Within his four walls
The mirror gives back enough
The lights too much

This is his place
Where he shares his secrets
With no one
Except her
She is his cruel vice
His darkest secret
Spun on a fantasy dreamt
Now spent
If only to relive itself

In this reality
He shifts between the walls
Like a ghost walking
A paper-thin character
Living with no resemblance
Sleeping like the dead
If only

But she knows
Carrying his darkest deeds
Locked in her head
The body bears the scars
How she yearns for a key
To escape into the light
She has not glimpsed for an age

He strides
Back and forth
Deep in thoughtless thought
His mind sweeping yet still
An empty space
Where empathy once dwelt
These floorboards creak
Crying out at his weight
Being the only sound here
Where the quiet stiffens

She knows
What it is to be silenced
Hearing steps above her head
The ever-present threat of him
Lost where she is
Sheltered, she waits
Dying by the day
His darkest secret
Enclosed beneath the boards
In the in between
A prison of the body and mind

She sinks
Not knowing whom she’ll meet
Either he or his other self
One who befriended her
One who betrayed her
Jagged is the heart
Of the one without
Shattered, she sits in darkness
Her fate long sealed
Still holding on
To the wisp of a hope
Plagued by the echo
Of his footsteps

copyright Vickie Johnstone

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

A Poem a Day 2015 (14): Green


In this greenest of grass
Where the cracked ivy winds
Ever searching to burrow
Buttercups nod to the sun
This blaze of egg-yolk yellow
Set in a wash of purest blue
Here, in the mind’s eye
The imagination runs wild
A neon-blue dragonfly
Flits delicate gossamer wings
Whirring to create a current
Of moving air to play upon
Against nature’s own breeze
These valleys dive deep below
Verdant fields of lowing sheep
Unrestrained by fences
Wandering as free as they will
Bowing to the buttercups bobbing
Where the dragonfly hums

copyright Vickie Johnstone

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

A Poem a Day 2015 (13): The Fall

Hi, I just watched episode one of The Fall. I'm a big fan of The Bridge and The Killing (original) with their strong female characters who are flawed and fascinating, so I have big expectations! Anyway, for today's poem my mind switched to murder most foul...

The Fall

Emotions sliver over
The mind skewered
Blood-red is the edge
Of reason snapped
Muddied footsteps walk
A clear conscience
Severed beyond thought
Clouded in this present
Where time stopped
Hours stream together
Seeping to an accord

A lock of dark hair twisted
A silver locket undusted

These prizes removed
Treasured like souvenirs
The cold eye observes
With detached interest
Rows of framed pictures
Oblivious to them all
Such memories have no use
In the still art he created
The body will lie constant
Undetected for days

Raw, spent anger
Leaves a life fractured
As he closes the door

copyright Vickie Johnstone

Monday, 12 January 2015

A Poem a Day 2015 (12): City sleepers

City sleepers

In between the spaces
Wander the abandoned
Strewn beneath the bleak
Stepping stones to the past

Waves of yearning sound
Tearing into the dark
Jagged screams cut silences
Upon the marked hand

Shadows dance, etched upon
The night owls take flight
Escaping the profound
Among the distant sleepers

Fingers dip to steal a coin
Taking breath for granted
Here it is just one leap
Into the maze

copyright Vickie Johnstone

Sunday, 11 January 2015

A Poem a Day 2015 (11): Every hour I wait

Every hour I wait

Every hour I wait
For the trickle of time
Spilling over pages
Filling the in between,
Waking colours
In the pitch;
Fading footsteps
Sinking in wet sand.

I wake
In fresh remembrance
Circling my hands
In water.

Blue fades
In the young hereafter
As pink petals fall
Coveting the small.
Ache in waking
Reaching to fulfill
The arch of the rainbow.

Sings in the sand
A blissful echo
Of the silver noon tide.

copyright Vickie Johnstone

Saturday, 10 January 2015

A Poem a Day 2015 (10): 3 poems #MoP

Today's poems were written for the Month of Poetry Saturday Challenge. The challenge was to write an abcedarian poem, also called an alphabet poem. Each line begins with a consecutive letter of the alphabet in order until the end Z. I found it pretty hard and couldn't find my rhythm, feeling hemmed in by the ABC. I also kept starting lines with letters that had gone before - my alphabet must be darn crazy! So I ended up writing 3 cos I wasn't sure of them. Have a go and post it in the Comments if you like or sign up to the Saturday Challenge. Good luck. Here's the link - - cheers! 

The witch and the whale

At the crest of the silvery moon
Bore the eagle its babes too soon.
Calling forth mages upon her broom,
Dinah, the fiercest witch, gave chase;
Emptied of pity, she made haste.
From the moon to the earth, base
Gruesome deeds she sought to make.
Horrors rose from the bottomless lake;
In the midst hissed Liar, an artful snake.
Judged by none, all fears did he wake.
Killing and maiming was all he did;
Loved by Dinah, he obeyed as she bid –
Moving swiftly through the grass, he hid.
No one dared help the poor eagles win,
Oft frightened, except the courageous Fin;
Pure of heart, brave and mighty of kin,
Quitting a dour deed was never for him.
Roared forth the sea and the air grew thin,
Swimming, Fin made for the end of the Rim.
Towering in frame, from the water he rises
Under the nose of Dinah whom he despises;
Vying for power, of the Rim he is the wisest.
Whales all over the oceans sound his name,
Xyan, forever followed for his enduring fame
Young and strong, Dinah is a friendless dame;
Zigging o’er the sky, she leaves on her broom.

Fairy dust

Another calls his name
Blowing dust in the breeze
Crows the darkest bird
Dumbfounded as it falls
End of times begin again
Foolish stunts forgotten
Giddy is the dog that spits
Higher flies the blackbird
In this wood of splendour
Jokers play a song for all
Kings fall and the wise rise
Laughing as a jackal
Madly flown on gossamer wings
Nia of the fairies bestows
Open blessings on the natural
Playful in her artful matching
Queens envy her beauty
Ruthless in its innocence
Sailing on the morning star
These things she sees below
Unveiled to none, she studies
Verdant fine the land below
Wisely guarded by her hand
Xanthic flowers bloom and nod
Yearning for her magic touch
Zen-like, she is mother to all.


A moonlit dance
But a dream
Clueless this man
Devoid of sanity
Ever imagining
Flying to the stars
Growing wings

He sees eternity
In his mind’s eye
Joking in its way
Kangeroos boxing
Llamas bleating
Madness reaching
No one to listen

On this clear night
Perchance to find a
Queen in waiting
Rising, he dances
Swift in his moves
Tousled and twisting
Unveiling himself

Viewed from afar
What would you think?
X-rays alone can part
Ying and yang entwined
Zig-zagging, he sings.

copyright Vickie Johnstone

Friday, 9 January 2015

A Poem a Day 2015 (9): The chase

A 2-minute poem written for the '2 minutes. Go!' fun writing fest on Unemployed Imagination with JD Mader. Check it out on Fridays, guys. The link -

The chase

Slipping her fingers
Through his mane
She urges him forth
Feeling the warm beat
The pounding within
Her own blood roars
Like a tide in her ears
As she is swept
Upon the icy wind
Chasing the night
As far as it allows
Shattering time itself
Into rays of glass
Among tripping stars.
This dew of welcome
Lights the storm now
Thunder rears its head
Casting a magic stroke
Yet he charges on
Soaring across the sky
Knowing no man or boy
Only this slight girl
Hanging on to life itself
As he gallops high

copyright Vickie Johnstone

Thursday, 8 January 2015

A Poem a Day 2015 (8): The freedom to be

Recent horrific events in Paris inspired me to write this.

The freedom to be

Where blind hatred breeds
It plants ignorant seeds
The desperate grab guns
Where everyone runs
Prejudice gains nothing
But the art of losing
Freedom knows its value
Above all, me and you
It flies a flag of colour
Defended by true valour
Humanity rests on this
For its unconscious bliss
Where contempt seeks to grow
We should drag it low
Valuing rights of free speech
Tolerance of all and each
Only in this way can we live
Allowing humanity to breathe  

copyright Vickie Johnstone