Speed Poetry


Photo by Brett Sayles on Pexels.com


A poetry workshop which I attend on Saturday mornings has a format that is quite interesting and intense. The two guys (local poets) who facilitate the session will read out a poem or two and, depending on the theme or idea of the particular pieces, will then give five minutes or less for each of us to produce something along the same lines.

I was pleasantly surprised at how the brain and creative juices can be motivated in this manner.

Herewith a few of my efforts from yesterday (unedited!).

Writing about the best time and the worst time of day:

Morning  (Best)

Sunrise and already up.

Tea made.

Walking on dew-damp grass,

exploring the sweet air,

listening to bird chatter

and planning, as steam slowly drifts from the mug,

what to avoid doing during the day.


Late  (Worst)

Past midnight – tired;

mired with the lacklustre

of a flustered, frustrating day.

Bed-bound with thoughts

that still hound of the undone,


The list goes on.


Then a poem about a piece of punctuation:


The apostrophe has become a catastrophe.

Errant, inordinate and commonly current.

It isn’t where it ought to be

and inserted where it shouldn’t.

You mustn’t have a possessive without it,

but the obsessive merely appear to flout it.

Thrown as a decorative sign on vendings;

‘Tis not always attached on word endings.

It’s that’s what’s a sign of the times,

but isn’t too bad when making rhymes.


Unseasonable and unreasonable

Most Februarys that I can remember have been four weeks of typically winter weather: snow, ice, frosts; and even on sunny days, a chill that penetrates to your bones. However, what we (that is the ‘we’ of residents in the east of England) are currently experiencing is an unseasonably mild spell of weather.  Temperatures are much higher than where they ought to be. Now, whether this is a symptom of global warming or just a freak wiggle in the Atlantic jet stream drawing warm southerly air over the country, is something for the experts to debate.  All that currently concerns me is the length of the grass on my lawn which is far too wet to cut, but which continues to grow in these mild conditions.  The weather was recently a subject prompt in my local writing group, and rain just happened to be at the forefront of my mind.

background blade blur bokeh



Rain, incessant rain,

smothers the simpering town.

A steady downpour

ships another cloudfull,

catching the unprepared,


inside the former shelter,

its panes all smashed the night before,

no doubt between large bouts of beer:

crystals of glass adorn the floor.

A whirling wind whips up the rain,

and through the liberated pane,

assumes a horizontal plane,

racing round the huddled group,

chasing plastic cups

and lids,

and litter left

by little kids,

down into a gurgling gutter.

All at once the downpour ceases

and leaves an unexpected sweetness,

a buoyant freshness in the air

across the glistening streets.

© Wally Smith  2019


Method Writing – or ‘what’s it really like being a fireman?

Marlon Brando was a big advocate of method acting, sharing here is a recent column about method writing  LitReactor. Really all about taking your research a step further – get into the mindset of your characters, understand their jobs, their situations, locations they live etc. One that struck a chord with me was about objects and their tactile nature eg the feel and scent of doctor’s scrubs, the weight of the fireman’s kit etc.

US Navy 080730-N-5277R-003 A Commander, Naval Forces Japan firefighter douses a fire on a dummy aircraft during the annual off-station mishap drill at Naval Support Facility Kamiseya

Reading at the Swan


Three of us who contribute to this blog read at Swan Poets Café last Friday evening.  I read three pieces of work

  • Gone – a poem about the life after loosing a life partner.
  • Snow Country — a poem about unrealised dreams.
  • Outfoxed – a poem inspired by a sketch by American artist Andrew Wyeth.

For me this was the first time I had been, after being nagged by my companions to attend for months 🙂 Everyone was most welcoming.