National Poetry Month: Tristich 11-20 #NaPoWriMo

It’s National Poetry Month – and I’ve taken up the challenge of writing a poem each day for April 2016. In my case I’ve gone with three-line poems to ensure that I keep up the momentum. Really delighted to have gotten this far with no slippage.

Thanks again to for introducing the concept. Thanks too @thepoetryschool (on instagram) whose prompts I’ve been using. Some very intriquing ideas coming through both in terms of subject matter and in format of the writing. Yesterday’s prompt involved burning and walking – both activities which I enjoy – although there is a bit of an after-smell of burnt paper today here that isn’t too lovely.  I’ve also been mixing it up with prompts from the NAPOWRIMO website – and that’s adding an interesting dynamic.


(Tristiches 1-10 are HERE)


11/30 Finders Keepers

It’s a different jurisdiction – and all the advice is for children.

Don’t pick it up, tell a trusted adult (what if that were me?).

On the firearm forum, they disucss whether they could get to keep it.


12/30 I Grant You This

When I am in the area, you find that you forget

to feel the need to be more – or maybe, sometimes, less;

Then magically it happens that others become less of a threat.


13/30 Golden Beak

Not shy, but you like to keep it low key when scoping out territory;

Bird of mystery – we’d never noticed you except for that trademark flashy beak;

Truly, we don’t need to know the score, just let your ancient/ordinary art stand us still.


14/30 Short Bio

Imaginary pastimes, who caused the sense of absence, a home-place painted red.

Fragile images become lines, how can a colour be quenched, now I am missing you.

Releasing the debt that red acrrued, what if day-dreaming were banned, what if dreams came true.


15/30 Exile

Cashmere and canvas: you pitch your tent tonight.

Wind-burnt dancer – disappear or relent tonight.

Say yes? Here in Ithaca I lament tonight.

after ‘Tonight’ by Agha Shahid Ali


16/30 Guided Meditation

By the black water, in the cleft of an oak;

An ornate box – contents: a hat pin,

Whole moon on a windy night, a milk tooth.


17/30 After-sunset Couplet (aka Heuston we have a problem)

In the beginning there was only one.

Then another – and two became one.

And another..o so wrong..felt so right 🙂


18/30 Dovecote

Actually it’s the sound that isn’t here that makes this home – none of their

entitled noise, angry, demanding to know whose fault it is: when will I fix it –

nor the neighbour’s pigeons cooing on the roof in their brief moments free from the coop.


19/30 How to Navigate the Storms of Winter

Remember the Daughter of the Wind, the Son of the Morning Star – their exalted union;

How they drowned – and were brought back to life by the gods but as birds named for seam foam;

Seek out the seven calm days close to the winter solstice – Halcyon Days – when kingfishers tend their burrows.


20/30 Burning your letters wasn’t easy



in a tiny window.


I’m adding them day-by-day to my instagram account @pearldiver32 – an ongoing creative challenge is the accompanying images! More to follow here, hopefully, at the end of April. Fingers crossed I clear the last ten!

Olive Broderick © 2016

National Poetry Month: Tristich 1-10 #NaPoWriMo


Who said April is the cruellest month? In fact, it appears April is National Poetry Month. How come I didn’t know this. Thanks to Lagan Press for introducing #NaPoWriMo and furnishing the poetry writing community here with daily prompts.

Over on Instagram (pearldiver32), I have been writing a tristich (three line poem) a day and feeling a bit self-satisfied as I have managed to keep on track this far. Really enjoying it. I have done a bit of prompt-hopping, mostly because I needed the prompt early in the day to ensure that I got a chance to do the writing / image creating by the end of the day. The second half of the prompts are from The Poetry School who run some fantastic online and offline poetry courses.

NaPoWriMo Thirty Tristiches – 1-10


1/30: Vernal Equinox at Avebury

West Kennet longbarrow with mouth open – welcoming;

Stone chambers clean, dry and empty;

In the crevices, RIP offerings to the maybe-grave-dwellers.


2/30: Between Times

My love, I try to catch up, match your long strides – regular;

A day added, hours gained or lost to create this Roman calendar – and you must take my time too;

My womb, like an ancient astronomer – and I – cannot stray from the course of a year that is lunar.


3/10: Single-glazed

On the inside, I touch the pane;

Smooth and cold like it was a wall

Of rain facing the other way.


4/10: No Reliable Witness

In its muted light, the wall of one barrow chamber seems blue;

Single storey like your home – and as silent as to why things turned out so;

You left in stages like the waning moon, were easy to blame and much too easy to lose.


5/10: Polycystic Heart

Cysts that develop over time – I wonder what might be growing in those hidden chambers;

In the parlour of the present company I snap-back and forth between here and trying to find the cure;

In the lost hours of bedtime I wonder what this thing called memory really is.

-for Colin & Geraldine


6/10: Dusk Haiku

Long evening light, cold;

Early April buds breaking open;

Backlit, colour appears in the Cathedral’s stained glass windows.


7/10: Letter from Black Hawk Delta

Weather changeable – daffodil bud cases litter the base of the vase;

Half a rusty nail with hex head found at my door;

The sound the cracked glass jar made after I quenched the flame.


8/10: Old Building Artefacts found on English Street

Half a screw, three-quarters of a hoop – both of badly corroded metal;

Enough, they seem to say, of these persistent renovations – our preserved facades

are disintegrating; keep these ‘bones’ of us as a kind of memento mori.


9/10: At Aries Point

How subtly the sequence of the light changes;

Here at isophase, the antique lamp is just about to increase the duration of brightness;

Though it will retract later, we always retain the sweeping beam


10/30: Place of Domestic Tides

The moon comes to this room first /

face filtered through frosted glass /

watches over our singular waning and preparing rituals


 Olive Broderick © 2016

Siúl a Rúin

Much and all as it might be a good idea to post every day, I am wondering whether it might be more interesting for you if I hold back until I’m really intrigued by something. It’s been busy here but the kind of business that isn’t stimulating for my muse.

The idea of this was to record somehow the poetic landscape behind the actual poems. This evening and at odd times during the week I have been chasing down words from an old song a friend of my grandmother – and very many others – used to sing.  It was a favourite of mine as a child but then there were a lot of very fancified versions and I lost patience. The last time I heard it sung was about two years ago in Downpatrick’s St Patrick’s Centre. A girl from Dingle sang it. Her version was so stylised that I recognised it only by the words of the chorus.

I thought that it was time to return it to its passionate, kind simplicity and I thought that I’d learn it again because I have my suspicions it might be a Munster tune and there just  might be one good trad song that isn’t from Co Down.

There are reams written about it within the threads of the mudcat forums. Siúl a Rún (Go, my love) is macaronic – actually most of it is in English. Things are so much more fluid with oral transmission. I imagine someone somewhere having heard the spare tune, having grasped the tender sentiment in the Irish chorus and having a passionate lyric themselves that they wanted to share about the heartbreak of war – had spliced all of those things together to make what we think of that song today (or permutations and combinations thereof).

I’d include a version but I haven’t found the right one. But the chorus as I remember Grandma’s friend singing it was (in English)  

‘Go, beloved, go safely, go quietly / move to the door and leaving me / May God keep you.’ 

And, in the way small children size up adults for their parental-potential, I thought that she must have made a very good mother to wish her loved one such safe passage to the world beyond. Another professional singer afterwards said that she suspected the original Irish version was a love song of the lullaby-for-children variety.

What I am thinking about is not translation but transmission – and what happens when you have a piece of art, a melody, a framework that may be 400 years old and how people inhabit it, refresh it, give it permission to move on to an entirely new way of being – when the underlying bone structure is there.

In a way that chorus is a love song for a poem – Go, my love:  be well.

Those self-same skills

I had intended to write every week; and I didn’t intend to post any of my poetry. This overdue letter is in the form of a poem. I had been thinking about Lady Nakatomi writing tanka and collecting shells and a walk I’d taken with my sister at Tyrella beach.

Worse again – it had originally been a poem about writing and ended with the lines ‘I talk too much; don’t listen enough / were you thinking that about me’ but that didn’t work out either. It is strange how things take their own direction. Perhaps that’s what I’d been thinking about… and ghosts.  The good news is that I am to have two poems in Abridged 0-17 due out the end of July. It’s a visual arts / poetry journal  on the subject of ‘Time’ – really looking forward to hearing it. Anyway here is ‘Tyrella’



one part of the beach is covered

in tiny shells; precisely made

as tanka; fine lines of ochre

and lilac etched on ivory.

I select some as reminders

though I know their lacquer will fade

without moisture. There is nothing

 on the water, not even a

liner out on the horizon –

and what seemed to be shifting sands

is a low mist rising. I move

through it, as one might gently touch

the surface of old love-letters.