This year I decided to take part in Escapril, a challenge founded by poet Savannah Brown, where poets around the world are invited to write a poem every day in April, in response to thirty prompts.
It was a lot of fun taking part in this year's Escapril, and I tried to include wildlife and nature in some form in all of my poems! You can read all thirty of my Escapril poems below.
Day 1 - Ego
No bird is more in love with itself than the Peacock.
My God, he struts around, fluttering his many eyes
Like a lady-in-waiting with a silk fan;
Adoring the fact every eye is on him,
That he can make every peahen swoon
With one bat of his bejewelled eyes.
Day 2 - The exact middle
A coin toss is an elegant way of deciding arguments.
One smooth wrist flick and it’s twirling, flipping;
The sides blinking in the dull light of the lamp above the oak table,
Not unlike two eyes winking – unreadable.
It clinks onto the table top, rolling along edges smoothed from
Being thumbed in pockets. It comes to rest:
Not heads or tails – no decisive final topple –
But the exact middle.
Day 3 - Empty, except for...
Never one for a big show,
My final act was the same as always –
Pulling the rabbit out of the hat.
The crowd always groaned in a
Sort of way.
But there was always one child who was entranced:
A little girl with bouncing pigtails and a wide smile
Who would come running up at the end, asking,
“How did you do it? Can you teach me?”
And I would bow deeply and hand her the hat, whispering,
“see what you can pull out.”
Day 4 - Ghost
When all is said and done,
When all the oceans are depthless basins –
A lifeless sea of oil and plastic –
There will still be the whispers of the wind,
The breath of a gentle current,
The curling fingers of the river.
Ghosts of a life lost.
Ghosts of a nearly forgotten world.
Day 5 - Here's what I remember...
Nails not quite driven into the cracking wood properly,
And a smell of grapefruit – mixed with sea salt –
That swirls through the air
Like a honeybee homing to a flower.
Day 6 - (L)onl(e)y
I wonder how the last unicorn felt
When they realised they were all that was left.
Did they cry? Crumple to the ground,
Curse the heavens and give in?
Did they stare plaintively into the distance
And wonder what would become of them?
Did they run? Did they hide? Did they scream?
Perhaps they tried to rectify some of the damage,
Rebuild some of their lost cities, retrieve artefacts.
Or perhaps they were content in their solitude,
Talking to their shadow for company.
Day 7 - Naked
The wallpaper coats the walls
Like a jungle; peeling into grasses,
Falling off in parts like giant leaves.
Together we scrape off the shreds,
Sand the walls down so they’re smooth
And shining bright, with unexplored potential.
Day 8 - Tessellation
We fit together like
Two puzzle pieces,
Growing old together
But always at the same rate.
A constant equilibrium.
Neither of us
Outrunning the other.
It’s like that bit in
Alice in Wonderland,
Running to stand still,
Where we evolve together
But it means we’re not really
Evolving at all.
Just tessellating over and over:
Day 9 - Paradox
How can we pledge to
protect our planet, if we
won’t change our own lives?
Day 10 - I'm worried about her
Her bark fingers and green lungs
Have become more withered and worn
As the years trickle on.
Her breath slows – hitches into storms
And cyclones as she competes with fire and
Flames for air.
Her blue blood doesn’t glisten like it used to,
It has become poisoned – slowly eating her up
From the inside out.
Day 11 - eureka!
when it came to you,
it was always puzzles.
a competitive edge,
that spurred us both on;
like two lapwings,
we swirled around each other;
our teasing voices
creating an eco-chamber
of flashing colours and
as we tried to find
each other’s secret
Day 12 - Comfortable
Curling up in the early sunrise,
the colour of a perfectly-baked croissant,
Your hazel eyes blink slowly;
dozy and happy in your bed of grass and heather,
Just as the warmth of the new day
reaches out its hands and
begins to weave its fingers under your fur,
Ready for a new day.
Day 13 - After the afterlife
there’s an endless grey sea.
the rocks are grey, the foam is grey, the water is grey.
grey, grey, grey.
it bores into your eyes – into your soul –
until you can almost taste the metallic colour,
until everything you touch feels smooth yet rough like a boulder,
and when you try to swim through the ocean
you find yourself climbing unending steps
as grey as the 9-til-5 commute
and you find yourself wondering ‘will it ever end,
or is life just an endless series of steps and progressions,
each as non-essential and grey as the past?’
Day 14 - wishbone
Most people wish on stars.
Stars that cut through the night sky
Against a cosmic background,
Flying so fast that they form
Sharp white blurs in the sky.
But some people wish on wishbones.
The pearly v-shaped bone,
So fragile and delicate in your hands,
You handle it so carefully –
Only to break it in two.
Your wish has been made.
Day 15 - Planes/trains/automobiles
There is a distinct rhythm to certain words,
It makes them likeable to us
(they just slip off the tongue),
So we can wield favourable cadences
And iambic pentameter like well-worn weapons;
Winning every battle.
Day 16 - Bird of Paradise
Not unlike a wind-up toy
Stuttering to a sudden start after months of being untouched.
Feathers begin to whir round his head –
All different colours, like looking through a kaleidoscope.
His song twists nothing into something;
Golden notes spun from thin air – reflecting the afternoon sun.
Day 17 - Power
Dark eyes glint in the streetlamp before me
As he raids the bins for scraps,
Rust hair with orange-peel highlights
Weaving in and out of the shadows as he moves.
Paws delicately balance and weave along the perimeter
As he keeps his eye on the prize,
They say one man’s rubbish is another man’s treasure
And when the fox pulls out a chicken carcass
You can almost feel his delight, tinged with hunger,
As he rips the tender meat and swallows it whole.
Day 18 - Nightmare
They call her the nightmare thief.
When the cries from the unwoken
Shake the sheets during the depths of night,
She dives from her tower and
Throws her silver spool of thread,
Which twirls and cascades to the restless dreamer
And catches the nightmare from their reach.
She reels it in to safety:
A wriggling black droplet of bad dreams,
Before returning to her tower,
Where she sits with the night-time owls and moths for company,
Waiting for the next nightmare.
Day 19 - Mirror
A tranquil surface,
So still, you can almost see
The silver full moon.
Day 20 - Stranger than Fiction
I first met the beast when I was six years old.
She was curled up inside a fresh sunflower,
her breath even in her sleep,
large golden paws with sharp black claws covering her face.
I thought perhaps she was a bee of some kind,
so I poked her with a chubby finger,
and gasped in surprise as the beast opened her mouth
in a giant yawn filled with sharp white teeth.
She regarded me with quiet curiousity for some time,
blinking her startling blue eyes,
before stretching and flying away with leathery purple wings
disappearing into the afternoon sun.
I met the beast again when I was sixteen.
Climbing trees and running through meadows chasing butterflies,
I suddenly became aware of a rustling in the hedgerow beside me.
Crawling on my hands and knees, I spied familiar black claws,
golden paws, blue eyes.
I couldn’t help but gasp.
And she roared in surprise.
So much larger than when I had last seen her,
I whispered, I thought I dreamt you up,
and she regarded me with a withering stare, before shaking her head like a horse
and prancing back into the depths of the blackthorn bushes,
too quickly for me to follow.
I saw the beast yesterday – another ten years after our last encounter.
I’d convinced myself she was just a dream, an imaginary friend of sorts,
A cross between a bee, and a dragon, a lion, and a horse.
But on an evening walk, I saw her,
Prowling across the fields like the majestic beast she is –
Causing blackbirds to alarm call in dismay,
And a flock of crows to spiral up into the sky, cawing loudly.
I ran towards her, stopping every now and then so as not to spook her.
She watched me run, familiar blue eyes glinting almost kindly.
What are you?
I gasped when I reached her, admiring her flowing mane,
Are you real?
In answer, she bent down for me to climb onto her back between her worn leathery wings,
And I held on to her soft fur, as we flew far away into the sunset.
Day 21 - glitch
sometimes I wonder if shooting stars
are like tears in the universe.
a temporary glitch in the fabric of the cosmos.
Day 22 - In the distance, a small shape
the dream dances like a tiny whisper,
wavering, silver, in the sliver of moonlight
which flows through the window like a silk scarf
or a gentle evening breeze.
Just above lips – unspoken words,
a whisper of possibility,
Hanging just out of reach,
like a lullaby chime blowing gently in the breeze.
Day 23 - Clock
Every morning the blackbird wakes up,
Tips his head back,
And lets the melody pour out of his golden bill
As water flows over rocks.
A trickle turning into a rushing torrent of quavers and minims –
Humming on the notes-which-aren’t-quite-notes
And whistling up and down the octaves
As loudly as the morning alarm, beeping, through your sleep,
Because he must tell the world that he is
Day 24 - Crossroads
Between the garden and the house:
The outside world, a blend of real and make-believe,
Where she rules her kingdom
Of ants, slugs, and butterflies.
She dances barefoot amongst pansies and buttercups,
Humming a song only she knows –
Too young to know of life’s troubles,
But with knowledge beyond her years.
Day 25 - Pareidolia
or the tale of the Moon Hare
If you stare at the charcoal craters of the moon,
And if you look up at just the right moment,
You might be lucky enough to see the moon hare.
He sleeps in his favourite crater,
Covered in a quilt knitted for him by his grandma,
And wearing bright blue bed socks.
His long ears curl around the crater almost twice over,
And his legs always poke out the end of the quilt –
But up there, on the moon, he is happy.
My hare in the moon.
Day 26 - Nothing more beautiful
His fingers find the keys like an artist finds their brush,
And the music swells around him like a ripe peach,
Filling the air with a sweetness
that smells of the sea and cherry blossom.
The noise conjures images of goldfinch and greenfinch
As the notes take form in the air –
become their own.
There is something quite astonishing about the
Worlds he can create using just the sounds he sings and plays:
From beaches to ballrooms
Woodlands to mountain tops.
The scent of warm autumn and fresh grass gives the piano
A new lease of life.
There is nothing more beautiful.
Day 27 - Ink
The night draws in like curtains,
Swishing over after the closing act of a performance,
And preparing the world for a new day.
Day 28 - Extreme dissonance
When birds sing, sometimes they are arguing.
It seems ironic that such outraged disagreement
Sounds so beautiful and perfectly harmonised to us.
Day 29 - Goodbye
When the swifts screech in September,
It is with some sadness,
For they are calling
Goodbye / farewell / we will see you next year
Their return to Africa is bittersweet,
Signalling the return of Winter –
Cold days and warm blankets
Hugging you tight like scarves.
But it also is a promise –
Not so much as a goodbye,
As an assurance that
we will come back next year.
Day 30 - Even now, after everything?
Running through the park together,
Feet tangling in the grass stems
And kicking up dirt as we dance
To the trickle of the brook,
The song of the evening thrush.
When we collapse in fits of giggles
Weaving chains out of daisies for each other,
I ask you –
And you answer –
Our hands woven together just like the daises around our necks.