Escapril 2022

'Escapril' is 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.

2022 is my second year of doing Escapril, and it was slightly more difficult to fit in alongside my Master's, and my 75 Wildlife Art Postcards around the world challenge! 

You can read all thirty poems below.


Day 1 - When I opened my eyes

 

First, I was cells.

A bundle of genetic material,

Nerve endings and potential.

 

Then I was a zygote.

Small and perfectly formed spheres,

Dividing and differentiating - deciding.

 

Next, I was an embryo.

Small fingers waving, toes clenching,

My heart humming its own tune.

 

For the next few months, I grew.

The size of a grape, a plum, a peach, a pear.

The sounds of my mother hugging me close.

 

And suddenly,

I was born.

 

Tears, and laughter - elated happiness,

And her face - so beautiful -

The first thing I saw.


Day 2 - A separation

 

I don’t know when it happened, or why,

But at some point, the screws broke loose

On the rickety-rackety train we’d built tracks around.

 

It spun out of control, hurtling full speed into a pond,

Disturbing playmobil mallards and cows,

Plastic legs spinning into the air.

 

But then I saw your face -

Three years old and utterly delighted,

A supreme ruler of chaos.


Day 3 - Limbs

 

The crane fly is an often overlooked creature,

Discarded as a “spider with wings” on first glance,

They are branded as another terrifying beastie

With long antennae and legs up to here.

 

Yet, look a little closer,

And tell me that they don’t look like peculiar teddy-bears.

Dog-like snouts and big bug eyes,

Perhaps we should give them another chance at a first impression.


Day 4 - Strange behaviour

 

She wants to float away.

Her eyes on him, she wants to grab his hand and scamper along walls and rooftops,

Bending gravity to her will, like iron to a blacksmith,

Hair flying behind her - free as a bird -

If she was weightless, perhaps she’d take him into the cosmos with her,

High into the sky,

Where they can twinkle for all eternity as stars.


Day 5 - Crush

 

Wild strawberries grew through the paving slats against the wall of my house,

Red pinpricks bobbing against sandy bricks - a sort of edible sunflower.

 

I never used to like strawberries, back then,

Their skin too seedy, their flesh not sweet enough.

 

But then you came along; a ray of sunlight to my forlorn blackbird singing,

Strawberries piled high on every dish, every dessert.

 

I let you press one against my lips -

I’ve liked strawberries ever since.


Day 6 - Time (non-linear)

 

She twirls a strand of grass around her wrist,

Pulls tight - fastens quick.

 

Across the valley, a boy jumps back from a train platform

Just before a freight train rattles along.

 

His steps echo and reverberate

Down tunnels, steps, alleys.

 

A girl places down her headphones,

Suddenly aware the dog needs feeding.

 

Clattering bowls and sloshing water -

The dog disturbs pigeons on its way through the flap.

 

She opens the door to find her lover,

And ties his own grass strand around his wrist.


Day 7 - Bodyswap

 

I want to see the world how you do,

Just for a day; just for one moment.

What is it like to touch leaves with your hands,

Listen to bird song through your ears.

Does red look red to you? Is my teal, your blue?

Does your brain fizz or curse; is it a rolling white wave of ideas - a bustling fairground of excitement?

 

And when we kiss, does my mouth feel the same against your lips, now our positions are reversed?

Do you still like this, and this, and this?

Are there sparks and whistles when your skin brushes…

Here. And here… and here?

Has love sunk her sharp white teeth into your heart,

The same way she’s pulled fine strings through mine?


Day 8 - ___ as medicine

 

The end of winter comes

Not with the crack of frost,

The punch of a snowdrop,

But a lightening strike of sound.

 

Top soil brushed off by the relentless

Pounding of torrential rain,

Three months in the making,

Drawing up earthworms like a snake charmer.

 

Robins ripping through the early morning silence,

With scales and riffs which build,

And build - driving the rain clouds

Into the distance.


Day 9 - We're not alone

Or, the musings of a swift

 

We fly like jets - sharp and fast,

A well practised migration route

Straight from Africa into the depths of Europe

And the urban jungle sprawl.

 

Our wings, pointed, smoothed, and honed;

We are poised for aerodynamic supremacy,

And yet, we are not alone.

Tiny hitchhikers cling to our feathers,

 

Cradling filoplumes the way others cradle alcohol.

Tens of tiny backpacks lodged against us,

Seeing the world together -

It’s nice to have company.


Day 10 - Magnification

 

When I was fourteen, I got my first microscope.

There were no light bulbs, no high-tech knobs,

The mirror was somewhat temperamental,

The viewfinder didn’t always work.

And yet, the small things I lay on the plates:

Feathers, petals, onion skins, tiny invertebrates,

Filled up my eyes in full colour -

A beautiful sight for my brush to behold.


Day 11 - An odd number of...

 

She counted her eggs, once - then twice.

Memorising their speckles, colour, shape, tone -

A quick trip to find grubs and caterpillars,

Only gone for five minutes - but when she returned

One more egg in her nest -

But identical speckles, colour, shape, tone.


Day 12 - I think we're lost

 

Are we all just stars and planets,

Rotating around our own suns

And wrapped up in our own solar systems?

 

Do we really talk to each other these days,

Or is it all just silence filled with the void

Of words in our heads?

 

Does the wren still crack the morning sun with his song,

The same way the yolks splatter in the frying pan?

Or is it the piercing beep - beep - beep - beep - beep - beep - beep - beep -


Day 13 - Palmful

For Jacob

 

A pinch full of crumbs and seeds,

Falling into the groves and lines which mark his hand - outstretched,

Wide-eyed; optimistic and hopeful.

 

The Robin cocks his head curiously,

Eyes twinkling mischievously,

He knows how much joy they get from his presence,

“Let them wait.”

 

A teasing hop, a tantalising flutter,

The Robin plays cat-and-mouse

With the boy’s extended hand,

But it’s only satisfying for so long -

 

The seed, so tempting, takes hold.

The Robin glances gently down onto his palm,

Nails scratching delicately as it nabs a beak full

And ascends back into the air like an origami butterfly.

 

But, a quick glance back as he flies away,

The boy’s face - worth the reaction -

Eyes dancing with the most gorgeous smile;

The Robin calls to the heavens with his rapturous tune.


Day 14 - Taxidermy

 

Please do touch!

All the signs proclaim proudly.

Children giggle at the touch of soft fox fur,

And squeal as they run hands gently

Along the carapace of rhinoceros beetle.

The knowing eyes of the eagle owl glisten intently,

Watching on - the museum’s guardian.


Day 15 - Something very gentle

For Imogen

 

She curls up alongside the dog every night.

It doesn’t matter how late it is, the time of year, or the colour of the season,

Every evening, the dog trots upstairs and takes up its place at the foot of the bed.

And every night, after her parents are sleeping,

She scoops the dog into her arms and tucks her in beside her,

Giving the dog her favourite pillow to rest on.


Day 16 - Fire

 

A bin lid clatters to the ground,

The clatter-clatter-crash resonating and echoing (echoing)

Down every alley (every street).

But out of the smoky depths,

A slender rust snout, ash-dusted ears.

The creature born of urban fire

Tucks its body into the wall

And harvests the bin of its riches.


Day 17 - Garden

 

Let her tend to her garden.

Give her a trowel and spade,

Let her write the names of seeds on wooden posts

And decorate the borders with small pebbles and cowrie shells.

 

Let her play in her garden.

Tie daisy chains and make dandelion syrup,

Let her place dinosaurs and unicorns amongst the clover

And her teddy bear by the tulips.

 

Let her grow with her garden.

Watch her plant the seeds and cut the flowers,

Let her grow up in her garden -

Hold her tight, set her free.


Day 18 - Act of creation

 

Place your hands onto the soil, and we can grow a tree.

Dig your fingers into the damp ground,

Let the worms brush against your outstretched palms,

And feel the Earth push back -

The wet nose of a mole,

The scuttle of a sexton beetle,

And suddenly the softness of a stem,

One leaf

Then two,

And suddenly it bursts out of the soil -

Our oak tree.


Day 19 - Vanity

For Elizabeth

 

I like to think that all birds are vain,

Except for pigeons.

They don’t care how they look or who likes them,

They know they’re smart and fast -

Plus, they’re the scientist’s favourite.


Day 20 - Trying to be good

 

And all her life she’s tried to be good;

Laces tied in neat bows,

Hair in a smooth, tight pony tail,

Every “I” with a dot, every “T” perfectly crossed.

Homework handed in on-time, A+.

Dog fed; kettle boiled; kitchen cleaned; bed made.

And yet -

 

It’s the one mistake everyone remembers that defines her.

 

Why try to be good, in a world full of pessimists.


Day 21 - Dew

 

The day breaks as the night breathes in

And sucks away the shadows for another morning.

Her cold hands capture spider webs,

String them with sparking pearls that glisten, glimmer.

Like stars of the sunrise.


Day 22 - Intimacy

 


Day 23 - Blink and you'll miss it

 

the moment you stop your endless running,

the chaotic chattering -

That’s the moment I’ll treasure.


Day 24 - Crystal

 

Winter opens eyes;

Icy breath on curling leaves

The first frost forms - crisp.


Day 25 - Computer

 

Power on,

Your screen time was 5-hours-55 per day this week, would you like to cap it?

Do you want unlimited texts, broadband and mobile data?

This is Netflix - are you still watching? It’s been 4 hours.

You’ve been on this word document for 12 hours, is it time to power down yet?

Buy this! New new new! Extra extra extra!

Need Ad-blocker? Click here!

Are you sure you need to buy another plastic plant?

Here are all the plastic plants you need to make your home, more homely.

Watch this video on turning your house into a home,

Watch this video about switching your computer off.

Click.

Click.

Click.


Day 26 - Night out

 

Dreams fly like soft curtains, shimmering lights,

Pink haze above a sleeping city,

Spires may twist high, but we can spin faster.

Faster and faster - a whirlwind, a hurricane.

Two waves racing up the shore,

Crashing into one another for support.


Day 27 - The Astronaut

 

There are so many places we are yet to see.

A midnight pool; a lightly-salted sky;

Saturn - a Pringle orb surrounded by sauce.

The Moon - a grilled Camembert, coated in pepper.

 

The astronaut glides through space, somewhat bored.

Having seen it all, they think - there must be more to life than this.

 

A skylark flutters next to them, a twinkling tune

Sucked, soundless, into the vacuum of space.


Day 28 - Only an illusion

 

You want to know what I think?

 

I think that the reason the Earth spins on its axis

is because a small hamster is running frantically on a wheel

kept inside the iron core of the Earth.

 

I think there’s an entire colony of Earth hamsters -

they’re entirely responsible for making the world spin round,

and they have the capacity to determine the path of all our lives.

 

You see, we think we have freedom on this Earth,

but actually, these Earth hamsters,

they are our almighty under lords. Freedom is an illusion.


Day 29 - Inversion

 

Swap your sleepy head for a bike through morning haze,

And drop your morning commute (9-til-5) for an ocean swim.

Let your body join forces you with the rhythms of life,

The ebb-and-flow of coming and going; the endless tide of here and there.

 

And in your boat made of hazelnut shells and cotton strings,

Drift through palm forests and mangroves instead of skyscrapers,

Watch stars and solar systems arcing through the sky

Instead of gazing, bleary-eyed, into the toneless headlights of approaching cars.


Day 30 - It's getting dark

 

the end closes in - a moth to a flame -

a sense of inevitability.

did it have to come to this?

a crashing finale - all the spoons bent back in the cutlery drawer -

the last paper kite lit to ash in the sky.

it rains tissue tears onto a city ripped of freedom.