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  • Thank you for those corrections, Amy, now edited to get rid of them. F

  • Why write verse (or, as some call it, poetry)?It’s simpler than you think.When I was very young,then not so very youngthen less very young than thatI talked a lot and would not, could not shut upand silence from m […]

    • Oh lovely and a great use of the prompt! This says it all. (I used to be called ‘chatterbox’ when I was a little kid 🙂 )

    • Francis,
      Great description of the iterations we go through in life. Keep on writing.
      Best to you,
      Wanda Lovan

    • Hello Francis,
      Your poem tells a good story and the way we have to adapt as adults. Well done.

    • Loved the poetry! Is that what is meant by “tongue in cheek?” Such fun and insight. Reminded me of my younger son who was bribed to be quiet in the car for 5 minutes. He wasn’t able to earn it!

  • Thank you for that. Now corrected.
    The story was written in haste when the deadline crept up on me because I hadn’t been paying attention to the date. I thought it was not due till next week.
    Thank you once again.

  • The Party said we were forbidden from fraternising with the folk in the village, so that’s exactly what we did. Tell a lad not to do something and it’s the best encouragement he can get to do it. Every cadre had […]

    • Hi.
      I saw about 3 errors a Quick reread and edit should fix, for instance Kiki did not go with on the excursion, but after he was caught there were only 2 left. For the story itself I enjoyed the method of setting an expectation and then the story plays out. The ending was quite unexpected and carried with it shock and horror which emphasized your point very well.

      • Thank you for that. Now corrected.
        The story was written in haste when the deadline crept up on me because I hadn’t been paying attention to the date. I thought it was not due till next week.
        Thank you once again.

    • I like this line: “Tell a lad not to do something and it’s the best encouragement he can get to do it.”
      “On a night when three of use decided on a visit” use I’m guessing should be “us”?
      Paragraph 6: “who sweated to much” –> too
      Yikes, what a morbid end. It makes me wonder what is happening in this story – who is the party? What happened to his love? etc.

  • Thank you, Dianne, typo has now been corrected.

  • It was an easy conversation that we had,we were polite and she was unsurprised.She’d seen it coming, she said,and most certainly did not blame me,the company or even herself.It was the market. Up and down as a […]

    • Really lovely piece with a great payoff. I loved the first person voice and the contrast between when the main character was the actor – and was happy that the other person had found a new place – and when she was acted on and was aggrieved.

      I noticed a small typo – ‘I later head’. Just FYI.

    • Thank you, Dianne, typo has now been corrected.

    • Hello Francis,
      It took me a couple of read-throughs to get the twist. Well done with this thoughtful poem.

    • I’ve been wondering when I’d find my poem of the month and – here it is!
      I’m not sure whether wry or poignant describes it best: it’s certainly clever. Particularly deft is the way you write with calm and control, paralleling the character’s behaviour and then giving us an ending that we didn’t see coming either.
      May I share it on a FB poetry page please?

      • Of course you can share it Karin, I’m flattered. And thank you for your comments.

      • PS Can you send me the link to the Facebook page when you have posted the poem? And I should clear up a possible confusion – I have two identities here, pfgpowell and Francis Gerd (which are my middle two forenames), so that I can write two stories and two poems a month. Sometimes I forget who I am signed in by and leave comments which seem to come from someone else entirely.

  • I like the rhyme scheme and musicality.

  • Hi Jodie,

    thank you for your interest and your comment. As for the details, I should admit I try to be as non-specific as possible. I hope it doesn’t show, but I try to make the reader do the ‘work’, use their imagination, fill in the ‘details’ read the story ‘they want to read’. In your case it seems to have worked (though the note is from…[Read more]

  • Publisher’s note:We think it fair to inform readers that we have been obliged, with the greatest reluctance and the deepest sadness, and solely on the advice of our in-house Stumpf lawyers as well as that of an i […]

    • Haha Very clever, succinct and, sadly, topical. I raced through this – couldn’t stop reading once I’d started. Super piece of writing and fabulous take on the prompt.

    • Clever use of the prompt! I read it because a family member is a Stumpf!

    • For a lawyer – the disclaimer was of vital interest to me!!!! I liked it. Very clever!

  • Maybe it would work as a prose poem, but let me be honest, I have no idea what a prose poem is or even what ‘poetry’ might be. I prefer to call what I do ‘verse’ and leave it at that. Best not to get in too deep or we might miss the football while the discussion goes on rather longer than we want it do.

  • We all lie, of course, of course we do,but does he have to make it so very obvious?I’m not silly, I’m not young and hopelessly in love,and all I ask is just a little respect, just a little,a little love which sur […]

    • Nina replied 3 months ago

      Oh what the hell indeed. What a sad poem. And done with exquisite simplicity that strikes profound.

    • Hello Francis,
      I like the way the poem tells a narrative. The repetition of ‘selfish’ is effective. I wonder whether it would work as a prose poem? Thanks for sharing.

      • Maybe it would work as a prose poem, but let me be honest, I have no idea what a prose poem is or even what ‘poetry’ might be. I prefer to call what I do ‘verse’ and leave it at that. Best not to get in too deep or we might miss the football while the discussion goes on rather longer than we want it do.

    • Francis,
      Powerful writing, I hope it helps you move past the hurt. Thanks for sharing.
      Best to you,
      Wanda Lovan

  • To be bloody honest, it’s a complete hassle keeping up with all the colours these days. OK, it’s not too much of an issue for someone like me who still — he hopes — has most of his faculties. But my parents […]

    • I found your MC’s irreverent rant about hypocrisy, double standards and political correctness very entertaining. His (I assume it’s a man!) voice and character come through very clearly and the conversational style makes it flow well with pace. I liked the odd interjection of Gaz’s views; that and the occasional rhetorical question signalled the MC’s own uncertainty in this minefield. There are a few typos but nothing sense-altering. One thing, though, I didn’t see a warning and I’d suggest you add one in case some people might be offended at the free use of so-called “taboo” words. A very different read. Thanks.

    • Gold replied 3 months ago

      I also thoroughly enjoyed your piece and wondered if there would be any comments feeling offended by the use of some of the words. I hoped not, as it was the point of the piece and very entertaining, so well done. It was also refreshing to hear, what i know to be true that the use of ‘bad’ words changes in so many contexts that it is a confusing labyrinth we are forced to navigate. Someone objected to my portrayal of a gay man being effeminate in a story I wrote (when I actually did the opposite) and I became alarmed by the possibility of too many sensitive souls on this site. I hope others appreciate the humour in your story and see past the words appropriately used make a point.

  • It is sadly all true except the bowl was a vase. But then ‘bowl’ was the prompt. Also the vase did survive, chipped and repaired, but was never the same for my mother. Thank you for your comment and for reading. F

  • Bowl, man, bowl, just bloody bowl,it’s now up to you,and this ain’t sodding ladies day at Cheltenhamwhere expensive totty sip fine winesand make goo-goo eyes at earls and dukes,and City wideboys, just bloody bow […]

    • What a wonderful poem. As a cricket lover myself, I can understand the frustration you feel especially when it comes down to that last ball. This made me laugh and nervous at the same time. Great poem.

    • Brilliant. 😀 I laughed a lot.

      I so want to hear you read this out loud. Are there any open mic nights near you? I think this needs performing.

      And it’s such a good idea on the prompt and so well written. Well done.

    • Patrick you sound like youre in my lounge when I’m watching the game!
      Nothing poetic about it, pure slice of life!
      Had to laugh….pillock always gets me 🤣

    • Hello Francis,
      WG Grace would be turning in his grave… But it’s worth it for the amusement given by your poem. Thank you for sharing your rant.

  • ‘Leonard wasn’t your father, Tom.’‘What!’‘Your father wasn’t your father. If you see what I mean.’‘No, I don’t, what do you mean?’‘Sit down, Tom.’‘I want to know!’‘Yes, and I’m going to tell you. But sit down a […]

    • I enjoyed the story. Charming character with a easy and flowing narration.

    • Hi Francis
      You sincerely manage to render the heart with this story. I liked the complex relationship you portray here, especially as the end sheds light on the father figure and give his character a whole other dimension. You may want to give this another read-through, just because of a few extra or missing words here and there, which we’re all guilty of most of the time, haha. Well done, and thank you for sharing.

    • Hi,
      In your story I found a few narratives which were closer to reality than what you usually find in a written story. So I am going to say well done for portraying the issue and storyline the way you have.
      At the end of the story there were a few lines that did not flow as much as the rest of the story, which a reread should easily fix. Thank you for the story.

  • Thank you, Clare, I’m glad you like it.

    As for reading it out, I’ve always thought actors are far, far, far better at reading verse than the author her or himself. When I’ve heard (usually on the radio, but sometimes live) the authors doing so, it all too often comes across as flat, ponderous and HORRIBLY reverential.

    I abhor the ‘…[Read more]

  • It’s Third of May by Goya. He did another, Second of May when an uprising in Madrid is put down by Napoleon’s French troops. To see the stigmata you’ll have to call up the piccy on Google and zoom in. Then you can see them.

  • Hi June,
    thanks for the comment. I try to make a line flow and the very, certainly redundant in some ways, helps (I hope) in that way. I do that quite a lot, though I take care to make such ‘makeweight’ words neutral, i.e. that they don’t get in the way of other things ‘said’ in the verse. Thanks.

  • On my wall hangs a picture of a child,
    taken when she was still very young,
    and not yet one year old.
    It is nothing but a snapshot,
    though one I took with care.
    It captures her, then still very young,
    in spirit: […]

    • Hi Francis. This is a beautiful portrayal of your relationship with the child in the photo. I love the repetition of ‘direct’ in these lines: ‘her gaze direct, / direct, direct, as direct / as only a child can be direct,’ I think you can do without the ‘very’ in this line: ‘taken when she was still very young, / and not yet one year old.’ Maybe just say ‘taken when she was not yet one year old’ (leaving out the ‘still very young’). Well done and thank you for sharing.

    • Hi June,
      thanks for the comment. I try to make a line flow and the very, certainly redundant in some ways, helps (I hope) in that way. I do that quite a lot, though I take care to make such ‘makeweight’ words neutral, i.e. that they don’t get in the way of other things ‘said’ in the verse. Thanks.

    • Hello Francis,
      Your love for the child shines through your poem. And I’m sure every parent / close relative has the little feeling of rejection when the child’s interest is diverted. Your poem expresses so much of what is natural to experience. Well done.

    • This is one poem I would love to hear read aloud by yourself, the poet. So often our poems sound so different when listened to, rather than read in silence. As the mother of a young man who recently left our country to live in another, I fully understand your desire to almost keep time still, to wish for a safe passage through growing up, to allow our children to grow into their own beings rather than what society or their parents expect….Thanks Francis.

      • Thank you, Clare, I’m glad you like it.

        As for reading it out, I’ve always thought actors are far, far, far better at reading verse than the author her or himself. When I’ve heard (usually on the radio, but sometimes live) the authors doing so, it all too often comes across as flat, ponderous and HORRIBLY reverential.

        I abhor the ‘reverence’ too many believe we ‘owe’ ‘the arts’, though I have to admit that I have rather unorthodox (and, I suppose, unfashionable) views on ‘the arts’, whichever it is.

        I believe ‘art’ is not some very vague metaphysical quality a work has (typified in the claims ‘this IS art’ and ‘but this is NOT art’) and a quality only some — the ‘experts’ — are able to identify for us (and that thus we can be ‘wrong’ to admire this piece or condemn that piece), rather as in days gone by our popes, priests, imams and ayatollahs etc were deemed necessary — usually by themselves and their peers — to interpret the ‘word of God’.

        On the contrary, art is everywhere, from the Louvre and the Tate to the daubings of a keen amateur artist in an art class in Mid-Kansas, Galashiels or Paderborn, from a TV ad to a play by Shakespeare, from Beethoven’s Ninth to a throwaway pop song.

        Thus the pronouncement that ‘this is art’ and thus ‘something special’ is plain nonsense, as are the words ‘good’, ‘bad’, better’ and worse’ in the context of ‘art’.

        Far more useful and far more honest are statements that ‘I find this poem/novel/painting/piece of music/bridge/sculpture’ more interesting, more intrigung and more engaging than that one.

        If something somehow ‘grabs’ us — even though we might not now or ever quite understand why — it is beginning to succeed. If it somehow sparks our imagination, gets us thinking etc, so much the better. And often a guide of some kind CAN be useful but as a ‘guide’, say pointing out this or that feature etc.

        I have to admit, though, that mine seems very much to be the minority view, and many if not most folk are more comfortable kow-towing to the views of ‘the experts’, more or less being informed what they should ‘feel’ (and even being slightly intimidated). C’est la vie.

        • I agree to a large extent and feel there is a lot of pretence, snobbery and stuffiness attached to art, culture etc. But that being said, especially in terms of poetry or perhaps music as well, when we hear the creator of the piece present it, we get a better sense of emphasis, emotion, punctuation and so on – not always evident on the page. An interesting debate though….

    • Hi Francis
      This is such a beautiful and heartfelt poem, it brought tears to my eyes and I don’t even have kids.
      I like how you’ve used the theme of directness and played it off against cuteness.
      The way you’ve showed how directness and cuteness were present together at the start and then gradually converged until they “never will get on” is really stunning and also quite tragic.
      I stumbled just a little over line 12 (and not encourage…) I understand it now, but I thought it might be clearer with a comma.
      Well done Francis.

  • I’ve always preferred verse with a certain musicality and you have it in spades. I also like the economy with which you make your point.

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Francis

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@francis-gerd

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