#NaPoWriMo Day 13

Maybe I’m missing something. Maybe I just have found-poetry-fatigue after doing the book spine poem the other day. Today’s prompt was an index poem – and I just don’t get it. Feel free to enlighten me.

What I really enjoyed from NaPoWriMo today was the poet in translation, Turkey’s Sureyya Aantmen. I especially enjoyed her poem “Birth” which you can read through the link above.

Without any further procrastination, here is my attempt at an index poem, from the AirBNB bookshelf; acrostic to give it an extra kick. At least Seven Days in Cape Town offer up some interesting place names – Anyone from SA here want to give some extra insight?

Nama hut 144
Abalone 150,153
Paarl 125 (map) Bird Sanctuary 123, 127
Okiep 140 (map), 145
Waenhuiskrans see Arniston
Railway station 16, 19 (map)
Ikhwezi Centre 123, 127
Maaierskloof Falls 144
Observatory 8 (map)

Posted by jhamby in Poetry, 0 comments

#NaPoWriMo Day 12

but for a rhythmic rumble

The pull of the tide
each wave hauling a little closer
it’s luggage of sand and weed
each retreat a
rebuilding strength
heaving heave ho, to
wearing down the sand to even finer grains

We are all driven by an inexorable imperative

maroubra-329545_1280Today’s challenge was to:

Write a poem in which you closely describe an object or place, and then end with a much more abstract line that doesn’t seemingly have anything to do with that object or place, but which, of course, really does …

The last line is a nod to the author H. G. Wells:

Adapt or perish, now as ever, is nature’s inexorable imperative.


Posted by jhamby in Poetry, 0 comments

Finding my tribe(s)

img_1503If you and I were having coffee …

I’d tell you that I’m finding my tribes. Plural – because why limit myself to just one when there are so many amazing people in this world?

With the Australian Writers Centre podcast ‘So You Want To Be A Writer’ by Allison Tait and Valerie Khoo – and a whole community of authors who blog and tweet that I never even knew (Kate Forsyth, Ursula K. Le Guin, Tamora Pierce, Juliet Marillier, Cecilia Dart-Thornton, etc.)

With the yogis on youtube (Yoga With Adriene) and instagram (@mynameisjessamyn, @letsstartyoga, @the_southern_yogi, etc.)

I’m finding people I admire. People who inspire me. I’m learning so much and loving every minute of it.

So now is the part where I stop and ask you – what tribe(s) do you belong to and where do you find them? Instagram? Twitter? Blogs? Podcasts? Snapchat? Facebook? IRL?

More than that – do we belong to the same tribes? Happy for any recommendations from anywhere in the world – the internet is international after all and I’m never entirely in the one place 🙂


Posted by jhamby in Blogging, 0 comments

#NaPoWriMo day 10

The Russian Concubine 
Joined the rebels

“Anyone can do it” 

she cried.
She was

The Girl who played with fire
The Girl with the dragon tattoo
The Girl who kicked the hornet’s nest:

SuperTex Roman.

All the Angels and Demons
could not beat her
in a game of thrones.

The woman in black was
back from Africa

These books come graciously from the host of the AirBNB I’m staying in in London. All lined up in that order, except for the last two, which I pilfered from a lower shelf and added at my pleasure 🙂 

How fortuitous!

Really enjoyed trying this challenge from a slightly different perspective. The travelling kind 😉



Posted by jhamby in Poetry, 0 comments

#NaPoWriMo Day 9

“The Girl Who Loved Infinity”

Pure mathematics is an art.
It is an art of numbers and symbols

formulas and concepts
to the physics of life
the iterative shape of a leaf
the path it floats from tree to ground
the science of a multitude of planets
orbiting the stars

integrals and series
because when first discovered
first uncovered
first dreamt up – they can’t always be

the theory precedes the application

sometimes by a hundred years.

Mathematicians are artists.
They see glimpses of the future
that so few living ever appreciate
and even less

I like to be appreciated
To be understood
I am afraid to tell the future – because
what if I get it wrong?

What if I get it wrong and that first I carry in my back pocket
comes to nothing

nothing but loneliness
because to not be appreciated,
to not be understood,
is lonely.


Last night I saw ‘The Man Who Knew Infinity’ and I was so moved. It was a truly beautiful film. Jeremy Irons and Dev Patel were brilliant! I highly recommend it.

I am perhaps a little biased though, because I have a degree in mathematics. It is a subject I have always loved dearly. As I’ve grown older, I’ve drifted further and further away from it, and it is a deep source of sadness for me. To have once loved something so dear and to each day be walking away from it.

To have today’s prompt, of writing a line you are afraid to write, follow last night’s viewing, inspired this poem. That ‘the unexamined life is not worth living’, whether one credits it to Socrates or Plato, I hold it to be true. Why do I not return to my beloved pure mathematics?

I loved infinity well before John Green’s ‘Some infinities are bigger than other infinities’ – though I respect him infinitely more as a writer for bringing such a beautiful concept to a broad young audience. I loved mathematics enough to write a thesis on it – to strive for and achieve a first class honours! I loved it so much I chose it over and again above writing, above music, above all my other passions.

But I have let it go, and though I look back, and consider, and wonder if I will ever return – I see the loneliness my peers have endured. One spends years on a PhD, and few that do achieve that accomplishment then follow it with a life of academia. Academics can spend their days working on a theory that maybe ten people in the world will ever truly understand in their lifetime. This is near inconceivable now that the population of the world has cracked 7 billion.

So to all the mathematicians out there, artists working in a language all their own that transcends nationality, bridges the past and the future, and unlocks so many mysteries of the universe – I salute you. You are far braver than I. Maybe one day, I’ll find my way back to you again.

Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.
~ Marie Curie


Posted by jhamby in Blogging, Poetry, 0 comments

#NaPoWriMo Day 7

A full week of poems down. Something is beginning. This feels good. This is fun. Looking forward to more. More writing begets more writing.

Today’s prompt was a tritina. Just when I was getting a little tired of trying new forms and thinking about going back to free-verse. I quite liked this form though. Hope you enjoy!


Scattered throughout time
are the memories of my family;
I see them in the mirror.

Their stories parallel, mirror,
repeat, and recur throughout time;
speaking in the voice of my family.

Wherever I go, I seek my family,
I seek them in the mirror,
I seek them in the history of time.

Time is the mirror that shows me my family.


Posted by jhamby in Poetry, 0 comments

#NaPoWriMo Day 6

Today’s prompt from napowrimo.net is a poem about food. It could be inspired by a particular food, or about a food related incident, or describing your relationship with food… plenty of scope to play here 🙂

The lexicon of food is rich with verbs for various cooking methods (simmering, boiling, chopping); descriptions of colour, smell, and taste; metaphors ripe for the taking (- I couldn’t resist 😛 -). But today I wanted my poem to be about something a little less pleasant and a little closer to home. Here goes via haiku:

Spindly camera
examines the intestines;
my irritation.isolated-1188036_1280



Posted by jhamby in Poetry, 0 comments

#NaPoWriMo day 5

A book on kindle,
I cannot
find. Steering the craft. 


Usually the prompt is there when I wake. Today it was not and it is a big day of work ahead followed by Jersey Boys tonight 🙂 very excited!

So I browsed through napowrimo.net links and I browsed through my twitter feed of poets and authors and Kate Forsyth came up with this gem of a conversation starter. To which I replied Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. I’ve tried many different creative books, but this is the one that’s got me really writing again and reading and learning about writing. There was also the Desire Map by Danielle La Porte, which I loved, but The Artist’s Way has been more insightful for me, I think I’ve taken much more time with it, dug deeper. 

I might come back to a review of these and other books I’ve been reading in another post. Suffice to say, though I’d heard of Ursula Le Guin’s book, Steering the craft, I had forgotten it – and now I can’t find it on Kindle!! 

There is a quiet glee that comes with that realisation. Now I have no excuse. I must have it. So I must find a print copy somewhere. Library might work, but I’m gypsy wandering in another country. Which means I get a few tourist hours browsing a second hand bookstore. Or even splashing out on a new copy 🙂 Excitement!!

Posted by jhamby in Poetry, 0 comments

#NaPoWriMo Day 4

The yellow grains stretch out beyond,
reaching the vast turbulent pond;
each radiates with heat.
Timid ginger steps I’m taking,
a smile through the blisters, faking;
because you lance my feet.

March through November are so kind,
they let my feet cool down, unwind,
out of the summer sweat.
February and December,
either side of you, remember
the sand is best when wet.


A Rime Couée attempt for the cruelest month prompt.




Posted by jhamby in Poetry, 0 comments