Moth – a sonnet


Defined by its fatal desire for more-

Antennae ragged, blackened with the bright

And white-hot kernel at the candle’s core,

This soft-winged, heat-drunk warrior of light,

Charmed and enflamed by phototaxic lust

Re-gathers all its primitive life force

To smash its quivering body to grey dust

In its addiction-led, predestined course.

And just like them, though my own wing tips burn,

With junkie-esque predictability-

To your relentless, boiling sun I turn,

Flying towards destruction willingly.

Ash in my hair, my mouth, my bleeding eyes,

Dying to live within your fire the prize.


Polly Oliver -2018


Photo by Egor Kamelev from Pexels




Bit of a  ten minute-er , based on current mood.

Polly x


There’s nothing like old friends, or kids

to kick you hard, under the ribs –

evidencing, as they do

how much things change, and how much you

and smiling past selves have been lost

as ghosts; evaporated like tears.

Pretending to be happy turns you grey.

The mask will have to crack one day.

The desperate mirth of Comedy’s smile

tilting to Tragedy’s broken wail.


Each cardinal point

Tells of Wasteland.

Primordial sand –

shifting under a frozen wind,

hissing with voices of spirits

shipwrecked on this skeleton coast,

rimmed by a glittering line of sea.


Here castaway fragments and relics

are spat after decades adrift

from the blue-throated Ocean

and maw of Estuary.

Husks of things rustle

with the dry scuttle of grains

at the foot of crumbling dunes –

Earth’s ebbing with each tide to feed

the ever-hungry sea.


Living footfalls trace this place of endings

with crunch of empty shell and crisp-brittle

crack of lost urchins:

Calcium Carbonate – chalk to dust

in a driftwood boneyard

where desolate roots reach, beseech

the pitiless sky, like the arms of a crazy woman;

a dinosaur rib-cage in each whitened heap.


But with each turn of a gypsy moon’s

round face, all is washed and re-framed.

Shell innards polished to spirals of pinkish pearl,

Pastel-shaded plastic tears pepper the edge of the world.

You see the broken beauties, pull them free

Fill your pockets and gaze on the skittish sea

That calls your salted blood.


Though you try to stay anchored

to land-stranded love

You’re already away;

barnacle-bottomed, horizon-bound.

New shores to be found;

The fall and rise of the Shearwater’s realm,

The call of the storm,

The lure of the helm.


There was only the sky-

clean as blades of sunlight,

scrubbed by paths of clouds

flung by the gale in its shivering joy.


There was only the answering sea-

purging snowy breakers to bound

towards an infinite ribbon of sand,

shaded to intricacies beyond depiction

for their exclusive appreciation

from that brink of earth;

sandstone ridge washed by time

and pooled by rain.

Heather-crunch of their running feet

stopped at the top,

stilled by the call of sky for sea.


It was only a moment

in that halfway place

between rock, air and water,

where all was sound, yet all was peace.

And wonder-

for the earth, and the other.


Polly Oliver 2018

Channel swim

I can smell the invigorating, iodine-laced whiff of brine in this maritime masterpiece from Lance Sheridan!
A layered poem that immerses the reader in the submerged worlds of the ocean and the mind.

Lance Sheridan

Where breakwaters shove the stones
And suck the channel water,
Clouds unfist the sun, black coating the shore.

The chalk-colored cliffs statuesque
Over a lighthouse curtaining the stubborn dark,
And I in a swim past the huts of fish.

In a blue unchanging world, I stroke through
The narrow crack, through the odors of an
Old sea; in a backward look, the shore is drinking the waves.

The map of my swim lies beneath, along the
Silver streak of pilchards, they cast their
Scales ousted from fishing nets; cleave forward in a fury.

Waves wallop me in a freestyle, assaulting my body,
Riveting cold, yet I take the challenge;
Sprawling, hunched in a wincing mask of agony.

Far from the Dover beach, I see a French window ajar,
Boats retching in a basin; I marvel at the onslaught.
In a harbor, I’m greeted by ring-billed gulls and casual valor.


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Jealous sun

I wrote the following micropoem this morning in response to a Tweet by The Micropoetry Society @pssms. Their writing prompt was #PERFECT.

jealous sun

Dawn’s fingers

Trace your sleep-still face.

The Sun wants you too.