The Sky Curdles

For NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo 2016 – Day 30 (to prompt) – THE FINAL DAY! 🙂

The Prompt: “…today I’d like you to try your hand at a translation of your own. If you know a foreign language, you could take a crack at translating a poem by a poet writing in that language.”

My chosen language is Afrikaans and the poem ‘Die lug skif oop’ by George Louw. I have included the original and a literal translation below.

My Poetic interpretation:

The sky curdles into speckled clouds
the kiewet laid his egg large
I roll him round and round with my eyes
until he comes to rest in my brain.

Mum has just
sent me out with the chicken feed
and with a detour through the oats
I think the speckles onto paper.


The Original:

Die lig skif oop

Die lug skif oop in spikkelwolke
die kiewet het sy eier groot gelé;
ek rol hom met my oë om en om
totdat hy in my brein bly lé.

My mama het my netnou
met die kiepkos uitgestuur,
en met ‘n ompad deur die hawer
dink ek die spikkels op papier

George Louw


Literal Translation:

The air curdles open

The air curdles open in speckled clouds
the Kiewet has laid his egg large
I roll him with my eyes round and round
until he remains lying in my brain.

My mummy has just
sent me outside with the chicken feed
and with a detour through the oats
I think the speckles onto paper


So, there it is. The last day of NaPoWriMo and GloPoWriMo for 2016!

30 poems in 30 days – YAY!

Thanks to Maureen for all the prompts and to all participants for taking part and helping to build our poetry world! 🙂

An even bigger thanks to YOU for taking this ride with me. It’s been a great trip and your support along the way means the world!

See you again soon…


English Haiku – #15

NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo2016 – Day 29 (not to prompt but prompted by the prompt!)


Time took breezes down
Alleyways of past content
Smiling all the while


© Copyright 2016 Robin McShane


The Prompt: “Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem based on things you remember.”

Friends Moving On

For NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo 2016 – Day 28 (not to prompt)


You’re leaving?
How can that be?
It seems so short a time
Since we first met over coffee,
Discussed business,
Talked life,
How best to make the change,
What would cause least strife,
As you headed for your goal,
A life close to the land,
Eating from the soil,
With no computer in the hand.
Ah, how life can make such turns,
As your dream starts to unfold,
Leads you down a route,
Where you have to be so bold,
For how could we have guessed,
At the start of your new plan,
That the road to your fulfillment
Was paved in another land?
So, as we watch you go,
Hearts heavy with our loss,
We’re happy with your finding
This new path you came across.
We wish you all the best
As you take the adventure on,
Our love and thoughts go with you,
Be brave, be proud, be strong!


© Copyright 2016 Robin McShane

Tracking Hunters

For NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo 2016 – Day 27 – can you believe we’re almost there??? Today, I followed the prompt – and what a challenge. I wasn’t even sure, at first, that what I was writing was poetry! Then, as I continued writing, a pattern evolved so that, after a load of editing, I think this is poetry….?? 🙂

The prompt: “to write a poem with very long lines.”

Well, think I got that right at least! 🙂 …. Hope you enjoy!


I knelt to touch the tracks, two days old now, full of cracks,
And ridging edges like the wake of a passing ship on a smooth, smooth lake.
Above and to the left they’d tripped, a stem so newly bent that sap still oozed and dripped,
Life’s blood for a tracker, tracking a hunter, hunting an attacker.
This sign that I’d now found, confirmed my steps along the ground,
So, slipping bow from back and sliding arrows out of sack,
Knife resting wittingly in sheath, knees bent, I crept forward with stealth,
Slowly then speedily, smoothly and silently,
Years of training to kill.

Cresting a hill then dropping flat, before my eyes the group now sat.
No smoke, no sound, still-life held, with their surroundings they appeared to meld.
Notching arrow, loosing fast, one by one life did not last,
So, so soon the job was done, bodies strewn now one by one,
I stood and took the deepest breath, feeling void with so much death,
Knowing now my buddies protected, so they could carry on undetected,
I turned and headed back to camp, feeling air now cold and damp,
Slung my bow and stashed my arrows, listening to the songs of sparrows,
Years of training to kill.


© Copyright 2016 Robin McShane

Burning Days

For NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo 2016 – Day 26 (Not to prompt)


Dark days filled with warm collusion
Took my blood and boiled it
Stripped my skin and framed it
Left it out to dry
Displayed for all to see
And judge

I watched from afar
As children danced around a fire that was me
Undaunted by the tainted smell
By the touch
Of death
And the putrid satisfaction
Of those who wish to
Have more
See more
Die more

Chance took me afoot
Flying near the edge
Wings crisped by burning sunlight
Thrown out across the heavens to
Want more
Show more
Be more

Only one way left now


© Copyright 2016 Robin McShane

The Seas Pull

wild-ocean_1920 x 1440 - takopix

For NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo 2016 – Day 25 (to prompt – see below)


I must go down to the sea again,
It pulls my heart each day;
The swish of water around my feet,
The sand, the sun, the spray.

I used to watch the sailing ships,
Sketch the seashore line;
Sails spread wide on tall, straight masts,
Wakes spread out behind.

Then, close to shore, the reel of rods,
Men trying to catch their lunch;
With the surfers and the swimmers,
Always ready to take their plunge.

On warm bright days, the air so clean,
Deep breaths and strolls a pleasure;
On blustery days when the waves pound in,
Nature taking measure.

I must go down to the sea again,
To watch the dolphins play,
Yet doubt they’ll see me very soon,
I live too far away!

© Copyright 2016 Robin McShane


Prompt: “Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that begins with a line from another poem (not necessarily the first one), but then goes elsewhere with it……The idea is for the original to furnish a sort of backdrop for your work, but without influencing you so much that you feel stuck just rewriting the original!…..any poem will do to provide your starter line – just so long as it gives you the scope to explore. Happy writing!”


Okay, so my starter line is actually only half the first line from Sea Fever by John Masefield and not the full line – plus I have taken the more commonly anthologised version from ‘The Collected Poems of John Masefield (using the singular ‘sea’ rather than the original
‘seas’) but I hope you’ll come with me and enjoy this anyway! 🙂



For NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo 2016 – Day 24 (not to prompt)


People plead for food
In plaintive cries
That echo through the valleys.

Water flows from empty taps
That dry the land,
Leave bones
Reaching for the sun,
As they crumble to dust.

People stare through dead sockets,
Fighting for life,
Killing for control.

My brain empties.

I walk to nowhere,
My soul clings to itself
Without understanding
Or knowledge,
Confused beyond belief,
Believing beyond confusion
That there must be a rock
Melting fluidly with the flow,
Holding all within its feel,
Feeding soil and being,
Giving life where there is only void.

© Copyright 2016 Robin McShane


Sonnet #4

For NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo 2016 – Day 23 (to prompt)
A little late maybe but just in time (it’s now 23h30 here in South Africa)
The prompt is a challenge to write a sonnet (see below).


I came across you on that cold, cold night,
So graceful, bold, yet something so not right.
It seemed as if your heart was on your sleeve,
Yet reaching out, it moved, began to cleave.
Enigma fast and strong yet oh so bright,
You carry in your soul a certain light,
Attracted, like a moth unto a flame,
I walked in close as you called out my name,
Then fell into your trap, the spiders web,
And felt the power within me start to ebb.
I really was a sight then to behold,
I fumbled for myself and tried to hold,
And as I stepped so close within your grasp
The sight I thought your heart was but a clasp.


© Copyright Robin McShane


The Prompt: “Today, I challenge you to write a sonnet. Traditionally, sonnets are 14-line poems, with ten syllables per line, written in iambs (i.e., with a meter in which an unstressed syllable is followed by one stressed syllable, and so on). There are several traditional rhyme schemes, including the Petrarchan, Spenserian, and Shakespearean sonnets. But beyond the strictures of form, sonnets usually pose a question of a sort, explore the ideas raised by the question, and then come to a conclusion. In a way, they are essays written in verse! This means you can write a “sonnet” that doesn’t have meet all of the traditional formal elements, but still functions as a mini-essay of a sort. The main point is to keep your poem tight, not rangy, and to use the shorter confines of the form to fuel the poem’s energy. As Wordsworth put it, in a very formal sonnet indeed, “Nuns fret not at their convent’s narrow room.” Happy writing!”

English Haiku – #14

For NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo 2016 – Day 22 (to prompt – see below)


planted in raw sun
through ravages of turns
now resplendent power


© Copyright 2016 Robin McShane


The Prompt: “to write a poem in honor of Earth Day. This could be about your own backyard, a national park, or anything from a maple tree to a humpback whale. Happy writing!”

The Mirror And The Queen

For NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo 2016 – Day 21 (to prompt – see below)


The Mirror yawned,
Too long awake
In answering
The Queen’s mistake.

Every morning,
Throughout the day,
“Who is the fairest?”
She would say.

He’d grown tired,
For he had to scry,
Being unable
To tell a lie.

He breathed a sigh,
And, as if on cue,
He felt the Queen
Come into view.

Then heard again
The same demand,
“Who is the fairest
In the land?”

He scried around
To just make sure,
Then spied another
Much more pure.

Excited now,
With this new find,
Expecting to be
Released in kind.

Pronounced his answer,
Deep and strong,
Projecting words,
As if in song.

“My Queen, you were
The fairest, ’tis true,
But now Snow White is
More beautiful than you.”

Watched, surprised as
Her face contorted,
Felt his own plans
May be thwarted.

Felt her anger,
Felt her pain,
Knew it would be long
Before he slept again.


© Copyright 2016 Robin McShane


The Prompt: “today I challenge you to write a poem in the voice of minor character from a fairy tale or myth. Instead of writing from the point of view of Cinderella, write from the point of view of the mouse who got turned into a coachman. Instead of writing from the point of view of Orpheus or Eurydice, write from the point of view of one of the shades in Hades who watched Eurydice leave and then come back. Happy writing!”

Not sure if one would class The Mirror as a ‘minor character’really…but hope you enjoy! 🙂