#TheWombwellRainbow #Poeticformschallenge last week was a #IdiomaticPoetry. Enjoy examples by Tim Fellows, Lesley Curwen and Jane Dougherty and read how they felt when writing one.

Proposal to a logical woman

Have a heart he said. She wondered whose.
Was he offering his own, bound in scarlet ribbon or demanding hers.

Take your time he said, which sounded generous
but time was never his to give, she thought
and turned him down.

How did It Go?

It was really interesting to look at a common idiom and unpick it, try to undress it with a little logic. It made me really think about the hidden meanings of idioms.
I found it quite difficult to make this sound ‘poetic’. Perhaps it would be easier to write a prose poem on the subject of relentless logicality.

Lesley Curwen

Sticky Wicket

He was on a sticky wicket
the field was closing in
he’d dug in as much as he could do
with a straight bat he might win.
He didn’t want to hole out
down a fielder’s throat
you play each delivery as it comes
if you want to be the GOAT
Make sure you cover up the gate
to keep the googly out
watch the yorker in the blockhole
deny the “Howzat” shout.

He wasn’t playing cricket
politics was his game
he’d found that cricket metaphors
helped deflect the blame…

How did It Go?

I was inspired by another poem recently that used some football cliches / idioms. This is a cricket one, which may confuse some overseas readers! Several of these are in everyday use in England with a less literal meaning. “On a sticky wicket” means to be in a difficult situation, “playing with a straight bat” means to play safe, and/or correctly. These idioms are often used by posh politicians as a way of indicating their good breeding in playing our “summer game” at their elite school.

Tim Fellows

 A figgy pudding, pardi

They sit on the fence, mi-figue mi-raisin,
while the world goes west,

à l’ouest, where we send the mad ones,
away with the fairies and the illuminés,

because they see light at the end of the tunnel,
la sortie de l’auberge, where pigs fly,

and hens have teeth. There will be happiness
at the end of the day, that time entre chien et loup,

that place over the moon, where everything
is half-fig, half-grape, and all circles are squared.

Questions and nonsense

When the answer is,
how long is a piece of string,
what was the question?

And if ce n’est pas le Pérou,
nor la mer à boire,
what is it?

I would like to get out of this wood,
where all I can see are trees,
but the blind are leading the blind,

and though there might be short cuts
along the way, it will always be
a long long way to Tipperary.

How did it go?

Language and linguistics are endless subjects of fascination, taking us back to the origins of humanity. Every word has a history that has roots in different parts of the globe, the different elements are the pigments of any piece of writing. Idiom is a huge subset of language and much of it is national, regional or dialectic and unfamiliar to speakers of the same language in a different part of the world, unintelligible to non-native speakers. I had fun writing these poems (if they are poems). The vernacular is personal, often drawn from different sources. Mine is as mixed up as anyone’s.

Jane Dougherty

Bios and Links

Lesley Curwen

is a broadcaster, poet and sailor living within sight of Plymouth Sound. Her poems have been published by Nine Pens, Arachne Press, Broken Sleep and GreenInk, and later this yea

Jane Dougherty

lives and works in southwest France. A Pushcart Prize nominee, her poems and stories have been published in magazines and journals including Ogham Stone, the Ekphrastic Review, Black Bough Poetry, ink sweat and tears, Gleam, Nightingale & Sparrow, Green Ink and Brilliant Flash Fiction. She blogs at https://janedougherty.wordpress.com/ Her poetry chapbooks, thicker than water and birds and other feathers were published in October and November 2020.

Tm Fellows

is a writer from Chesterfield in Derbyshire whose ideas are heavily influenced by his background in the local coalfields, where industry and nature lived side by side. His first pamphlet “Heritage” was published in 2019. His poetic influences range from Blake to Owen, Causley to Cooper-Clarke and more recently the idea of imagistic poetry and the work of Spanish poet Miguel Hernandez.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.